don’t waste the wilderness

This season of life is a gift.

I don’t mean that in an “it sucks but I’m looking for the good in it” kinda way. I mean that Jesus has been very, very kind to me. Every single area of my life is smothered in fingerprints of God’s faithfulness to me… from the car I drive, to my job(s) and the place I get to live (and the lil creatures that get to live there with me). This life I live is an actual dream, one filled with writing and creating and singing and snuggling babes and making tons of lattes. Seriously, I’m thriving.

But in order to truly appreciate what I have right now, in this moment, I had to come to a point where I let go of where I thought I’d be by now. Because this life is a dream and yet, with the same breath, is not one that I ever imagined for myself. If I were to view my life the way I used to, I would see this phase of life as a wilderness, a place where I wait for the life that I truly want… one probably filled with babes of my own and traveling the world and making music and devotionals and who-knows-what-else. I would resent this life that I do have as I wait for it to become the life that I’ve always wanted.

I know that for a fact because that’s how I felt until a couple months ago when my best friend prayed for me over the phone and the burden of bitterness and anxiety lifted like a cloud. It was like the eyes of my heart were finally opened to see all of the beauty that I was overlooking… and I was jolted into a season of immense contentment and gratitude for all of the streams of water flowing in the wasteland (and all the cutie cacti too).

And in my quiet times I’m currently reading Deuteronomy (no, I haven’t given up on my going-through-the-Bible-in-a-year thing… I just may need a little longer than a year, okie?😉) and this afternoon I was swept away when I read the most incredible verse.

“The Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything.” -Deuteronomy 2:7

This is so beautiful to me because it says so many things about these seasons in different wildernesses… it says that we can be blessed, though we’re passing through a wasteland. It says that going through hard seasons doesn’t mean that God’s forgotten us… no! He’s watched over us, protected us, and He has been with us. And this verse also tells that we can live in the wilderness not lacking anything. That’s huge.

It’s huge because I feel like, by definition, being in a wilderness time means that you actually lack a whole lot. The word “wilderness” literally means “a neglected or abandoned area of town.” And, going back to the verse, Moses (the writer of this book) knows more about the wilderness more than almost anyone. The Israelites were well acquainted with wondering where food would come from and going through places that had no water. Yet, in this recounting of their years in the desert, it says that they didn’t lack anything… and the reason is because God Himself was with them the entire time. He was there guiding them by fire and protecting them with a cloud. He went ahead of them, fought for them, and daily provided food that rained from heaven and water that flowed from rocks in the desert. They lacked nothing because they had everything in our God, the same God that is alive today… providing, protecting, and guiding His children across wildernesses of all kinds.

Because the Lord didn’t lead the Israelites into the wilderness because He hated them! He led them there because He loved them too much to give them the giant blessing of a Promised Land without first teaching them how to live in a habitual, daily reliance on Him alone. The wilderness is what Jesus uses to instill patience in us. It’s where we learn the art of true contentment and reliance on Jesus. It’s where our roots dig down deep in our Lord and our hearts learn to run to the comfort that can only come from Him. It’s where God provides miracles that become ebenezers, or reminders of His faithfulness, that we can recall on the days to come when our hearts waver in doubt, sadness, and anxiety. It’s where we learn that we can live in a wasteland and still lack no good thing because our God is with us and delights to give us His joy, peace, and presence.

Friends, the reason why my life is so wonderful these days has actually nothing to do with anything that I’m doing or anything that I own. These days are incredible because Jesus has made it so obvious to me that He’s with me, going before me, staying beside me, and daily enfolding me into Him. I’m living in thankfulness not because I have everything I could ever want, but because Jesus has already supplied all my needs, owes me nothing, and yet still chooses to give me good gifts that I don’t deserve, all for the purpose of pointing me back to Him and His infinite kindness.

Maybe you’re in this kind of season too… one that you didn’t expect, but that is forcing you to rely heavily on Jesus. I’m praying for our eyes to be opened to the preciousness of this time in our lives… one that may or may not last forever. Because if the day comes that He chooses to bring us into a land flowing with milk and honey, I’ll be all for it and probably throw us a party or two! But praise God it won’t be before He finishes teaching us all of the wasteland lessons, the ones that root us deeper in Him and allow for our joy to truly come from Him alone. So let’s not waste our wilderness, but walk each day knowing that God is on our side, fighting for us, providing for us, and not letting us lack anything because He will always, always be with us, ready to give us all of the joy and strength and peace that our hearts can hold.

All my love,

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