“When the poor and needy search for water and there is none, and their tongues are parched from thirst, then I, the Lord, will answer them. I will open up rivers for them on the high plateaus. I will give them fountains of water in the valleys. I will fill the deserts with pools of water. Rivers fed by springs will flow across the parched ground. I will plant trees in the barren desert – cedar, acacia, myrtle, olive, cypress, fir and pine. I am doing this so all who see this miracle will understand what it means – that it is the Lord who has done this, the Holy One of Israel who created it.” – Isaiah 41:17-20
The desert isn’t a place we like to find ourselves, but we’ve all been there. The seasons of our lives that feel dry and confusing and aimless. Maybe we’re waiting for healing, or we’re in the wake of a death, or everything we’ve built our life around is falling apart. Where is the Lord in all of that?
I would be lying if I said that I never question His goodness in the wilderness. Is He really doing something here? Will this season ever end? I grasp for control because all I want is to be far away from this desolate, bare season of life. But this passage from Isaiah gives me hope.
Maybe the Lord knows exactly what He’s doing in your desert. Maybe He’s asking you to stand firm in the questions. To trust that someday soon He is going to make you strong, firm, and steadfast again. Wait on the Lord.
Wait on Him to open up rivers in the parched desert. Wait on Him to plant trees in the wasteland. And when the deliverance comes, when the heavens open and the rain comes, we will know that only He could do it. Only He could bring us out of our mourning and into a miracle.
“For the Lord comforts Zion; He comforts all her waste places and makes her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness will be found in her, Thanksgiving and the voice of song.” – Isaiah 51:3
Anxiety. A word that’s come up a lot in my years. A word that I know I’m not defined by, but would be lying if I said it hasn’t affected my life.
When I was in the third grade, my teacher told me very gently that I was a worry wart. I laugh writing this now, but she was right. Little things became big things in my mind. Little concerns that most people could brush off consumed my thoughts and sent me into a bit of a tailspin.
Biblically, ‘anxiety’ literally means to be drawn in different directions, or dividing or fracturing a person’s being into parts. If you ask me, that’s a lot like how anxiety feels. Continue reading “Notes From An Anxious Heart”
I have a bad case of nostalgia. Please tell me I’m not the only one. It doesn’t take much more than a song on the radio or a specific smell to take me back to another time and place. I find it slightly strange that the smell of potpourri and pita bread can transport me right back to my grandmother’s kitchen.
Nostalgia: something that haunts all of us from time to time in the best possible way.
Continue reading “A Bad Case of Nostalgia”
Some of the most impactful words ever spoken to me came from a friend a few summers ago. She wrote me a letter and in it she said, “There’s a difference between niceness and kindness. Niceness flows out of fear but kindness flows from the heart.”
Continue reading “Let’s Be Kind”
I remember the exact moment. I remember what I was wearing and what the air smelled like. I normally have a pretty crummy memory but this day has buried itself in my head. It was seven years ago, and it was the day of my regional track meet. I had been training for six months to run the 1600 meter race. I was nervous out of my mind and got about twelve minutes of sleep the night before. Instead of pumping myself up to run the race, fear began to infiltrate every thought I had. I was scared of losing. I was scared of not being able to finish the race. I was scared of not making my parents proud. I was scared. Now this isn’t something I’m proud of, but I decided that it would be best if I told my coach I was sick and couldn’t run the race. As much as she tried to talk me out of that decision, I insisted that there was no possible way I could run even after all the countless hours I had put in to train.
I let fear get a foothold on my life that day.
Stories like that weren’t uncommon in my growing up years. Unfortunately, fear was something that I let make decisions for me. I’m not surprised that the Lord has used the last two or so years to weed a lot of deep-rooted fear out of my life.
Continue reading “Get Your Feet Wet”
There’s a lot of reasons why we build physical walls:
• They’re built for protection, as a way of keeping outsiders out of the things we value.
• They’re built for separation, distinguishing one area from another.
• They’re built as a means of retaining, as a way to hold something back.
When I was younger, we had this massive retaining wall in our backyard that probably seemed a lot bigger to me at the time than it actually was. My siblings and I would spend our summer afternoons digging our fingers into the cobblestone bricks, hoping that maybe our muscles could pull us to the top. Ultimately, my dad would have to come outside and lift us up to the summit of the wall. I remember that life always looked a lot different from the top of the wall. I could see every nook and cranny of my house and could catch a glimpse into my neighbor’s yard through the gaps in the fence.
I think I’ve been building walls in my life for quite some time. They don’t look like physical brick-and-mortar walls, but they’re walls that put a little distance between me and the people I care about. Maybe they served a good purpose at one point, but somewhere along the way I think I started building them out of fear.
Continue reading “When Vulnerability is Scary”
I’ve never considered myself a control freak. I’d like to think that I fall more under the category of go-with-the-flow. I thrive in organized chaos (my desk cluttered with paintbrushes and about 6 half-read books can attest to that). I love spontaneity and adventures with no determined schedule. Sometimes I eat ice cream for breakfast. I mean, that’s really letting the reigns loose on control if you ask me.
So it’s funny that the Lord is teaching me just how much I try to control my circumstances in my broken, often newborn-Bambi-like (wobbly legs and all) attempt to follow Him.
Continue reading “Confessions of a Control Freak”
I’ve had Psalm 23 memorized for as long as I can remember. It’s one of those Sunday school staples that just seems to nestle itself in your long-term memory.
You know it:
The Lord is my Shepherd
I shall not be in want
He makes me lie down in green pastures…
Even though I walk through the darkest valley
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me
I have a vivid memory of a family trip to Durango, Colorado when I was in the fourth or fifth grade. We had been hiking all day long in search of a lake at which we would finally bust out our brand new fishing rods. The day ended up being a real bummer because the lake was nowhere to be found and exactly zero fish were caught. On the final stretch when just about all hope was lost, we peaked over a cliff edge to find not the elusive lake but a huge field in the valley of two mountains. It was one of those Sound of Music scenes where the wind is whistling through the grass and if you closed your eyes just right, the sun glares would peak through your eyelashes. Bliss. The feeling of laying down in that field after a day of disappointment is up there on my list of favorite things.
When I think of a green pasture, this is what I think of. However, I’m learning that in our walk with the Lord, laying down in a green pasture doesn’t mean that everything in our life makes sense, and it doesn’t mean that everything is easy. Continue reading “The Pursuit of Green Pastures”