In the Wilderness

When the world “shut down” on Friday, March 13, it seemed like I internally shut down too. That first week I had a really hard time getting motivated to do anything. I was tired and anxious and stayed close to the couch for the majority of the week. I found myself in a dry place where I had no desire to do anything, let alone the activities that usually make me happy, like crafts and creating. Week 2 rolled around and my communications duties at work ramped up.  I found myself working around the clock and my work-home life got very off-kilter. My mind and time were pulled in so many directions as I remained constantly on Zoom calls juggling demands and helping others to communicate in our new “normal.” As life progressed in quarantine, I finally took time to get off my screen, go outside, breathe in and slow myself down to match the standstill pace of the world. Needless to say, I experienced a spectrum … from non-activity to full activity, from self-absorbed worry to helping colleagues in need, from anxious stress to abiding peace. Perhaps you’ve experienced some of these things yourself. The journey that we are now walking may feel lonesome and one that we must bear on our own. However, that is not the case. Wherever this finds you, know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. 

The One Year Chronological Bible that I’m reading through currently has me finishing up Deuteronomy. I’ve been following the Israelites in their journey through the wilderness and the things God speaks to them in their journey are speaking to me in my journey now. We are navigating our own wilderness much like the Israelites… unsure of where we are going and feeling anxiety about our future. Will God really continue to provide? 

Yes, God will provide. No matter what our circumstances are financially, physically or emotionally, keep seeking and trusting God.

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 2:7)

Heaven forbid that our wilderness journey last 40 years, but if it did, I am confident that we will not lack anything. God has already demonstrated that He is a Provider. He provided clothes, food, shelter, and all of life’s necessities for the nation of Israel for 40 years, and He will do it again for us. We may not understand our wilderness, we may cling to our stubborn disbeliefs and be quick to forget the wonders God has done for us personally, but God will not forsake us. 

With your own eyes you saw those great trials, those signs and great wonders. But to this day, the Lord has not given you a mind that understands or eyes that see or ears that hear. Yet the Lord says, “During the 40 years that I led you through the wilderness, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet… I did this so that you might know that I am the Lord your God.” (Deuteronomy 29:3-6)

What does it mean to know that the Lord is our God, Provider and Savior? I think it means we can exhale and start with a prayer from Psalm 90. This prayer is what Moses offered up at the end of the Israelites journey through the wilderness. It captures what we need next: Joy and gladness.

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, for as many years as we have seen trouble. May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their children. May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us- yes, establish the work of our hands. (Psalm 90:12, 14-17)

Don’t miss the “all our days” phrase in this prayer like I did. At first I thought Moses was asking for at least as many days of joy as his days of trouble. But no… Moses is asking for gladness in all our days, every single one, even on our afflicted and troubling ones. 

So this is my prayer for us. May God satisfy you each morning with His love that you might sing for joy and be glad even as you walk through these troubling times. May He establish the work of your hands and may the favor of God rest upon you.

Let’s Get Creative

Succulents are trending everywhere now… in plant stores, in home decor and even on napkins! I found some succulent napkins and used this as a base for my bible journaling to illustrate a desert wilderness scene.

“Napkinizing” is an easy technique. Give it a try! Take any 2 or 3 ply napkin and peel it apart to 1 ply. This leaves you with a decorative napkin to work with that is thin and fairly transparent. Apply the 1 ply napkin to your surface with gesso or mod podge. Once applied, the napkin nearly disintegrates while leaving the decorative image intact and on your surface.

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