“Then we turned and journeyed into the wilderness in the direction of the Red Sea, as the Lord told me. And for many days we traveled around Mount Seir. 2 Then the Lord said to me, 3 ‘You have been traveling around this mountain country long enough. Turn northward….The Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything… Deuteronomy 2:1-3,7
In the verse above from Deuteronomy, the Israelite’s had been circling the same area, for forty years. They had disobeyed God and an entire generation died in the wilderness because of their unbelief. Even Moses the faithful servant of God lost out on the promised land experience, because of his shortcomings with anger and pride. Most of us stop reading the story there and our take away might be,”What kind of God is this?” To me this part of the story exudes God’s rich grace for His chosen people. Here he is giving them another chance to have the promised land life. Here He is reminding them they have had everything they needed for all those years.
I have been an avid journaler for years. When I was moving I had weeded through lots of belongings and had things to pack, things to sell and things to throw away. And then I had my journals.
I had girlfriends who had “traveled” through those years with me. Years of raising kids, fighting for our marriages and struggling through our faith. Those journals carried so many intimate lamentations about whatever I had been experiencing. I was going to have a ceremonial journal burning gathering with my friends. Yet somehow it never came to pass.
So the journals came with me and I tucked them away. Truthfully I didn’t want to remember. I was under the belief that I had the opportunity to reinvent myself. I wanted to just live joyfully in this promised land opportunity.
It started slowly creeping back in. I was struggling to maintain the joy I had. I had made a commitment however, to never loose my gratitude. No matter what.
This past December,when we were working through our virtues topic, I was the person who was going to write about grace. How hard could that really be, right?
Well for me it became an agonizing experience. I started to think I shouldn’t be doing this. I started listening to the lies that pronounced I had nothing to write about. I wrestled long enough and finally broke, digging through all those old journals.
It was so revealing to me as I thumbed through all those pages, all those years.
I have always thought I have good faith. Strong faith. I actually still cannot say that’s not true. However, I had been focused on the pain, the heartbreak and disappointment. I was often so discouraged. That way of thinking was robbing me of all the hope that I could be experiencing. God had so much room to move through all those different scenarios, and HE DID!! Many times!
I have spent my Christian life more honed in on my struggles then on my surrender. I was trying to figure out the perfect prayer and how to help myself. That was never God’s intention for me. He wants me desperately seeking after Him
I believe that I have heard God share many times with me who He says I am. I have had seasons of deep struggles and because of the way I am wired, and some of my trust issues I have internalized most of it. Chaos has been a regular part of everyday life and I never lost faith through those years. I believe God is sovereign so I also don’t regret the life I have been blessed with. EVERYTHING works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
However, I have toiled over and over with my worth and my purpose. I have meditated on the negative and rehearsed the hardships. I have let the enemy get in my head and convince me that God perhaps wasn’t interested in my life. I have put my emotions and my emotional state on the alter and spent far too much time worshiping it. I have circled this place and circled this place. Never really allowing God to recycle the pain, instead just clinging to it and allowing it to become my identity.
I have found His grace has always been there as I have walked this trail.
I have read this quote from John Piper “When you are born, the world tells you who you are. When you are born again,God tells you who you.”
Thank you for all the grace you have shown me. Like the Israelites, I often forget how much you have done for me and how blessed I am. I forget that I was a slave and I am free today. I am choosing to believe that you are going to keep doing amazing things in my life. Lord we believe you, help us with our unbelief. Teach us to guard our hearts Lord and to surrender all we have to you. Only you are worthy.