If you’re coming back after yesterday’s depress-fest to make sure that I didn’t land at the bottom of the crevasse in a poof of dust, I thank you. Your encouragement yesterday was refreshing water that made a little twig grow in the side of the canyon wall and I caught it on the way down. You can find me today hanging back on the ledge as usual.
My fingers feel strong.
My language is still a little strong, too, and I am once again amazed at my mother and grateful that she didn’t make me wash my mouth out with soap after I had a nice long talk with her on the phone yesterday. She amazes me, my mother. I love the way she listens well, speaks truth plainly, and how she encourages me to put on my big girl britches in a way that isn’t insulting, but in a way that gives perspective to see that new developments are a turn in the road of the journey to which my God has called me.
The truth is, God has called me to journey in the desert. I thought He had called me to the desert ten years ago with a life-altering diagnosis of disability in a child. But when I think about the whole of my life and the situations in which He has placed me, the desert has been a constant. He called my family away from our tribe in Texas to go to Guatemala and minister to people who were not our people. He had me live away from my family to live in a boarding school for the majority of my growing up years. In college, He told me to leave my comfort zone and move to another state. After graduate school, He told me to leave everyone I knew and move to the East Coast. After my babies were born, He directed us to leave everyone we knew and move to North Carolina.
Do you see a pattern?
I sure do.
I see a lifetime of moving away from the familiar and into the unknown. Every place I’ve moved to, I’ve moved alone (with the exception of college and that was because of a boy, and THERE’s a story for you that’ll have to wait for another day), and every time I’ve moved into the unfamiliar, there’s been that time of adjustment, of questioning, of unsurety (which may or may not be a word) and instability.
But the one constant?
My travel companion.
There are times that I’ve wondered where He is, but I think I’ve been looking in the wrong direction. I’ve been looking at the horizon for a scrap of green, for the tell-tale sign that I’m leaving the desert and that “better” times are ahead. I’ve looked to each side to see if companions are there or if marauders are coming. I’ve looked up and all I’ve seen is the relentless sun.
But this morning? This morning at 3:45 when I was up getting two giggling boys back to bed and confiscating flashlights, I ran through some of the thoughts that arrived in my comments section and email in-box and realized something.
I realized that I had forgotten my camel.
I spent some time this morning reading up on camels. Did you know that entire tribes to this day continue to survive on camels? That camels provide milk, meat, transportation, wool, leather, and that you can even use the hair to make materials for a yurt? It was not a stretch for me to think of my Jesus who carries me to the place He has called me, who gives me milk, who feeds me, who clothes me, who shelters me, and most importantly, who bears my burdens.
I am not alone in this desert. He gives me oases for rest, He gives me “well moments” like yesterday and Sunday mornings with my class at church to refresh my spirit in the company of friends. He takes away the distractions of scenery to remind me to commune with him.
My constant and faithful companion.
Deserts don’t have to be scary places.
Besides, I’ve always looked good in camel.
Have a nice day.