Wednesday, August 3

Growing In the Dessert

Borrowed from (in)

Mile by mile we pass fewer trees and more tumbleweeds as our trusty Dodge truck treks further and further west. Finally we reach our town and turn left on Wyoming, the last street before our new home on an old military base. I look wide-eyed at the barren landscape, this street absent of green altogether.

I cry down that whole street right up ’til the base entrance check point. Then I cry again when I see our house with cinderblock walls and a front yard of dirt.

“Don’t worry,” my husband reassures. “This is only our temporary home ’til one opens up in base housing.”

“Will our real house have dirt for a front yard?” I squeak.

“I don’t know,” he replies with a sigh. “We’ll have to wait and see.”

I was a newish military wife who still didn’t know how to start over every three years. I wanted to bloom where planted, but how does one bloom in the desert? In a dirt yard?

My heart heard His message, “Take it one day at a time. Wait and see.”

So I brushed away discontent like dust in my face and looked to making new friends even though I missed the familiar. And on an unsuspecting cool spring morning, I met a fellow military wife, Rebecca, who invited our family over for dinner. Her family served burgers and potato salad and soul-feeding friendship that tasted best of all.

Four months later we moved into our base house complete with dirt-yard. {But at least the walls weren’t cinderblock!} Rebecca lived across the street, and before long I met neighbor after neighbor who filled our desert neighborhood with exploding color that leaked into my hungry heart. I witnessed healthy marriages. I observed good parenting habits. Families discussed their imperfections, and I rested knowing my own imperfections weren’t condemned. It wasn’t a perfect community, but it was perfectly real. They encouraged my family as we encouraged them.

It was what I craved but didn’t know I craved and it took my breath away. I didn’t think it possible to bloom in the desert, but God specializes in unearthing breathtaking blessings in the bleakest of environments.

Sweet Sister, if you find yourself in the desert with discontent hanging around like kicked-up dust, may I encourage you to wait and see? To remember these words from Isaiah?

“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 desert and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19

While deserts are drenched in sunshine, they hold little water. Growth happens slowly and in that the waiting is hard. But when we choose to see during the wait –  to hold on to God’s promise for a new thing – we find ourselves staring at something we didn’t know we needed. And before long, we are blooming in unexpected but longed for ways.

The old thing may be familiar, but the new thing may be fantastic.

And then you know you wouldn’t trade the desert years for anything.

What new thing has the Lord’s grace provided from a “wait and see” time in your life? And if this season of  life finds you in a desert, how may this imperfect-but-perfectly-real community of (in)couragers pray for you?

By: Kristen Strong

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