A year ago, I was unaware of what was going on behind the scenes. All I was certain of was that I encountered one trial after another. A dry season. Everything became an uphill battle. It required much time, endurance, and patience. Let's not forget the fervent prayers crying out for provision, favor, and strength.
There are pros and cons to being oblivious to the spiritual realm. To not being able to connect the dots. When you think that everything bad happening to you or your family is simply coincidental. That bad things do happen to good people so you brush it off as accidental or a temporary setback.
But the truth is that nothing happens by mere accident. I don't believe in coincidences. What I have come to learn this year is that God does permit His children to experience seasons in the wilderness. It's a dry place where no matter how diligent you are to accomplish something, no matter how big your dreams are, and no matter how talented you may be, the end result is that your efforts become unproductive.
You hit one road block after another. It's like walking through a maze. You find yourself in this vicious cycle spinning your wheels, but going nowhere. Welcome to the wilderness!
The wilderness journey of faith is when you will wander the farthest, reach rock bottom, and continue a downhill slide where everything near and dear to you is stripped away. This parched season will most definitely pull you so far outside your comfort zone that you start questioning your own faith.
Can you withstand the fiery furnace of affliction? When your normal cozy life evaporates before your eyes, will you trust God in the dark?
As for myself, I desperately want to have unwavering faith. To be unshakable. That no matter what unfathomable opposition comes my way, I'm steadfast with a heart after God. Yet the truth is that I'm growing weary in the wilderness.
It's one thing to have faith when life is running smoothly. It's another thing when the enemy's arrows are flying every which way. When you get knocked off your feet, but you can't get back up. When a sense of oppression has a strong hold on you.
This wandering, waiting, and wilderness season have broken me to the very core...
If you're curious what's taken place in this dark phase of my life, here's a snapshot to give you a better understanding:
- Unrelenting technical difficulties in which I not only lost a friend over it, but my book was delayed by three months. (One of these days, I may write a nonfiction about what truly happens behind the scenes of birthing a book.)
- My beloved yellow lab, Samson, became very ill and I had to watch him slowly fade away. On my husband and my 27th wedding anniversary, instead of celebrating over a candlelight dinner, we both cried together as Samson took his last breath. (If you are a dog lover, you know how painful this is to say goodbye to your furry friends. This pain and grief was the worst that I ever experienced in my adult life.)
- The book that I envisioned to be my best one, floundered after it was launched. After blood, sweat, and tears, it did not produce what I had hoped for and still has me questioning what went wrong. (Most authors will experience these highs and lows so I do understand that not every book is a bestseller.)
- On March 8, 2016, I received the bad news that my mom was diagnosed with stage 3 brain cancer. How does anyone prepare for this? How do you remain strong when your heart is shattered into a million pieces? How do you hold it altogether when you've come undone? As the weeks have turned into months, it's been beyond scary watching the cancer take my mom's brain hostage. Her memory, moods, cognitive function, and ability to process information is greatly challenged. She feels as if she's losing her mind. She used to be so feisty, strong, and independent, but suddenly our roles as parent and child are reversing. It breaks my heart to watch my precious mom who is my best friend suffer like this. There are moments when I am strong, but today doesn't happen to be one of them. So the tears stream down my face and all I can do is beg God for mercy.
- All of my dreams and aspirations are coming up empty. Unrelenting adversity. Closed doors. Continued dead ends. (((Sigh)))
- Major financial setbacks. Need I say more?
- In June, 2016, I sincerely believed God was opening new doors of opportunity for me to use my gifts, strengths, and talent. Following three months of a lengthy interviewing process, it appears that the opened doors have once again been closed. Extremely disappointing!
- Losses. Grief. Despair. Loneliness. Obstacles. Hard lessons. Releasing control. Surrendering your will. This all sums up the wilderness journey.
While I may not fully understand why I'm experiencing this wilderness faith, I do know from the Bible that it's a time when the Lord will produce fresh fruit. Despite all of the weariness, loneliness, and battles, God will use this parched season for something good. He has me diving in deeper to thirst for Him. I want to know Him more. I want to see His face. Spiritually, He is growing me and changing me like never before.
In the midst of wandering, waiting, and growing weary in the wilderness, God meets me smack center where He shows me His glory. As I soak into His goodness, I anticipate that He will complete what He began in me. There will be victory and rejoicing! God will make a way to remove each obstacle in His perfect time and for His divine purpose. Lastly, my wilderness experience is not in vain. It will be used to encourage others, give them hope, and help them persevere during their own wilderness journey.
"Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. "Let every valley be lifted up, And every mountain and hill be made low; And let the rough ground become a plain, And the rugged terrain a broad valley; Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, And all flesh will see it together; For the mouth of the LORD has spoken." Isaiah 40:3-5