August 26, 2008

Desert Wanderings

The recurring theme in my life the last 15 months has been the desert. It started last summer when I attended a Going Beyond conference. Priscilla Shirer's message centered around the desert. God used that weekend to open my eyes to the bondage I was in. It was time to break away and head for the Promised Land. I started cutting some things out of my life in order to make room for God. My relationship with God became more intimate as I began to trust in Him more fully.

Soon I began to see that although I'd gotten rid of some junk in my life, there was much more that needed to go. The pursuit of peace and simplicity began. I said goodbye to the comforts of slavery. Yes, there's a certain sense of security that comes from being in captivity. I was able to blame my captors rather than examine my heart. I trudged along, no expectations of me and no hopes of my own to be dashed. As God pried my hands from the things that I had been desperately clinging on to, I moved further (farther?) into the desert. Suddenly, there was nothing but me and God.

I liked it. So much, I decided to wander around a bit. I got complacent. I proclaimed that I wanted to get to my Promised Land, but I wasn't sure about giving up the familiar. Why have milk and honey, when I had manna straight from Heaven? Not to mention that the route to the Promised Land is taking me away from ministries I had hoped for and to others that were most definitely not in my plan.

This summer, I've been studying No Other Gods by Kelly Minter. The last week was tremendously powerful. I was astonished to read God's personal message to me:

...if we dwell on all we've left behind, we will be tempted to return.

...whatever God is urging you to clear away cannot begin to be compared to what He ultimately wants to bring to you.

...After forty years of desert wanderings, the Israelites were ready to go. Sometimes it takes that long to get so sick of doing life our way for us to become open for change.

40 years of desert wanderings. 40 years of me, living life like I want (I celebrated my 40th birthday earlier this year). Mistaking manna for milk and honey. Being content with the dry, dusty land, not realizing the cool, lush land waiting for me.

Not what I signed up for. Not where I planned to go. Yet somehow more than I could've ever asked for or imagined.

"Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,"
declares the LORD.
"As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
~Isaiah 55:1-2, 8-9

10 comments:

Joanne (The Simple Wife) said...

Dear Melissa,

Thanks for sharing your heart on this--I couldn't do No Other Gods this summer with everyone else, but I have the workbook! And this has made me want to dig in soon!

Joanne

Kim said...

Thanks so much for your openness, and honesty! You've truly spoken words of hope to my heart, as I'm finding myself in a few similar placed.

I'm certainly going to check out "No Other Gods".

May God continue to bless you on your journey!

Lisa writes... said...

More than you could ask or imagine--the extravagance of our God!

And thanks for your email yesterday....

Jillian, Inc. said...

What a hope-filled message. And I've been blessed to have read about some of this journey. It's been quite a year for you, dear friend.

Chris @ Come to the Table said...

Melissa,
Since I started reading your blog many months ago, I have always been encouraged by your journey, the transformation, your heart.

You always bless me.

Heather C said...

Melissa,

Thank you for being so honest and vulnerable with your postings. I learn something from you every time I visit here... and I am inspired to be more relentless in my own pursuit of becoming the woman the Lord has designed for me to be.

Heather

Amber from His Girl's blog said...

hello, sis! I can't believe I was FOURTEEN posts behind on your blog! I shouldn't ever get this far in the hole, because every time you write, I find nuggets I swear are just for me.

just want to encourage you to continue to share your journey... you have no idea the impact your transparency makes on those who struggle with the exact.same.things... and who want to glorify the exact same God.

much2ponder said...

Very good post! I love reading your words because they seem to parallel mine in many ways. Tomorrow is my 48th birthday:) but if anyone asks me today, I'm 47! ha. I am not sure where the Lord is taking me and I too have been wandering around for what seems like about 2 years. Looking for the Lord in all of it, he has been hard to find at times, but yesterday he reminded me to look for him in little pleasures. Stop by my blog if you like and take a look. He is faithful, praise the Lord!

The Small Scribbler said...

Oh Friend,

Words I needed to read tonight. I've been looking back and wanting to settle for less than what lies ahead.

Thanks for being iron that sharpens iron with these words.

Kate

Amanda said...

I've been looking for just that scripture text! And there it is.

I love hearing what He laid on your heart. Thank you for sharing it.

" Not what I signed up for. Not where I planned to go. Yet somehow more than I could've ever asked for or imagined."

Amen.

Blessings!