The Desert Also Speaks

It’s been well over 6 months since my last post. My written journals continue to fill up with personal prayers and documents of everyday life while Inspirations From Creation have run dry. I could use the excuse that we moved away from our inspiring homestead back into the city. I could use the excuse that Covid 19 has sucked the life out of me and has left me feeling like doing nothing at all. I could use the excuse that I’m busy teaching not only my own kids but my sister’s kids as well. I could also use the excuse that our family, like many families, has been through more turmoil in 2020 than in all of our years combined. And while all those are good explanations of why I have not posted, I think one of the biggest reasons for not posting is that I haven’t believed that the glory of God could be seen in the desert just as much as in grasslands. I’ve had a time or two where a post was brewing in my mind but I dismissed it. I wasn’t faithful to write them down and after that, the juices stopped. I didn’t mind though because if more inspirations had come to my mind then there would be the risk of having to admit that God could use me here in the city just as much here as he did in the country.

See, I have an addiction. It’s the thought that my most meaningful life is somewhere other than where I am at. And for that past month or so that place in my mind has been back in our old red brick house in Anderson.

Everything in me would give anything to be back there. There isn’t a day that goes by that someone in our family isn’t feeling homesick to the point of tears. It has felt like a death and being on this website is a reminder that the last time I posted, we were still living in our home with our chickens, cat, rabbits, 5-acres, trees, and hills, the boy’s tree fort, and our house. Yes, it took us 4 hours to mow the lawn and countless hours of weeding the butterfly garden and driveway, feeding animals on days that were bitterly cold, chopping wood, and doing what seemed like endless projects, but it was our home. We didn’t just have a sandbox, we had a sandbox that Kyle and I built together and surprised our kids with for their birthdays. It wasn’t just a chicken coop, it was a coop that we had designed and built together as a family. It wasn’t just a garden fence, it was a fence that left us sore for days from pounding steak posts in the hard ground on a cold, misty day. It wasn’t just a fireplace, it was a memory of spending hours looking for just the right design, taping it out, framing, leveling, mudding, tiling, mounting, staining, and stepping away to admire a masterpiece that we had created together. Every time we watched a fire we were also staring at a memory. Every time we relaxed in our bedroom we were reminded of the hard work that went into resurfacing the floor, repainting the walls, trimming, and building the barn doors that covered our small closet. Here, the only project Kyle and I have done together is building pre-made shelves that we bought at Costco.

We live in a rental house and the yard is full of beautiful purple bushes and typical Arizonan rocks that someone else selected and planted. It requires no maintenance except when a hired hand comes to trim the bushes. We often spend our weekends sitting by a gorgeous community pool that sits in front of palm trees and mountains. And though all those things are very nice, they are the enjoyment of someone else’s handiwork. Because we have tasted the joy and satisfaction that hard work brings, we have started demonizing where we are at and longing to be home, not realizing that God has been trying to use this time to refresh us and give us not just memories of building projects together but memories with other family members.

While here, there are things He has been trying to do with our character – like teaching us to be content in all seasons and learning how to stick things out even when they get hard. Our hyper-focus on being somewhere else has prevented us from seeing the opportunities we have right in front of us. Nevermind that we were exhausted in our old house. Nevermind that we prayed and prayed for someone to pass the baton onto who would care for our land, home, and animals the way we did. Nevermind that God very specifically answered that prayer. Nevermind the nudges we in unity felt toward moving out here to be with family during a hard time. Nevermind that we even liked it out here. Never mind that God is sovereign and puts us in the times and places He has for us so that we will seek Him. We put aside all these things believing we had made a mistake and needed to do anything in our power to get back what we had lost. And though we still long for home and pray that one day we could move back, it wasn’t until my mother lovingly pointed out my struggle with discontentment that I began to realize God can still inspire and use me even here. And maybe this realization will open my eyes to the beauty around me. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says, ” And we all, with unveiled faces reflecting the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another, which is from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” I know that God takes us through different trials and circumstances so that the character we gain during those trials will reflect a new dimension of His eternal glory. In addition, this verse encourages me that perhaps one of the reasons God has moved us out here is to see a different angle of His beauty. The green rolling hills reflect an element of His glory and the blooming cactus another. The cool crisp air ruffling the orange and yellow leaves refect one angle of His beauty and the patchy warm and cold air between the mountains reflects another. While the beauty of a rattle snack peeking out of a hole may not be an angle of His glory that I prefer, I still believe God can indeed inspire me with the beauty He has made right here. Psalm 19 applies just as much to the desert as it does to the grasslands.

The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
    The skies display his craftsmanship.
Day after day they continue to speak;
    night after night they make him known.
They speak without a sound or word;
    their voice is never heard.[a]
Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,
    and their words to all the world.

God has made a home in the heavens for the sun.
It bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom after his wedding.
    It rejoices like a great athlete eager to run the race.
The sun rises at one end of the heavens
    and follows its course to the other end.
    Nothing can hide from its heat.

So I admit it. Though I want to go home and prefer to be inspired by the chickens and butterfly garden, there’s a voice here too. There’s a certain glory here in the desert whose words are also worth capturing. And if I listen and embrace the beauty around me, I’m convinced it will not take 6 more months to write another post.

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