Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Surgery.

I just came home and did what every sane person does when they find out they are having a cholecystectomy the very next day.  I ate a whole avocado.  There.  Take that, cholecystectomy.

Really, my heart didn't start pounding when the doctor said he would be removing a God given organ.  It started pounding when he said I couldn't wear any makeup the day of the surgery.  Priorites, people.

I am not sure how I have made it 37 years without major surgery but I did and liked it that way.  This removal of organ business has me all up in arms and tears and palpitations.

Gallbladder. It's just a gallbladder.  And apparently, you can survive without this God given organ, it just takes some time for your body to figure out what to do without it.  Why did you have to rebel little organ?  We were getting along so nicely.

Can't I just go in and birth a ten pound baby? It sounds so much easier.  Will they wrap up my little gallbladder in a receiving blanket and place it in my arms for all my effort?  I think not.  But, it might be kind of fun to see all the angry gallstones.  (My husband swears I won't be bringing those home.)

It's been kind of emotional around here this week.  I keep thinking of Kara Tippetts and how she died with grace and dignity.  I keep thinking of Herb and how much I miss him.  I keep wondering how these people died well when I am still trying to figure out how to live well.

We take one step at a time, hearts fully surrendered, and rest in the sovereign path laid before us.  We don't panic when the word surgery is mentioned because we know it is really the best thing.  We keep waking up in the morning, almost three months after cancer strips us bare because we have a God that breathes peace into our frames on a daily basis.

It's funny how as I get older, I have a greater desperation for Jesus.  More and more, he is my everything. More and more, I am aching to be where He is.

I have a feeling I'll pull through tomorrow (wink wink), but just in case...you guys should know you are beyond loved and treasured.  I think when we get to heaven the thing that will shock us more than anything is the depth of the Father's love for us.

Swim in it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

May I Never Lose the Wonder

THIS is the best news I have heard in a long time.  Reading this article made me feel like I was immersed straight into a modern day Bible story.  All day, I have felt like a fan on the sidelines, cheering for this big God who always has his way.

I already told you that I hate politics. But, I do love a good God story.  I love to see that He is indeed moving, weaving everything together for His glory and name's sake.  Stories like the Israeli Prime Minister election help us see Him clearly. 

Netanyahu won the election and we can be thankful mainly for this:  the other leading candidate, (Herzog) was willing to give up Israeli land if elected.  God's agenda is never about surrendering over His land.  It has always been about an inheritance of land and promise.

Apparently, our own government spent our tax dollars to try and prevent Netanyahu's victory. I can't tell you how enraged I am about this.  In the end, though, it is God's plan that carries forth.  Not even the Superpower of the world could win this battle.

"He controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars."   Daniel 2:21

May I never lose the wonder of a God who has a beautiful master plan in which absolutely nothing or no one can thwart.

My allegiance will always be with this God who is worthy of such wonder.




Friday, March 13, 2015

Rain and the Finished Work

The rain just won't stop and the whole morning was one mess of a panic attack.  I don't know why my body seems to be attacking itself.  One day, gallstones.  The next, a mental breakdown.

It was while driving the kids to school that the gas light came on and the words only 19 miles left screamed at me.  Who has time to stop and get gas when you are trying to get to three different schools, miles apart, all before the clock strikes 7:50?

I rush them, grab gas, head 20 minutes back home, grab the dog and realize this isn't smart.  How does one exactly take the 70 pound dog and the 2 year old pushing-the-boundaries-toddler to the vet in the pouring rain?  Why again did God only give mothers two hands?

We get there in another 20 minutes.  I get the dog out, she bolts (despite the leash) which is to be expected.  I lose her in the rain.  I find her.  I get the toddler in the door at which point he breaks free because I simply can't keep a toddler in one hand a strong Golden Retriever in the other hand. 

I find the toddler.  We get ushered into a room to wait.  I get frowned upon for not bringing in a stool sample.  From the dog, not me.  Was I supposed to go out in the pouring rain and gather up dog poo? How exactly was I supposed to carry the live animal waste inside? I can't even get a dog and kid inside without losing both for crying out loud. I already told you I don't have enough hands.

The toddler sits, screaming in my lap because I won't put him down.  Strong willed? Yes.  Reminds me of his oldest brother at this age.

I get chastised because my 11 year old dog has gained weight.  Well, welcome to the chub club, pooch.

Just give me a sticker and label me as mother of the year.

It is in that moment, as I am trying to contain the ocean about to leak from my eyes that I remind myself of one thing.

I could choose grace in this moment.

It is so hard down here and most days I don't have my act together.  Despite three loads of laundry a day, it is never finished.  Despite eating healthy, the weight won't drop.  Despite choosing to rest, I still swim in stress.

It just keeps raining.

But, I could choose grace.

What would that look like for a mother of 4 who has an overweight dog, gallstones, and a strong willed toddler?

I could read this line and believe it:  It is Finished.

If my relationship with the Father was based on my performance, then I would have been banished long ago.

I need the gospel daily because I am prone to a works kind of religion where I think my acceptance is always up to my actions.

Only grace sets me free and allows a deep breath when everything around me is going haywire.

"Because we are, right now, under the completely sufficient imputed righteousness of Christ, Christians already have an A.  The threat of failure, judgment, and condemnation has been removed.  We're in--forever!  We've been set free."  Tullian Tchividjian

It is finished. Breathe it in.    





Monday, March 9, 2015

Stitch Fix #2

The snow delay turned me into a mad woman this go-round.  I was stalking my tracking number like a maniac, ready for my special delivery! I received my second "Fix" today!  Color me happy!

This time, I requested bright colors, specifically blue.  Tiffany (my stylist!) delivered beautiful shades of blue, all of which make me happy since winter is not dying.

I also requested boyfriend jeans.  I was disappointed that they didn't have my size in stock, so I guess I will have to request those at another time.

What I am really loving about Stitch Fix is that I can try on everything in the comfort of my home...mixing things with items in my closet to see if it is really worth keeping. (OK, that and I love to play dress up in a world of Under Armour clad boys.)

Here is my little box of happies!



 




1.  Coral/Peach Aztec drape cardigan in a perfect lightweight material.  Normally, I don't pick out pastels, but maybe I should branch out a little bit.  I love this color and how it happily transitions us to spring!  I think a pair of white skinny jeans would look better than my wide leg pants, so maybe I can request some of those next! Status:  keep.


2.  This little bohemian tie dye cardigan.  It is the perfect weight and such a fun piece!  I would totally keep it except it is just way too big.  Status:  Return (sniff.)
3. This gem that has a little keyhole detail and very fun for summer.  It's just too big, though.  Eric thinks it is frumpy.  Status:  Return
 
4.  Ahhh. Now we are talking!  Turquoise might be the happiest shade in the world.  Well, that and hot pink.  This little tab sleeve blouse has 3/4 length sleeves and is the perfect piece to wear with black skinny jeans.  It is very versatile...I found tons of scarves, jackets, and necklaces in my closet that will coordinate with it!  Status:  Keep!
 

 
5.  This crochet detailed blouse is just beautiful!  The same cut out detail runs across the top of the back of the shirt, too.  It is romantic and elegant, but also casual enough for everyday.  The style of the shirt is pretty similar to the turquoise, so I am sadly sending it back.  It also costs a little more than I am comfortable with for shirts. Status:  Return
 


I have to give credit to my rock star photographer.  Kudos to this cutie.  If you would like to try Stitch Fix for yourself, then here is the link.  You pay $20 as a stylist fee which includes shipping your box.  The good news is that this money goes towards anything you keep!

Delight


Delight.  I've been pondering what it really means to delight in the Lord.  It seems simple at times and at other times, profound.  True love is like that.

Spurgeon has words that make me weep, so I will let him speak today on this rich subject.  What is delight?

"If you look at the word, it is flashing with light, it sparkles like a star, no, like a bright constellation, radiant with sweet influences like the Pleiades.  It is joy, yet it is more, it is joy running over; it is rest, but such a rest as allows of the utmost activity of every passion of the soul.

Delight!

It is mirth without its froth.  Delight!  It is peace, yet it is more than that, it is peace celebrated with festivity, with all the streamers hanging in the streets, and all the music playing in the soul.

Delight!

To what shall I compare it?  It is a stray word that belongs to the language of Paradise."


Delight!

"You must take the word and spell it over, letter by letter, and then you must pray God to put your hearts into a sweet frame of mind, made up of the following ingredients--a perfect rest from all earthly care; a perfect resignation of yourself into God's hands; an intense confidence in His Love for you; a divine love to Him, so that you feel you would be anything or do anything for Him!  Then, there must be added to all this, a joy in Him; and when you have these, they must be all set a-boiling, and then, by His Grace, you have delight in the Lord your God!"


Matthew Henry says, "Desire is love in action, like a bird on the wing; delight is love in rest, like a bird on its nest."

Such beautiful words to chew on.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A Blessing. A Curse. A Choice.

I just watched Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu address our congress with wisdom and common sense.  He is a man for such a time as this, a man ordained to fight for the nation that he loves...that I love...that God loves.

He mentioned Purim and how tomorrow Jews will remember Esther and how God delivered the Jewish people from Haman's evil plot of annihilation. God fought for them then and He will fight for His people always.  They are His nation, the beloved nation He set apart from all the others.  They are the apple of His eye.  I am so grateful to be grafted in to such a branch. Grace for the Gentile.  Now, that is simply profound.

Netanyahu was right.  "Even if Israel has to stand alone---Israel WILL stand."  The end times battles in prophecy that might be quickly upon us all shout to one thing:  Israel wins.  You defy Israel, you defy the Living God.

It goes back to a promise that God made to Abraham and this nation that God was forming:

Genesis 12:3 New International Version (NIV)

I will bless those who bless you,
    and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
    will be blessed through you.[a]
 
There you have it. Whoever curses Israel stands cursed.
 
If you appease a nation bent on evil who has called Israel "Little Satan" and has more than once declared their end goal is the destruction of this state, then you are cursing Israel.  It is simple.
 
I stand with Israel.  I pray for the peace of Jerusalem.  But, what do we do when we aren't directly leading our nation?  We pray for our leaders.  We pray they are surrounded by wise and Biblical counsel.  We pray for hearts to be changed and that God might intervene.  The blessing or curse of our nation always resides in our treatment of the state of Israel.
 
This article by Rosenberg makes it all so clear.  Here is an excerpt:
 
"The first is the Islamic Republic of Iran. The second is Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL). The leaders of the former are Shia. The latter are Sunni. Both believe the End of Days has come. Both believe the Islamic messiah – known as the “Mahdi” — is coming at any moment. Both are trying to hasten the coming of the Mahdi so that he can conquer the earth and establish justice and peace. They speak often of such things.

That said, each has a different strategy to speed up the Mahdi’s arrival. ISIS wants to build a caliphate. Iran wants to build The Bomb. ISIS is committing genocide now. Iran is preparing to commit genocide later, openly stating it seeks to wipe Israel off the map and create a world without the United States, which they describe as the “Great Satan.”"
 
 

I find it so fascinating that not one but two organizations/states are doing everything they can in order to usher in "their" messiah.  It reminds me that Satan is a copycat, always twisting God's ideas in order to achieve his own glory.  Satan isn't unaware of the Bible or the signs that are upon us.  He is on a furious rampage, knowing time for him must be short.  He is using ISIS and Iran, deceiving them to believe that a Muslim messiah is coming, using evil tactics of destruction to try and usher him in. 
 
There is a Messiah coming.  His name is Jesus.  Ha Shem.  THE NAME.  He is the light in the darkness.  He will come as a Warrior, in a way we have never experienced. 
 
Come, Lord Jesus. Make your authority over your Kingdom evident to all.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Crunchy Peanut Butter

It's when I open the pantry and see that darn crunchy peanut butter that I start crying.

Grief Triggers.  You never know what they will be.  And when you start crying over peanut butter, it almost seems absurd.

Certain things attach themselves to the people you love and lost and they won't let go, proving everyday that those people mattered and meant something. Still mean something.

It was four years ago, Herb sneaking up behind me in Walmart and creeping me out.  I found this previous post and had a little laugh...

"I was at Walmart the previous day, throwing down our life's savings, it seems, on a filled buggy full of everything from toothpaste to triscuits.  I was vacillating between Heinz and Hunts when I felt an arm reach around my waist and whisper something gravelly and deep by the side of my head.

I just about came out of my tennis shoes.  Because despite how hard I tried in that span of half a second, I couldn't make out the voice to be that of my husband's.  Not that Eric was at Walmart, mind you, but who on earth else could it be?

I must have thrown a look that could kill at the person who had just whispered "Hey, you wanna go out sometime?"  Because then my father in law burst into such laughter that I had to laugh right back at him. 

I can't blame him for wanting to play a little practical joke...the man has been needing to get out of the house since he has been incessantly and selflessly taking care of his sick mom and wife (who broke her ankle.)

But, as you know, across from Hunts and Heinz lies Smuckers and Jiff.  I was so flustered that I picked up crunchy instead of smooth.

And now we all know who to blame."

I'll never look at crunchy peanut butter without thinking about Herb and now it triggers me into a mess of hot tears, missing him madly. 

I've learned that triggers can be a blessing, forcing you to joyfully remember the person you are missing.  The triggers can also remind you that your suffering is only temporary and that one day, everything will be set right.

I do know one thing, our God is a God of laughter and I am thankful for fun memories to ease the ache until we are laughing together again at that big ol' banquet.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Snow Day!

Snow beats ice!  Today was Asher's first day to play in the snow!!!  He loved it! I love a good snow day...

*Our 11 year old Golden Retriever morphs back into a puppy.  She loves snow more than anything in the world!
*I love the bright chaotic colorful mixture of snow hats and gloves and coats.
*Fires and hot chocolate.
*Snow pictures! (Although I really miss our old backyard and camellias that were always in bloom during winter!)
*Movies and slight obsessions with new shows I have never seen like "24".
*Soup, soup, soup!
*Reading!
*Not having to make my bed.
*Games!
*A sense that all is right in the world...a brief indulgence.
*Staying up late and sleeping in.
*Baked goodies like streusel cake and chocolate no bake cookies.
*No schedule or appointments or sports or pick up lines.
*Laughter!





























Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Ark

My favorite thing about studying the Old Testament is looking for the Messiah.  He doesn't walk the earth as God-man until the New Testament, but I am telling you, the Old Testament shouts his glory!  Many of us have studied the concept of "types" in the Word.  A "type" would be a type of symbolism that points to something or someone in the future.  You can find types of Christ in the Old Testament ranging from the life of Joseph to the Ark that Noah built.

I thought it might be fun to show some of the ways the Ark points to Jesus.  When we think of the ark, we often get warm fuzzies, seeing little giraffe heads poking out of wooden tug boats.  We envision nurseries decorated with the theme and we see flannel-grams with stick on animals and people. 

It is rarely the wrath of God that is the backdrop of our thinking when we remember this story.  The world was so wicked that man's thoughts were conjuring evil at all times.  The closest thing I can equate to this type of evil is ISIS.  God was grieved at the sin and the condition of mankind.  Against the just wrath of God is always the face of a merciful God that sets aside a remnant.  The Lord had favor on Noah and his family.

He gave Noah specific instructions on how to build this ark.  The Hebrew word for ark is "tebah" and is only used in reference to Noah's ark and the reed basket that baby Moses was put in when his mother was trying to save his life.  Interesting that the two "boats" look nothing alike, but both serve the purpose of a "lifeboat." Tebah simply means ark or box.

Noah is told to build the ark out of gopher wood. Genesis 6:14 is the only mention of gopher wood in the bible. Many commentaries state that it is possibly cypress wood, but the significance is that the ark is built out of something unique and not mentioned anywhere else on the pages of scripture.  If the ark is foreshadowing Christ in various ways, then we can say that it is pointing to the fact that the Messiah will be unique...unlike any other human.  He will be special.  There will be only one way to God.  One Redeemer. It's beautiful to me that God had this gopher wood in place and ready to go before the flood came.  He has had the Lamb ready before the foundation of the world.

God tells Noah to pitch the wood.  Here is the verse: "Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch."  Genesis 6:14  Now, I am going to start jumping up and down because this is fascinating.  The first word pitch "shalt pitch within and without" is the Hebrew word, kaphar.

KAPHAR means to cover, cancel, reconcile, cleanse, forgive, pacify, appease, placate, MAKE ATONEMENT.  It derives from the word kippur, which means atonement.  My Hebrew Greek Key Study Bible notes said it is one of the most important words in the bible.  It is a transaction, a ransoming procedure that uses blood and wipes away sin.  It was the word used for animal sacrifice in the Old Testament. 

The second mention of "pitch" is a tad different, it is KOPHER.  Basically, it is the noun version of the word.  It means a cover, a price, a sum of money, a ransom.

In order for the inhabitants to survive, the ark had to be covered in pitch.  Noah probably used tree resin as pitch to waterproof the ark.  The pitch acted to preserve the ark and to keep the waters of judgment out of the ark.  The ark took the beating of the angry waves while all that were inside were safe. It is the blood of Jesus that acts as our pitch, covering us, appeasing the wrath of God, making atonement for our sins.  The blood is the sum of money that ransoms us back from the entanglements of death and sin.

Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins. The ark was hopeless without the pitch. Mankind is hopeless without the blood of Christ. The pitch and blood provide a special kind of sealing against the judgment that was to come.

Noah was instructed to build one door that entered the ark.  I wonder if Noah thought it was foolish to have only one entrance to a boat that was 450 feet long.  Perhaps it points to the fact that there is only one door that leads to God.  His name is Jesus. Good works, false gods, and self will all be shut out, drowned in the cacophony of everything unrighteous.  I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

One last little thing.  God told Noah to put in a window.  The Hebrew to English translation is a little unclear. It could mean windows.  It could mean an opening 18 inches from the top of the roof (all the way around.)  The Hebrew means "a clear light, to shine, double light, noon light."  The obvious reason for a window or windows or opening would be ventilation and light.  The obvious spiritual significance is that we wouldn't stand a chance without Jesus as our light and very breath. He is truly the light of the world. 

It is fun to see our Messiah freshly on the pages of scripture...even as our ark!


Image result for ark

Friday, February 13, 2015

7 Years {The Wilderness}

{We've been missing Kiley for seven long years.  But, we are also seven years closer to seeing her again.  The below is a brief excursion into my wilderness experience after losing her.
 God is enough.  He was on February 13, 2008 and he is on February 13, 2015.}
 



The cold February afternoon turned sharply bitter. In one single phone call, my entire world imploded as all my preconceived notions of life, God, and prayer fell outside onto the brittle grass only to be carried away by the howling wind.

My beautiful, Jesus loving, smart, and vivacious sister, Kiley, had died.

And it was all her choice.

The long drive to my parents’ house was pure torture. As my husband, Eric, and I watched the sun go down over the horizon, I wondered if it would ever come back up. I kept willing it to stay where it was as I silently uttered elementary Christian truths over and over like some mantra. God is light. God is good. God is sovereign. God is light. God is good. God is sovereign.

The sun went down anyway.

I didn’t know it then, but that was the day God was calling me out into the wilderness.

*******

In the sacred Word, the book we tenderly cradle as God’s words, we find the story of Joseph. It is with his story that we see the first mention of the word wilderness in the Bible. Joseph’s older brothers seethed with jealousy after their father, Jacob, robed him in that infamous and colorful handmade coat. Green was the only color they saw after Joseph later told them that they would all bow down to him. Joseph was young and inexperienced in handling grand visions, but he didn’t deserve what was coming.

Being obedient to his father, Joseph sets out to find his shepherding brothers and bring back a report of their wellbeing. They saw him from afar and conspired to kill him. Reuben alone intervened. “And Reuben said to them, Shed no blood; throw him into this pit here in the wilderness, but do not lay a hand on him”—that he might rescue him out of their hand to restore him to his father.” Genesis 37:22

When Reuben returns to the pit, he finds it empty. His brothers have sold him. They took the coat of many colors, now bleeding red with the blood of a goat and placed it in their father’s presence. Jacob could only assume the worst. For many anguishing years, he believed his beloved son had been devoured by a fierce animal.

Don’t miss it. Joseph was thrown into a pit in the wilderness.

The wilderness is where God calls us out and separates us from everything comfortable. It is a barren and dry land that has never been cultivated. It is an uninhabited land where God alone becomes our guide. In the wilderness, God starts to strip away all of our futile and false notions of who He is. It is in the wilderness that He begins to court our souls, eventually enticing us to crave Him more than anything else.

*******

The next several months after Kiley died produced more tears than the previous 30 years combined.  Every commercial, song, bible verse, food choice, and photograph became a trigger, spiraling me into depression and darkness.  I was doing the Texas two-step with the Master Choreographer.  Two steps forward in faith and one giant step back in doubt. 

God could have easily prevented Kiley from such a destructive act.  I would beat my hands against his divine chest in raw anger as I questioned what he had allowed that day.  It wasn’t his power that I doubted but his goodness.  What was this so-called merciful God up to now that we were waist deep in rubble?

I would try to sleep at night but get so hysterical that I couldn’t breathe.  Eric would get a hold of me and settle me back down.  I was a wave, tossed by the cruel half lies that the enemy shouted into my weary frame. To say that I was disappointed with God would have been an understatement.

The Lord of the Universe had stripped me bare.  God didn’t want my proud and lofty understanding of His Word or my spiritual gifts and service.  He wanted my heart and He would patiently stay by my side until I learned to rest against his steady heartbeat. He needed my trust.

It was during this rock bottom time that God started to reveal Himself in fresh and beautiful ways.

The Father had brought me out into the wilderness so he could speak comfortably to my heart.   We were in a barren land free from all the distractions of the world.  I was in a place where I could care less about anything but what He might whisper into the recesses of my shattered heart.  I needed to hear from him, even if he would never give me the reason behind allowing my sister to go through with that fateful and devastating choice.


Through the anguishing months and years, as the tears fell, God gracefully collected each one and placed them in a special bottle.

 “You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle.  Are they not in your book?  Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call.  This I know, that God is for me.”
 Psalm 56:8-9 ESV



Here was a God who had mysteriously let one daughter follow through on an unwise choice while storing the precious tears of another daughter in His bottle.  He wasn’t aloof.  He wasn’t cruel.  Somehow, he was merciful to Kiley that day in allowing her to go home.  He was also merciful to those left behind, revealing His tender heart that cared about each excruciating ache.

*******

Joseph wasn't left in the pit for long, but his wilderness experience continued.  His brothers sold him to Ishmaelite slave traders for mere shekels.  The favorite son was now the slave.  Joseph was sold again to Potiphar, in Egypt.  While here, he was falsely accused of rape, imprisoned, and forgotten.  If my math is right, his wilderness experience is 13 years.  During each hard period of time, the Word tells us that the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love.  The wilderness experience provided a time for Joseph to know his God and trust, despite the cruel circumstances.

Joseph's wilderness experience was not wasted.  Instead, it was God's pathway to saving the family that would eventually usher forth the Messiah. In a sense, this man's wilderness experience paved the way for you and I to be set free from sin.


*******

I was in the wilderness for three whole years.  Over the course of those long days, I slowly and gradually learned more about the Father's affection towards not just me, but Kiley.  Who is this King of Glory that creates countless universes yet builds his Temple inside my mere human form? Who is this Holy Father that not only forgives the unthinkable but runs to embrace and welcome home?  I can't grasp the depth of such a Being and yet He is pleased with my simple worship.  I feel like I am my two year old babbling my own beginnings of a language that He is the master of. He urges me on, His vocabulary always pointing to words like grace and love. Chesed and Ahava.

My fear in writing about my beloved Savior is that I won't get Him right.  He means so much in the recesses of my heart but I can't always express him adequately on paper.  He is so much more than the written word.  He is breath after the storm has sucked out all the bone marrow.  He is nourishment when the food just won't go down.  He is energy coursing through weary legs, allowing one foot to be placed in front of the other.

I don't know what kind of pit you have been thrown into.   Allow this enticing God to take your hand and gently lead you into the wilderness where he will woo you away from cheap imitations of love that will never satisfy.

God will go to beautiful and extravagant lengths so that you will behold him as Husband and not just Lord. See the wilderness as mercy and a chance to see Him fresh. It is in the wilderness where you will learn to hear and trust His voice even when nothing else makes sense.  Your wilderness will not be wasted.  I promise one thing:  HE is worth it.

"Therefore, behold,
I will allure her,
 and bring her into the wilderness,
 and speak tenderly to her."
Hosea 2:14