Plus, it's easier to talk about food any day. Especially for a woman.
Since that mode won't last for long because,frankly, my recipe repetoire and the varied food options are almost at their end - we'll just jump into the nitty gritty with both feet shall we?
Wait though, here's the kicker: How do I acknowlege and communicate to you how wonderful this is without acknowledging how hard that was?
What comes to your mind when I say the word 'desert'? I think I know - because I used to think the same thing. Usually the word 'desert' is associated with the following:
cactus; nasty poky things they are
reptiles of vile nature
little to no green
lack of vegetation
In looking up the word desert, I found roots in the Spanish language coming from Latin (of course) that insinuate the original meaning:
an abandoned place (noun)...or to abandon (verb).
For years I've heard people talking of a spiritual desert. It's connotation is always of feeling limp, dried up, deserted, or a celestial silent treatment of sorts. It was good imagery especially for someone who grew up in the rich green and lush Pacific Northwest. Desert = dead, right? Not in my case.
Who would have thought moving to the desert would fill the reservoirs of my soul?
I will never again be able to connect those two images in my mind - desert and abandoned. For me - this desert has been the place of rest and renewal; not abandonment. A place where God has shown me that he can and does lead us over and through the hard years and sets our feet upon the high places. A place where there is amazing beauty to be caught now that my eyes are ready to see it.
We've spent the last 4 years in hard places. Yet God has been there too, of course. Sometimes it's difficult to put into words the strain of the day, but you know, that's all relative. I hope that through our writings in this blog that we've been able to lift you up to the windows of this shop called 'living internationally as normal people called to be missionaries' to peek inside.
To give eyes to see the people we long to serve.
To give smells to the places we live.
To show you the work you partner in with us through your
prayers, finances, emails and phone calls.
Lately as we've been praying about our futures in ministry outside our passport country or inside it, we've had a chance to take big, long, deep breaths of beautiful, dry, crisp desert air. I will tell you that this desert of Mitla, Oaxaca has been like a fountain of blessing for me.
Some days I've wondered why God has brought us here -because. it. seems. so. wonderful. The aroma of rightness is almost breath-taking. There is a sense of 'coming home' that we've all had in being back in Mexico. There is an excitement in being part of helping with the work here. There is a rest for me personally, in layers of stressors that have evaporated. There is blessing overflowing in the form of housing, friends, provision, just to name a few, and options. Options folks. We have options here.
I will say it seems incredible to me that some of our friends have blazed the trail through difficult years and we're just doing the easy job of reaping the benefits of their experience and knowledge. Some times I feel a bit guilty about that - most days I just thank GOD repeatedly. Mostly, because I was at the point of not being able to function the hard way anymore. How's that for a spiritual confession? I just didn't wanna.
I am thankful for the hard years but I'm beyond thankful for a break from them. The energy and enthusiasm we had in setting out on this adventure God called us to (4 1/2 years ago!) were great boosters over those first few months of culture shock and what-not. The knowlege and peace that surpassed our understanding carried us over change after change, culture stress (they are two different animals folks) and times where things didn't make sense on paper. The firm resolution to serve until He calls us clearly back is sustaining us even now. I wouldn't trade that for anything.
It has also helped bring the blessings into a focus sharper than I am used to and it leaves me at a loss for words some days.
So if you are finding yourself in a strange and unexpected desert, be it a 'normal looking' one or not - take heart from someone who's been there and done that and lived to blog about it. God is faithful even when we are faithless. He doesn't change although we do. He loves and provides even when it doesn't look like it in our worldy eyes. He knows the future even when our planning doesn't work out. He does bring us through those hard days and pours out the fountains of blessing which really, are only a glimpse of what is to come...