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In God’s Hands

streams in the desert 2

Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
Isaiah 43:18-19

I felt it in the desert

I felt it near the stream

I shook at the term wasteland – it landed so deep.

My eyes have been cast downward

Although I love my God

I cherish the blessings of his lessons

as I travel on His creation, His sod.

Have I reached the Truth

That only God can give?

Did He lay it bare for me to see

Through the eyes of yet another?

In my heart I am transparent

I have no clue how else to be

Could this be the point

Where the path could turn

And allow me to be free?

Have I finally seen the light

That has escaped me so long?

Do I dare to take the steps

To step no more?

Am I ready to accept the challenge

To let go of the wheel?

To actually,

And finally,

Let God have it all?

He IS doing a new thing,

He’s laying out the wasteland.

He’s begging me to touch it

And to perceive it

And give it back to Him.

To let it go

To give it back

To the One who was meant to conquer it.

To stand

And watch

And see

And marvel

And gasp

And to be free.

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2014 in Life, in general

 

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The Hike Full of Messages

prickly pear

It was the middle of June.  It was really hot.  I was bursting with frustration.

I knew I needed to stomp out some of those frustrations on the trail, but I never knew that day how much God was going to show up.  It felt like He wanted to shout to me from the hillsides, and boy, I heard Him loud and clear.  I mean, I felt like He was yelling in both my ears…not in anger but just clearly so I would know exactly what I needed to hear.

I was starting to wonder if the rocks were going to start to “cry out” so I listened.  Carefully, intently, and I stopped to take pictures and notes of what He was showing me.  I stopped and sat down occasionally and wrote the messages out.

Truthfully, if I hadn’t feared embarrassment (or feared being mistaken for a person suffering dehydration) I would have shouted back… “Slow down God, you’re talking too fast!”  “I need for you to give me a chance to write some notes AND drink my water!”

On this particular day of hiking I was looking over at the dry creek bed in my favorite canyon in Tucson and the dusty path that leads to the water’s edge.  I realized that the dry season was almost over.  Everything in the desert was withering, dying, and disintegrating.  It was waiting for the refreshment of the monsoon weather or it would soon die of thirst.

The late afternoons would soon bring in the rush of the wind, the huge and short-lived downpours, and the sudden filling of the dry washes with unexpected torrents of water.

When these monsoons happen…everything will grab at the thirst-quenching rain in order to survive to the next rainstorm – and further on to the next – until the desert heat finally subsides, rain comes more frequently and the plants resume their healthy appearance.  From the looks of some of those cactus that day… I’m pretty sure some wouldn’t make it.

cholla

The first few monsoons are usually spaced far apart – sometimes a week or two go by with the return of the extreme heat and the cloudless skies until another abrupt storm culminates over one of Tucson’s local mountain areas and let’s out a good downpour.  Everyone pretty much agrees – those downpours lift their spirits.  The best part is that the desert begins to emit a sweet perfume like none other.

God’s point for me was this… I was dry, withering, and was close to disintegrating in my walk of faith with Him.

God was showing me this as I walked and as I carefully examined the cholla and prickly pear that appeared gaunt and hollow.  They needed a refill and so did I.

I needed a refill of the Holy Spirit.  We all need this occasionally.  Part of that is our responsibility by reading scripture, praying, and seeking His will in our life.  But, sometimes we just get discouraged, lazy, or complacent.  It’s then that we begin to wander … yes, wander right into the desert.

But who knew that wandering into the desert would result in the promise of a refilling of the Holy Spirit?

Here’s the thing…

I am clearly, and somewhat impatiently, waiting for the monsoon to blow in.

To quench my thirst,

To fill me up,

So I can thrive,

Not just exist,

but really thrive.

Then, today, a drop fell… then a few more…

Someone shared a devotion and when I heard the message I knew there was more refreshment to come.

How appropriate that the devotion came from a book titled Streams in the Desert.

How appropriate that the message was about how God uses brokenness.  There isn’t much in me right now that doesn’t feel broken.

The hope was in this:  brokenness is useful to God and I daresay it is essential to being filled by the Holy Spirit.

Part of the poem in today’s devotion says:

“Love would I offer unto Love’s great Master,

Set free the fragrance, break the alabaster”

Withering and broken people, when drenched and filled by the Holy Spirit, then have the opportunity to become a beautiful fragrance.

Tomorrow, I hear, it’s supposed to rain.  I can’t wait!

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2013 in Life, in general

 

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Five Minute Friday – Red

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God:  “Where have you been?”

Me:  “In the desert, wandering.”

God:  “How did you get there?”

Me:  “Apparently I wandered there all on my own.”

God:  “Did you learn anything while you wandered?”

Me.:  “Yes, and you know that because you never left me.”

God:  “Of course I didn’t leave you, you keep me in your heart wherever you go.”

Me:  “I learned many lessons from you while I wandered.”

God:  “Yes, I saw you scribbling and typing.”

Me:  “I understand better how thirsty and dry I was for your Spirit.”

God:  “Feel better now?”

Me:  “Yes I do, and thank you.”

God:  “You’re welcome.”

Me:  “Thank you for the protection, the lessons, the guidance, and the forgiveness.”

God:  “You are dearly loved.”

I’ve been gone a while, been home a while, and I’ve been trying to gather my, um, my thoughts and my courage to sit at the keyboard again…and I had already started typing my conversation in “RED.”  So, I’m throwing it into the Five Minute Friday pile because, well, God says “Go.”

I figured out a whole bunch of stuff while I wandered, especially on this one hike I took in June.  It had the greatest tour guide.  The Almighty himself showed up and He was sort of loud that day…

I’m going to take that day of messages and share with you what I learned and experienced.  But, I won’t be able to do it all at once.  I know you’ve got laundry to finish, or a diaper to change… or maybe you’re headed out to the bus stop to fetch your kids or run your weekend errands or… possibly you’re reading as many Five Minute Friday blogs as you can today and trying to catch up.

My desert wanderings start with this blog: https://theunfinishedchild.wordpress.com/2013/06/30/shes-gone-missing/

“The Hike Full of Messages” will soon follow and will cover my lessons that God gave me on that particular day in June.  It was awesome, and I can’t wait to share them with you.  Come thirsty… OK?

 

*Curious about Five Minute Friday?  It’s like a Flashmob for writers.*

A bunch of us, with a one-word prompt, write fearlessly for FIVE minutes and link up together. Join us!

http://lisajobaker.com

 

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“She’s Gone Missing”

tucson screen shot

During the 6 past months or so, I have experienced a feeling of being lost. And truthfully, I think many people have noticed that I have gone ‘missing.’ Some may have been aware of this while I was at home – dealing with my chronic pain and numerous ailments that were quickly becoming overwhelming. Others have actually witnessed my departure from my church, my home and my state.

I am feeling lost because right now I AM LOST.

Now, blogging about that wasn’t something I wanted to do…because I don’t want to drag anyone down by that.

But here’s the truth – some of you might be feeling lost as well…

I have a sense of this because I see who responds to what kind of dirt-digging honesty I dredge up and publish…

And I hear from those of you who understand that honesty…

Some of you are feeling lost as well.

The important thing is … I don’t think we should feel like we are lost and all alone in that – nor do I believe we should stay there.

My ‘lost’ experience is clearly rooted in my identity as a woman, a wife and a mother.

I am all those persons and more. But the core of who I am began long ago and I think I’ve misplaced who I am in the midst of life’s expectations.

I stroll through my collection of old pictures and I see myself at ages 2, 5, or 7 years and I think…

“Where is that little girl? That feisty, scrappy, tiny – but loud – little girl?”

“Where is the girl who loved playing tag, hide-n-seek, and Barbie dolls?”

“Where is the child who rode her bike all day, liked to fish, wanted to hammer nails in her Daddy’s workshop, chewed Bazooka gum, and told secrets?” (Ok, and lots of lies too – shhhhh)

workshop

long island

That’s still who I am inside – but somehow I have had those really fun-loving parts of me buried under {LIFE}.

We all experience a little loss of who we were as children under the responsibilities of adulthood and the complexities of life to some extent. But I think I fell prey to the notion that being an adult meant changing who you were into something that was expected of you and becoming defined by those around me or being defined by what was happening to me.

And the funny thing is, nobody explains that to you as you grow and mature and marry and have your children. Although, come to think of it, maybe there have been women in my life that have come alongside me and hugged me and have given me the knowing look that says – “I understand what you’re dealing with.”

This explanation of how your life will change – it might not always come from your Mom, but I’ve met a few of women through the years that I believe they were trying to communicate this to me in their own way.

So, here I am, on a respite from my life. How often does THAT come along? Can I say, I give a HUGE amount of credit to my husband for allowing this? I have had an epiphany of sorts and that is … that I’ve been given permission to wander in the desert.

And yes, I am literally IN the desert.

I’m getting a huge break from my chronic neck pain, my asthma and from the stressors of my everyday life. I don’t feel as rushed, as worried, or as angry, but I also don’t hear the laughter or happiness that comes in small snippets throughout the day from the crazy antics of my family members or pets. That makes things difficult at times.

But during this respite, my focus is sharper.

My confusion is deeper.

My indecisiveness is at an all-time high.

And God is speaking –

Louder & Clearer

Make no mistake here…a desert experience isn’t a picnic. (It’s more like a lot of bottled water and healthy snacks.) But confusion and indecisiveness have never been a normal thing for me so I feel like this time in my life has helped me see the bigger picture.

Actually, the picture is enormous.

It all begins with a God who is Infinite.

A God who is abundant in Grace.

A God who is fathomless in His Forgiveness.

A God who is big enough to bring us through the Desert – under His Almighty protection.

A God who promises never to leave us or forsake us – Regardless of our fleeing into the desert.

Because THAT is how BIG my God is…

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2013 in Life, in general, Writing

 

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Five Minute Friday – Rhythm

sabino roadcropped

My pace is even and the road is flat but steadily climbs uphill.  I trod along to the rhythm of my music.  My playlist contains upbeat songs that I use for cleaning, but also for hiking.

The sun is strong here in the beginning, but soon the high canyon walls will provide the shade I need to make it at least 6 miles.

I’m clearing the cobwebs from my brain by using the rhythm of something natural – my walk through the canyon.

My head feels clear and before I know it, God is speaking loudly through my surroundings.  I’m not sure why He chose to kick up the volume on this particular day, but I am hearing Him loud and clear.

I pause to guzzle my water, I type notes in my iPod, I walk on, then God speaks again and again.  Through the steady rhythm of my activity He accompanies me with His very own rhythm and His presence – pointing out more analogies than I can fathom or type out.

I use my camera to capture what seems to be the silliest things in my view finder.

I want to absorb each lesson He shows me here in the desert today.  He always knows where I am, but today He chose to match me step for step as I walked.  He knew I was ready for the big download of info He had for me.  

Be strong and courageous.

Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged,

for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.

Joshua 1:9 NIV

*Curious about Five Minute Friday?  It’s like a Flashmob for writers.*

A bunch of us, with a one-word prompt, write fearlessly for FIVE minutes and link up together. Join us!

http://lisajobaker.com/

 

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Five Minute Friday – View

desert highway

The view from here…

I’m on a faded asphalt highway in the middle of the desert – straddling a line.  It used to be the division between the left and the right of the highway.  Now it seems so faded that it’s up to the individual driver to determine whether to hug the right or wander wherever.

This piece of yellow paint I see between my feet is pretty colorful compared to the rest.  As I look up and around, I have to shield my eyes from the sun because it is so intense.

On my left I see the clear and vivid images of my past.  On my right I see vague and almost formless visions of my possible future.

These conceivable events and people in my future are not clear by any means – and for once in my life – that doesn’t fill me with fear.

No, actually, from this place I stand, the view all around me brings me peace.  Calm has washed over me like I’ve never experienced it before.

My past, my present, and my future all seem to engulf me and leave me a bit confused as to where I go from here –

But my palms don’t have a bead of sweat on them…

My heart doesn’t race or skip a beat…

And it’s quiet inside my head and my soul…

It’s a beautiful view, and I long to understand it more fully.  It feels like a gift.

*Curious about Five Minute Friday?  It’s like a Flashmob for writers.*

A bunch of us, with a one-word prompt, write fearlessly for FIVE minutes and link up together. Join us!

http://lisajobaker.com/

 

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Five Minute Friday – Jump

sunset

Going…

sunset3

Going…

sunset4

Gone

*sigh*

Well, let’s just jump right into this week’s Five Minute Friday by saying… I’m at my desk writing already this morning and my fingers can’t keep up with my thoughts.

I was just visiting Arizona and came home and had to jump back in where life left off.  Laundry hampers full, fridge sort of half full, pantry in decent shape, and WHEW, am I tired!

Plugging along at the everyday work here at the house kept me from taking a 3 day nap – because I was exhausted from travel and hiking and talking and watching sunsets and walking at high altitude on Mt. Lemmon and eating.  {Boy, I had the best piece of pie at a restaurant up there}

But I’m done jumping around here trying to catch up, and it’s time to download all that has happened in that 5 day trip.  I finally have a clear schedule, and maybe a clear mind to type and reflect.  And I’m excited.

 Although… I’m wanting one more day … to bask in the sun, amongst the blooming desert, hiking Sabino Canyon, and laughing with old friends …

And another day living without the laundry, the threat of severe weather, or those pesky allergies …

Reality, then vacation, then reality …

Memories…into words…words on to paper…etched forever…

Jump up for more coffee and a shower and some food and more writing that needs to be done today!

Have an excellent Friday everyone!

*******

Curious about Five Minute Friday?  It’s like a Flashmob for writers.

A bunch of us, with a one-word prompt, write fearlessly for FIVE minutes and link up together. Join us!

http://lisajobaker.com/

 

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