Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Wilderness

Last Tuesday morning, I woke up with an old Keith Green song in my head. "You Put This Love in My Heart" literally came out of nowhere. I haven't thought of Keith Green much less listened to him in years. I think that morning was a morning of clarity. I have been re-reading Ken Gire's "Windows of the Soul". I realized with clarity that I have been in the wilderness for a long time. While living in Albany, we went through some hard times. Many of the hard times we went through nobody but our families are aware of. Much too painful to talk about publically. When we felt the tug of God leading us back here, we really believed that this was going to be a good experience. The hard times were over, the price had been paid and God was calling us. We left everything, our jobs, home, friends, security.....and then boom, a year later here we are with nothing. Well, almost nothing. The overwhelming pain of loss and hurt has left as incapacitated as a family and as individuals.

The wilderness is where we experience prolonged periods of God's absence. That's where I am...or at least where I've been now for several months. "Suddenly I found myself against a God who baited me and then set the hook. But it was not the punishment of the hook. That was nothing. It was the hunger of my soul, and that I was against something, or something was against me , that I did not comprehend. That was everything." (Ken Gire) I have had times in the last few months where I've begged God to show Himself to me, prayed for some glimpse of his Grace, and was left with nothing. Being in the wilderness is not something new to Jesus himself nor is it new to most of those we read about in the Old Testament, but it becomes something surreal when it's your wilderness. When it's your time of being completely humbled, thirsty and alone. Completely, unequivocally, unbearably alone. I was and maybe still am, desperate for some word that I've not been forgotten. That God still sees us here and doesn't hate us. I still haven't completely accepted that yet.

I don't know that I'm out of the wilderness yet, but I do see glimpses of hope. I don't feel so alone anymore. Not much has changed externally. All those things that get me down are still there, but I'm hopeful, and I haven't been hopeful in many, many months.

The wilderness has been hard. It's where I've had to prove to myself who God is. Not from anyone else's words or experiences, but from one painful word at a time. Experienced by me. It's a mess, but it's my mess. I can say I know who God is. As the Israelites emerged out of the wilderness after 40 years of wandering, and crossed the Jordan River into the Promised Land, they were shown a window revealing the reason for those disorienting years. I'm hoping for the same thing.

The morning I woke up with Keith Green in my head, I hope was the beginning of leaving the wilderness. I'll leave you with some lyrics.

There are sometimes when I doubt
But you always find me out
You put this love in my heart

Cause when I see all that you've done for me
It's hard to doubt, I just have to believe
Cause you followed and proved it all of your life
There's so much more I should say
If I could just find a way
You put this love in my heart

Is all this real or a dream
I feel so good I could scream
You put this love in my heart

I want to know where the bad feelings go
When I'm depressed and I get down so low
And then I see you coming to me and it's alright

You put this love in my heart

You put this love in my heart

You put this love in my heart


jdawg said...

thanks Jill. That was great and you know I'm there with you.
I love you.

Anonymous said...
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Amie Vaughan said...

jill, i know what you mean. been there lately myself, and hoping to be coming out of it like you, as well. i pray for y'all every day, when i pray for myself. i'm right there with you, from here...

The Finkelman Bunch said...

Love you, Jilly. Just want you to know that I'm here for you, too, and I think of, and pray for you often.

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