Understanding Restoration in a whole new way as courage, needing a soul deep boost of confidence, I found myself in the well known but often misunderstood Book of Jeremiah 29 on a recent morning. I was clear however that I didn’t want just to read Jeremiah 29:11. I needed context reading the entire chapter to help me understand the long and difficult journey I’ve undertaken the last several years. The excitement I have about what is and what lies ahead is tempered by the acute appreciate of the exile and of the banishment, the isolation that preceded it. When God says through Jeremiah “I know the plans I have for you” it’s because He’s going to take you through hell to lead you to your blessings.
My #BBFFF says the joy I’m now experiencing could NOT be so without the season of wandering and wilderness. I had to lose my way. I had to lose my hope. I had to suffer the “chastisement of my peace,” to have joy ripped violently from me, in order to learn trust. God does not bless us because we are faithful. Faith in God is never transactional.
I had to accept that my life might never change in order to learn to “count it all joy.” I didn’t want to. I resented God. I said often that I’d have quit God if I could figure out how.
There began a stirring within me; a disquietedness. I sensed a shifting, a resetting but not settling.
Broken. Surrender. Petrichor. Trust.Salt.
I belong to a group for whom selecting their OneWord is a way to still our noisy minds in order to be quiet and hear God’s Voice and plan for our year. I am not by nature a linear thinker. However, as I consider my selections throughout the years (they choose me, I do not choose them), there is a bright line that traces my journey from where I begin to where I now stand.
I did not find my way alone. It was not an easy journey. Dr. Bernadette Glover, you brought me back to life. You spoke words over my dry bones and they lived.
This is my present. After shaking free from every notion about everything I ever thought I wanted or want it to be, I began to be ready. I had to have all of me stripped, shredded, ground into to dust so that I could no longer trust Him or trust me-I could only trust God.
There are so many metaphors for the wilderness. I no longer run from my Wild and Free. This has become my home. Uncharted and unmeasured, dense and full of Grace, I’m so grateful that I never gave up-thank you God.
And then, there it was, staring back at me. Calling me to deeper waters (you’re in my head, Denise J. Hughes), challenging me to come to Him and away from all the things I thought I wanted… towards the very life He created me to live. There it was.
In a Sunday sermon, I heard the following… “When we turn to God, we are made whole.”
That’s when I understood. This part of my life is now complete. I am evolved, and I am not alone. I am emboldened by the tribe that surrounds me.
We pray. We see. We rise. We resist…and we raise the future. You may not fear us, but you will FEAR THE GOD WE SERVE.