Article-21 Garden in the Desert
Thank you Wild Hearts Magazine for honoring me with the privilege to write for you again. Your words are pure sweetness, your aspirations are joyous and infectious. Always a massive fan of you, your lives, and how you change the world one day at a time. xxx
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I stuffed the last suitcase into my backseat and closed the car door. As the buckle of my seat belt sealed the departure of this journey...I took a deep breath, feeling all at once that I was about to head into my worst nightmare, and also, never being more certain of my obedience to the voice of God.
Things didn’t feel real until I saw the valley of windmills, like giants of pride and poise flashing their wings to greet you. Palm Springs; my new home. No friends, no connections, no clue what was to come out of the next moment let alone the next day... I had heard God calling my name here, and as I drove through the land adorned in palms, I knew this was it.
Moving to a new city with nothing but a yes for God was not on my agenda for this year. But He’ll take you seriously when you tell Him He can have it all. The plans I had carefully crafted and devised for my life from the safety of my expectations, were all at once ripped from beneath me, because He had something else in mind.
Now in complete surrender, I was on my way to live in a new land, with new people, in the middle of a desert...because He told me so. Lonely, unsure, afraid, doubtful, wavering...It’s these moments of deep pain that can be so beautifully levering into the arms of His presence.
Every night for weeks I cried until there were no more tears. My lack of understanding for why God would call me to such a desolate place, with no people around me, being judged from all sides, misunderstood, looking crazy for many reasons...The pain of it all brought me to my knees at the end of every day. I would call my family and friends, far away and familiar...begging them to “pray one more time” and “please hear a NO- I’m NOT supposed to be here”... even though anchored in myself there was a voice and a peace that beckoned me deeper, for this is where I was meant to be.
When you have nothing, truly, God is your everything. You hear it said, and it sounds compelling when preached from a stage in a sea of 10,000 ...but when it’s the card you are dealt, the phrase takes on a whole new meaning.
Week after week of depression and sorrow began to wear itself thin on my heart. Aching for companionship and a “better life”, I felt paralyzed. I’m so grateful for those of my relationships who were strong enough to shake me by the shoulders and tell me...the pain is alright for a little while, but it’s time to pick up your shield, and take the next step forward.
I remember the moment things shifted. On the floor (once again), with my eyes closed, this voice, as quiet as a breeze, told me to get up, and worship. I turned on my playlist, and began to take the ferocity of sadness I felt, and turn it into ferocity of praise. With everything in me I lifted up the God who gave His life, so that I could have mine. I saw myself standing before Him, in His great and Holy throne room, pouring liquid melodies onto the feet of this King.
This worship went on for hours. And the next day, everything had shifted.
The realization that I’m not on this journey for myself, but for Him, rested upon my shoulders like a perfectly tailored coat. It ensured a hope in me, and gave purpose to the pain and discomfort...for it wasn’t for me, but for His glory. Oh that He considers me worthy to face such trial (and what a minute trial it is!)...it unravels me.
I share with you this story because it was from that moment that I understood the value of seeking His face. Pressing in for just a moment longer, leaning in for just one more day...You will find Him, in the midst of the storm. And if you’re living for Him, He will sustain you.
But if you’re entering into the secret place for what you can get, or for a life that falls under the reign of your agenda...disappointment, you may have noticed, is a frequent friend.
Seeking Him is my secret weapon, and the most Holy of places. I call it the secret place, for it is a home only He and I know the address to.
The secret place is my haven that I had to find. Without it, I fear I would still be lumped on my floor in a wreckless ball of despair. It is the home that leaves its doors open, so that when I am weary, I may rest. It is the heart that spreads its arms around me when I’m tempted to listen to thoughts of hopeless or abandonment. It is the only thing that sustains me, in this life we all must live.
And I say that with the utmost confidence...for I know what it’s like to be without Him entirely.
After a long day, after a painful conversation, after a triggering thought...in a moment I can be home, and in a moment I can be held.
I encourage you...delightful reader...open up your mind, and let His love in. It takes faith to trust that a good father will meet you - but I promise you, He will. Imagine yourself as a little child, running to the arms of your father. When you say “papa”, he responds. When you ask him a question, he answers. When you tell him how you’re feeling, he listens and comforts. What kind of father would ignore you? What kind of father would tease you, and say you must “work” in order to gain his affection and attention?
Wherever you are, whatever time of life you’re in, you’re a beloved and most sought after child. I hope that as you read this, you are filled with a stirring to seek the face of the one who gave you breath. I pray that you are awakened to the reality that you are here for something far greater than yourself alone. I pray that in your secret place, in the home that you run to, you would be continually undone by the wreckless love of God.
'He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will remain secure and rest in the shadow of the Almighty [whose power no enemy can withstand]. I will say of the Lord , “He is my refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust [with great confidence, and on whom I rely]!” For He will save you from the trap of the fowler, And from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you and completely protect you with His pinions, And under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and a wall. You will not be afraid of the terror of night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day, Nor of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, Nor of the destruction (sudden death) that lays waste at noon. A thousand may fall at your side And ten thousand at your right hand, But danger will not come near you. You will only [be a spectator as you] look on with your eyes And witness the [divine] repayment of the wicked [as you watch safely from the shelter of the Most High]. Because you have made the Lord , [who is] my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place, No evil will befall you, Nor will any plague come near your tent. For He will command His angels in regard to you, To protect and defend and guard you in all your ways [of obedience and service]. They will lift you up in their hands, So that you do not [even] strike your foot against a stone. You will tread upon the lion and cobra; The young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot. “Because he set his love on Me, therefore I will save him; I will set him [securely] on high, because he knows My name [he confidently trusts and relies on Me, knowing I will never abandon him, no, never]. He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With a long life I will satisfy him And I will let him see My salvation.”'