The Desert

I mentioned before that I am in what was once known as the the Great American Desert to the early explorers, the Sandhills of Nebraska.  This is where I grew up.  This is where I learned to ride a horse, shoot clay pigeons, drive a tractor, and back up a trailer.  In the middle of the sandhills, miles and miles from the nearest town is where I also learned the value of "quiet times" with God.  If there is anywhere on God's green earth that could supply peace and quiet in abundance it would be here. 

I've always been an avid reader, so I guess it's no surprise that I loved to read the Bible.  I loved the stories, the excitement, the truth, the relevance, but most of all I loved hearing God speak to my heart through its pages.  When you're in the middle of nowhere, in a "desert", if you will, it almost seems as if the quiet leads you to God, and if you're listening you almost always hear Him.

I didn't always appreciate my "desert", though.  I felt isolated from the rest of the world, in a way.  Living on the ranch, miles and miles from friends, made it difficult sometimes to hang out with them as often as I wanted to.  There were times the silence bored me to tears and loneliness ate at me. There were times I wondered what I was doing in this "desert" and when my real life was going to start.

Looking back, though, I wouldn't have traded my "desert" for anywhere else in the world.  It was exactly where God wanted me.  It was where I developed a relationship with Him that has anchored me through every storm.  He became my closest friend, my strongest ally, my dearest Savior.  I remember dancing in the meadow behind our house, singing to Him at the top of my lungs, nothing but blue sky and green grass for as far as I could see, but closer to Heaven than I've ever been.  He was my only audience, but He let me know He was enthralled.

A couple weeks before I left to visit Nebraska  (and at the time I didn't even know I would be making the trip), God reminded me of those moments in the meadow.  I was at my church's women's retreat and the speaker there shared a verse that spoke straight to my heart.  In it, God is speaking to the Children of Israel:
 "Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her.

There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor [Valley of Trouble] a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt."  -Hosea 2: 14-15
He has led me back to the desert.  And why?  To speak tenderly to me.  To remind me of the journey that I am on with Him.  There always will be "deserts" in our lives, dry places that we see no end to and no way out of.  There may be times when loneliness is our closest neighbor.  But in those times, He offers us hope.  We are only passing through.  He will give us back our vineyards.  I hear that tender voice of His telling me that although I may be in a desert, that I must sing my way through.

Whether in the desert or in the valley, I want to my life to sing for Him, my one and only enraptured audience.


Miranda said...

Thanks for sharing this. I am in my own desert of sorts. God has cleared out my house of my three children during the days because I have Mono. I'm unable to take care of them and the silence is very real. It's amazing how much I hear His voice now.
This time is difficult, but also very sweet to me. God is teaching me and growing me in ways that could only be done by going through this time. I am thankful for His plan.
That scripture is awesome, thanks for sharing!

~*Michelle*~ said...

Oh wow....God surely knows how to lead me where I need to be today.

I am amidst my own desert...and I cannot tell you how much these words offer hope and comfort this morning to me

"He will give us back our vineyards."

Ah, what a breath of fresh air.

thank you so much!

Darcie said...

How beautifully written that was! I too have been reminded lately that it is in the lonely experiences that we can draw even closer to our Father...we are never really alone...something I think I take for granted.

Thanks for sharing.

Jen said...

wonderful thoughts. We are currently doing a bible study on Wednesday Nights at our church and the theme is letting Him fill you up. Your post reminded me of this book.
Is says when we feel alone, isolated, separated, or emptiness, to use this time, more than ever, and allow God to fill you back up.
I love it.
GREAT post.

Kate said...

Awesome post! Thanks for the reminder of God's faithfulness.

September said...

A perfect place for me to stop and visit tonight. Thank you for posting this.
Your family pics are beautiful. Your devotion to your family is so evident.
I love this.. "Loneliness is our closest neighbor."

He & Me + 3 said...

That is a perfect post about the times that we feel so alone...when really He is there with us & wants us to give Him the attention He deserves. Thank you for sharing this. It really touched my heart. I need to slow down & hear His sweet voice.

christy rose said...

What a sweet and awesome post!! Thanks for reminding us all that it is not about where we are at physically that makes us able to sing with our lives, it is about where we are at spiritually. I want my life to sing for Him too!
Thanks for sharing your heart here,

Holly said...

I hope you are enjoying your trip and it sounds like you are getting some good one-on-one time with God.

Carol said...

"my one and only enraptured audience". I love that. We are only passing through". I have been struggling with my teaching, to students who do not want to learn, who do not want to be told what to do. Who can not be bothered to listen. Thanks for the reminder, that "I must sing my way through". I need to listen for the song!

Lisa Grace (ServinGsus) said...

Joye, once again you have spoken to my heart. Those verses from Hosea have been my focus for about a year ... and I have to say that I've bloomed more in the desert season of my life than I ever did in the fertile fields of blessing.

Priscila said...

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Joyful said...

This is such a timely post. Where in today's world can a person go to get alone with God!? To the desert, of course. As I read your post, I could just imagine the vast land spread out before me as I worship my risen Savior.


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