He changes rivers into deserts, and springs of water into dry, thirsty land.
Psalm 107:33 New Living Translation (NLT)
Years ago, I used to sing a lot of karaoke…like every night. Of course, years ago, I also drank like a fish and acted like an idiot most of the time, but that’s beside the point. As I was saying, I used to sing a lot of karaoke. One of the songs I sang was a country song by Jamie O’Neal called, “There is No Arizona.” This song was one of my favorites because I had lived such a closed off little life that I often felt like the promises that God had for me must have been a lot like that painted desert that Jamie talked about in the song. Oddly, this past week I found myself traveling for the first time in years and as luck would have it (luck really had nothing to do with it), I ended up going to Scottsdale, Arizona for a week for a conference. The whole experience gave me a lot of time to think about the last ten or fifteen years of my life and how God puts the pieces of the puzzle together in His timing, not ours. And with all of the firsts I experienced during this trip; my first time flying out west, my first time catching a connecting flight, my first time being away from my daughter for more than a few days, my first time spending so much time alone away from all of my family and friends, etc.), one of the most important firsts I experienced was that for the first time in many years, I realized that I’m going to be okay. And that in this particular case, the grass is truly greener at home.
Over the last fifteen years, I’ve been many things to many people. I’ve been a wife, a mother, a sister, an aunt, a friend (though not always a good one), a shoulder to cry on, a lover, and an enemy…sometimes several of those roles intersected, but more often than not, I was running from place to place trying to figure out which hat I should wear into the next exchange. I’ve loved and lost, and then loved some more and lost a little more as well. Through it all, the one thing that remained constant was that God was there for me. He was ready to listen at all times. When I was terrified by the life I found myself living, I cried out to Him and He told me how to get out of it. When I figured out that what should have been a shelter was actually more like a prison, He gave me the key and opened the doors of my “cell” wide so that I could finally be free. When I was struggling to believe that He wanted anything to do with me and I tested His love for me time after time, He was waiting there for me with open arms. My God never left me. And He didn’t make me any promises that He hasn’t kept or isn’t in the process of keeping.
Life has been scary, it has been two steps forward and three steps back most of the time. I’ve had weeks when I wasn’t sure how I was going to buy groceries and then weeks like this one where on three separate occasions, I found myself sitting in a fancy restaurant enjoying a meal fit for a queen. “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows,” Psalm 23:5 NIV. My point is that one day you can be at the bottom of a pit and then, just like that, you can be sitting on top of the world. But you must trust Him. Whatever He is bringing you through is meant to be part of your testimony as to how wonderful and mighty He is. He loves you and He has written a wonderful story for you, not just a heartbreaking love song that leaves you feeling empty and hurt. Trust Him, He is not just something we hear about. God is real and alive and He’s on your side.