I find myself wandering, seemingly aimlessly, through a wilderness. What is this place of waiting? Where does this path of wandering lead? I have slowly been realizing that this pit in my stomach is a sense of unrest, a sense of anticipation and longing.
For two years my every move and action was out of sense of urgency, keeping my boys and myself safe! I was constantly preparing for battle and standing guard. My life was in survival mode and everything I did had substantial purpose. Find a way to provide, find a place to live, find a lawyer, go to court, prepare my sons for hardship, fight for their sense of peace and belonging, rebuild family relationships, seek out a new way of living, restore who I am. All good and necessary things. All part of healing and moving forward into a completely new life. But now that I am finally safe, now that the urgency is over and the healing is well under way, I find myself….restless.
I feel as if I can relate a little to the Israelites, God rescued them from their oppressor, they were set free. They watched God perform miracles and brought them out of certain death and despair. So God has done for me. There is a promise of a land of peace, of belonging, a land of plenty. But first there is the wilderness. Granted the Israelites grumbling, discontentedness and then betrayal of the Lord, extended their time in the wilderness, so much so that a whole generation was never granted access to the promised land, but either way, one had to walk through the wilderness to get to the promised land.
I can imagine that after the adrenaline rush of their grand escape, they felt a sense of urgency, purpose and courage. A new sense of hope and anticipation. But after months of wandering, never knowing how far they would walk, or how long they would stay at the next place, their hearts grew weary and restless. It is easy to judge them as weak, ungrateful, disobedient, entitled even, so quickly forgetting all God had done for them. But aren’t we the same? I know I am. My wilderness journey has just been over 6 months and already I find myself grumbling, upset that things aren’t moving along as fast as I think they should be.
God has brought me out of the fire, he rescued me, performed miracles, gave me courage I didn’t recognize and gave me a promise. Yet here I am, wandering in the wilderness, wondering where I am going. My heart is striving to find fulfillment in the now. I used to think that “time in the wilderness” meant a time of pain, sorrow, unrelenting hardships thrust upon you. Now I think it is a time of waiting, boredom, missing a sense of purpose and endless seeking.
I am seeking the Lord with all my heart, soul and mind. But he is not sharing what his plans are for me. As someone who likes to know what is coming, so I can prepare, this time of waiting and not knowing is hard. Really hard. I don’t know when, how or if my kids and I will be able to have our own home. I don’t know if when, how or if I will be able to provide for them enough financially with just my income. I don’t know when, how or if I will ever be ready to step into a new relationship, and if I do get ready, how to even find one? I don’t know what or how I will do to serve the Lord, how will I give back to him in such a way that encourages others and brings glory to him? I have so so many unanswered questions and so many desires that I am wrestling with.
And yet God is at work.
He has had a continual thread of hope woven through my story. I will borrow the words of Lysa Terkeurst here for minute. In all things I need to come back to these truths.
God is good. God is good to me. God’s plans for me are good.
He has been trying to show me these truths over and over again, yet I question it. There is nothing in me that is deserving of his goodness, which makes accepting it so hard. Sorrow, on the other hand, I am well versed in. I understand how to have joy in the midst of sorrow, I understand that sorrow bring an unparalleled opportunity to show devotion to the Lord and brings a closeness otherwise unattainable. Yes I “get” the times of sorrow. Which is maybe why I am almost hesitant with the idea of times of goodness. What will that look like?
All I know right now is that God is not done with my story. He is trying to show me beauty. Revealing truths to me about who I am, how he sees me, his goodness and his faithfulness. I have no idea where my life will take me, I can’t even see past the next bend, but do I trust him to lead the way? Do I trust him to sustain me in the wilderness, to provide what I need for each day?
Take courage my heart, trust that even in the waiting he is at work. One foot in front of the other. When times of doubt or fear try to take hold, remember
God is good, God is good to me, God’s plans for me are good.