It’s different here. Far different than any other place I’ve ever been before.

It’s rocky, bumpy, and full of both steep climbs and long plateaus. It’s hot and dry, dusty and dirty, but oh, so breathtaking.

At first glance, I appear to be by myself, uncomfortable, confused, and unsure of where to go. But looking further, deeper, past the dryness that tries to soak up the life within me and around me, you’d see I am in good company. Surrounded by God’s beautiful creatures and physical creation, basking in His goodness. Still, quiet, trusting, alert. I don’t want to miss out on any signs that may tell me why I am here in this different place.

I did not wander here, but rather was led here. In this unknown territory that looks both familiar, yet strange, I’m uncertain what to think (or if I should think anything at all). Everything is blurry and not fully visible. Like a mirage, I can see what’s directly in front of me but not ahead of me. The funny thing is, I don’t mind. This different place makes me different. I am at peace and at rest, even though nothing makes sense. My faith is unwavering and my ground not shaken. Even with rocks and climbs and plateaus I have total confidence I can handle whatever lies ahead, regardless if I can see it or am prepared for it.

It’s as if everything I went through in my life has brought me to this place. I suppose that’s why I wonder, not wander. Ponder, but not question. I know I am here for a reason, for a greater purpose. Whatever it is, I trust it will be superior than the biggest mountains that surround my new desert life.

Friends, have you been there before? Walking through the unknown, perhaps in uncharted waters, up rocky mountains, or through a dark cave? You feel alone at first, but once your heart is quiet and your soul is still you can feel God’s presence and experience His work being written in your life.

I spent the years of 2016-2018 traveling through the desert – literally (I lived in Scottsdale, AZ during that time) as well as spiritually. After relocating across the country to the desert, quickly and unexpectedly after my third child was born, you can imagine the uneasiness and instability I felt. Despite the chaos, every situation we faced during the 29 days we had to pack up life in Michigan and move to Arizona couldn’t have been possible without God. From selling the house to selling our stuff, and everything in the month that followed, we fully trusted in the Lord’s plan for our life. 

Unknown? Yes. Unfamiliar? Sure. Uncomfortable having to start a new life across the country with a kindergartener, toddler and 3-month-old? You bet! But we were faithful and everything seemed to fall into place. That is, until things felt like they were scattered, shuffled, and flung around in more disorder than all of the legos that cover my floor!

When the days went by and the answers didn’t come and things continued to not make sense, I relentlessly would cry – 

Why, why, WHY, LORD?! Why are we here??? Why would you bring us to Arizona and not to Texas? On paper, Texas makes sense. We love Texas. We love our Texas friends and we especially love our church there. We should be in Texas. Lord, wouldn’t it be easier if we were living in Texas? 

Yes, sweet child. Yes, it would be much easier for you to be in Texas. This is precisely why you are not there. I have brought you to the desert for a reason, My reason. Trust Me, dear child. 

Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely loved Arizona and the life God made for us, but Texas felt right. Comfortable. Familiar. Stable. Easy.

It took 18 months of staring into the desert’s “unknown” until I was finally able to see tiny glimpses of what was ahead. Very much like squinting to focus on something in the distance and then relaxing your eyes back to the unclear norm of what’s in front of you, I could catch sight of God’s plan for a brief moment before returning back to the hazy blur.

God can move mountains. He will hold our hands while we’re standing on rocky ground or traveling on steep or winding paths. He is there in the dust storm, in the hot heat of the moment and in the dry calm of quiet and stillness. He is there and will never leave your side. Even if you feel like He brought you to a place you don’t want to be, trust that He will reveal His perfect plan to you in His perfect timing. 

He did for me and He’ll do the same for it. Though, it may not look or be what you expected or even wanted, you’ll come to see the worth of the wait in that desert place. 

“You said to me, ‘I will point out the road that you should follow. I will be your teacher and watch over you.”

Psalm 32:8 (CEV)

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