Faith in the Desert: Lessons Learned in my First Year Here–REFINER’S FIRE

I wrote this during my first year here…it was such a tough year!  So many nights with Brian being gone, constant sicknesses, so many things kept happening to and with our family, so much testing and refining…so many trials..and all in a remote place in the desert…the most isolating place I’ve ever lived.  GOD BROUGHT SO MUCH FRUIT IN ALL THIS!!!!  I really cannot believe everything that happened…and how much God taught us through it all.  It was intense.  It was constant.  It was the REFINER’S FIRE.  This second year has been SO different.  I am so thankful for the lessons learned and am so thankful for the place God has brought us to now before our time ends here in the desert.

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I have learned so much about having Faith here in the desert…and as I was laying in bed last night, so many lessons crossed my mind…I want to capture them here so I can REMEMBER what God has taught me…in a particularly challenging season of my life–a winter season…a waiting season:

* I cannot do anything to ‘get’ myself out of a difficult season…or to make is shorter (no matter how hard I try)…but I can make prudent decisions and obey the Lord…pray to pass His tests…and know that this season WILL end (if it is in His sovereign will, He might have compassion and make it shorter…I don’t know!!).

* Learn what I need to stay refreshed and encouraged in the Lord (and do it!).

* Do whatever it takes to be fed and stay CONNECTED to the Lord and to the Body of Believers.

* If in darkness, “BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD”: do not talk about the darkness to other believers, do not read about it, just wait patiently and be still so I can hear what God is saying to me.

* I must “walk in the light” by being obedient to the Lord.

* If I am not sure what God is saying to me, and am in ‘flip flop’ mode, I must seek, pray, and then make a committment, God does not want me to have one foot on either side of the line in the process of trying to figure out what His will is for me concerning something.  He wants me to seek Him with an earnest and pure heart, and pray and step forward, come what may, until He powerfully speaks.  He will close doors if I have misheard Him.

* Waiting is one of the most difficult things God has for me to do….but it produces MUCH fruit…if I am obedient and patient to WAIT.

* God does all the hard work for me, so my burden can be light–He works in people’s hearts to change them (I need not worry about that), He transforms hearts (I just need to respond in the moment how He wants me to), He is my and everyone else’s counselor (that isn’t my role)…my job is to LOVE OTHERS, and to trust Him and obey what He has told me in His Word.

* God wants me to be a quiet witness and to lead a quiet life of service and love to others.

* God is the God of Social Grace.  He will lead me in a conversation so I need not feel any anxiety.

* I should not have any agenda in mind…except that which He puts on my heart.  I live for HIM and His purpose and Kingdom.

* My expectation is in HIM–not anyone or anything else.  He is my EVERYTHING and will come through for me.

* His power is made perfect in my weakness.

* When I am weak, others are strong, and I get to see God work through and in them.  And this is so beautiful.  God’s purposes cannot be thwarted…so I need not worry or feel guilty when I fail…my service is motivated out of LOVE for Him.  He’s not disappointed in me…He just wants me to lean on others during that time.

* God’s calling is about HIM, not me, and His nature…and we cannot miss His calling…He will find us (Jonah) :-)   We just have to have willing hearts (Here I am, send me! -Isaiah).  The way we serve is about how we were designed (our personalities :-) ).

* Drawing any attention to myself is taking it from the Lord.  I can learn SO much more with a gentle and quiet spirit.

* My husband thrives when I give him unconditional respect…despite the circumstance…it fills him up to be the man God designed him to be.  That is the greatest thing I can do to help him seek the Lord—to set a quiet example…give him gentle advice/guidance…and to give him my respect and love no matter what happens.  It is a choice ;-)

* My son ONLY responds to a most gentle and loving tone of voice and guidance (with LOTS of explanation behind it when time permits…) (pleasant words promote instruction :-) )

* I have to be so still and attentive to be attuned to my daughter’s needs.

* I must not let anything but the Spirit of God move me….to respond…but not REACT.

* God expects me to be grounded in Him…and to have the joy of my salvation…but not to always be brimming full of joy and confidence.

* God is most glorified in my humility.  I must make it about Him…my life is not my own…it is His to be used by and for Him.

* Make a joyful noise and sing a new song to Him as often as possible!

* Read the Word and pray everyday….but only if my heart AND mind are engaged.

* Teaching God’s Word to others is a calling God places on our hearts…and brings to fruition through others…if He doesn’t do this, it isn’t the time to teach.

* God always places the calling for me to teach and disciple my sweet children :-)

* God will MAKE me a light to others…I need not ‘try’ to be a light.

* A life most glorifying to God is one most satisfied in Him.

* Trusting God with all the concerns on my heart allows me to focus on LOVING others at any particular moment.

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