I did a study of Luke 8:43-48 recently on the woman who had been dealing with an issue of blood for twelve years. It prompted me to ask myself the question, “What ‘issue’ have I been dealing with for the past twelve years?” What I discovered in this retrospective moment (and a moment was all it took to see my life flash before my eyes) was not just one but many issues. And that was an issue!
It was twelve years ago that we invited my mom to move in with our family to help support her and transition her into retirement. It was two short years later when our son was diagnosed with leukemia. A year later he was promoted to his heavenly home. Three years later we made a difficult ministry transition which presented us with unexpected challenges. Not to mention the already challenging phase of life I was in as a new empty nester in a pre-menopausal state.
It was also hard to wrap my head around the fact that not only were my 4 kids not joining us in this new season of ministry, but one of them would never again engage in our lives. Six weeks after our move, our oldest daughter was married in another province where my heart had to come to terms with the fact that she’d be planting herself there for the rest of her life. Two weeks after that our son was in a boating accident that nearly took the life of a twelve-year-old boy. Two weeks later my mother-in-law fell and broke her hip, which required my husband to make several 8-hour trips from where we lived to be with her. Two weeks later we were at her funeral. It just so happened that it fell on the same date our son’s court appearance was to take place. It also happened to be our youngest daughter’s 18th birthday.
The accumulative effect of all of these incidents found me in a cardiologist’s office and consequently led me into a depression. That depression was my companion for the next five years through a vast wilderness experience.
However, it was there in the middle of the wilderness that I met a woman in the Bible named, Hagar (Genesis 12 & 21). I reaped so much from getting to know her. She, too, had been blinded by her tears, blinded by resentment, blinded by disappointment, and nearly paralyzed by her past. She helped me to see the God who sees me as I opened my eyes and she pointed to an oasis in the middle of the desert. There she taught me not only how to survive, but thrive in the wilderness. Here are some wilderness survival tips I reaped from the hot desert sand:
The old Christmas Carol says, “I wonder as I wander out under the sky”. I wonder; who of you might be wandering in the desert about now? Let me assure you first of all, you’re not alone. And secondly, let me remind you that there’s so much beauty to be found in the desert. Sometimes we just have to dig a little deeper in the hot desert sand to find the buried treasures.
“And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness—secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name” (Is. 45:3).
Lisa Elliott is an inspirational speaker and award-winning author of The Ben Ripple and Dancing in the Rain. Additionally, she has written articles for Just Between Us Magazine and devotionals for theStory. She and her pastor-husband, David, have four children (3 on earth, 1 in heaven) and serve the Lord together in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
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Contact Lisa at: firstname.lastname@example.org