I can really relate with Voysey when he said, “confined to the walls of our problems. … our minds consumed with our longed-for, begged-for, not-yet-existent wish. Our world gets tiny. Our vision gets small. Everyday blessings are missed. We see the pixel and not the picture, the thorn and not the flower, the pebble and not the vista. But life is much bigger.”
I know He is doing something in me, even now. He is changing my perspective, but sometimes I feel like I’m seeing only pixels. He has been using this blog to help me process through what I’ve been feeling and what He’s been doing. And from comments and conversations, I believe He’s been whispering to some of you as well.
The last couple of years, while I was in the midst of this pain of infertility, I had stopped reading my Bible and journalling as much as I had in the past. See, it’s difficult to continue to seek after God when you feel like every time you do, you hit a brick wall. When time and time again, prayers go unanswered and He seems so distant and quiet. Getting back into the Word more, reading these two books (Resurrection Year and The Circle Maker), and beginning to write this blog have helped me take a step back to widen my vision. They have encouraged my heart, and reminded me of some important truths.
I knew the truth: that He was there with me through the pain, but that is not what I was feeling. Luckily, I was a part of a woman’s Bible Study. I knew that if I didn’t have a specific reason to be in the Word, I would start to ignore it – because I was feeling ignored. Being a part of that study was really the only thing that kept me in His Word during those really difficult times. And even though it was painful at times, I would highly encourage anyone to remain in a study group through those difficult times despite the desperate desire to disappear and stay at home.
WAIT & MOVE ON
As I look back through my journals from the last few years there is a theme emerging. In May 2013, I wrote: “there seems to be a lot of trials, afflictions, difficult circumstances now and in the past that God seems to send me through, and the most common answer I get: WAIT…keep, hope, be patient, be faithful, have peace, be still, rest in Him. WAIT for the Lord.”
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12
Trials, battles, WAITING. And now that I have recognized the theme, I have to decide what I’m going to do with it. Am I going to complain about it, or embrace it and learn from Him? I don’t understand what He’s doing, or where He’s taking me, but I’m ready to start taking my first steps towards the finish line. Some might say that it’s obvious what I need to do = wait. But to me that word doesn’t necessarily mean do nothing.
It’s often easier to stay where we are when we don’t know where to go next. We think it’s easier to wait to be rescued, but sometimes help lies just beyond the dry valley. And God is asking us to walk through it. Throughout the Bible, we see stories of God waiting for people to take that first step in faith, before He moves.
One of those stories is in Exodus 14, and I love how it plays out. Moses tells the people, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Then in the very next paragraph, the Lord says to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through on dry ground.” It’s that crazy combination of be still, stop complaining about it and move on – do something.
When God called Abraham out into the desert, he didn’t give him directions, He just asked him to trust, obey, and begin the journey. “We, like Abraham, may only discover the destination once we begin walking, and that through such adventures God changes our identities.” Voysey Waiting is not doing nothing, we need to remain walking towards Him. Waiting is more of a state of mind. Waiting is no longer striving, worrying, trying to manipulate. Waiting is finding peace, and resting in Him. Waiting is changing how we think and how we trust Him. Waiting is changing who we are.
WILDERNESS IS A PLACE OF TRANSITION
Like I wrote in my Bleeding Knuckles post, challenges change us. In verse one of Isaiah 43, Jacob’s name is changed to Israel after a challenge and battle with God/God’s angel. He went through a trial, and came out changed.
The Wilderness, according to Voysey “is a place of transition.” It’s the middle ground, the place in between where we were before the trials began and the place we long to be. “In the wilderness we become people we could never have become before moving into the next phase of our lives.”
I’d never thought of it like that before, but it’s so true. It is a place of transition, and our choices and attitudes while we’re in the wilderness affect where and how we end up once we make it to the other side.
“Praying hard is hard because you can’t just pray like it depends on God; you also have to work like it depends on you. You can’t just be willing to pray about it; you also have to be willing to do something about it.” The Circle Maker
In Genesis 12, when God sent Abraham out into the wilderness, “to the land that I will show you,” Abraham went. He did not stay home for a while and pray about it. Even though he didn’t know where The Lord was taking him, he packed up his household and set out for an adventure.
“There comes a time, after you have prayed through, when you have to start doing something about it.” The Circle Maker. Taking that step: Abraham into the wilderness, Moses into the Red Sea, Peter out of the boat, etc…you have to take that step.
“Some people spend their entire lives on the eastern shore of the Jordan waiting for God to part the river while God waits for them to get their feet wet.” The Circle Maker
OBEY THE CRAZY
We can’t always see what God has planned up ahead. But He is always there with us through the trials. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you.” (Isaiah 43:2)
Obey the Crazy promptings, He is an amazing God, with a crazy sense of humor. You never know what He’s up too. Like in Matthew 17:27 , where the tax collectors came for His taxes. He told Simon and Peter to go fishing, and that inside the first fish’s mouth that they’ll catch will be enough money to cover the taxes for the three of them. What!?! That’s the strangest way ever to pay your taxes! But He knew what He was doing then, and He knows what He’s doing now. (Fish picture from journal)
“Remember not the former things, not consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:18-19