Resisting the wilderness

bones desertI think I’m back.

Huge life and family transitions sucked months and months of my life away; adding the Advent, Christmas, and New Year seasons on top practically turned me into a hermit. I feel like I woke up a few weeks ago, blinking my eyes into the sudden brightness, and marveled that there was a world around me.

Hi.

When I celebrated my 33rd birthday last May, a few of my friends jokingly warned me that in *his* 33rd year, Jesus died and was reborn, and so to watch out. I kind of want to find those people and wag my fingers at them for their unintended prophetic words. Sorrow, grief, pain, anger, shame, challenge, and tentative hope have marked my days these last few months. It’s felt like death, and waiting for new birth. I’ve done a lot of personal work and growth, processing all that. I really really want to be ready for rebirth.

And so maybe that’s why I found myself entering Lent kicking and screaming. What do you mean it’s time to spend time in the wilderness? I’ve just come from there! You want me to pause and reflect, draw closer to God and to my center? Empty myself and die a little to be reborn? Ponder being and having nothing? Been there. If they made t-shirts for that, I’d be selling them. I’m done, right? I get a pass this year, yes?

ash wedIt seems I don’t.

Instead, I find myself reflecting on ashes, how they represent complete death, nothing left, scattered and blow away. Only then, only then, can God create anew. Without total death, there is no resurrection.

I’m impatient. I want to be done. My Advent felt like Lent– a time of death and darkness and sorrow– I want to await with hope and expectation. But it seems the calendar is telling me not yet. Linger longer here. Push deeper into the desert sands of wilderness. Plumb the depths of your own brokenness and need for rebirth. Take this time, not to wallow, but to deeply experience, the complete death, complete surrender, complete journey into the darkness and wilderness. And then see, see what new life might emerge and arise from the ashes.

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11 Responses

  1. thank you…

  2. Dearest Becca
    The depth of your personal pain is leading you towards insights and growth that your “friends” cannot imagine. As we in hospice care tell our grieving families, the only way through grief is through the middle. It can’t be rationalized, sugar-coated, or avoided. You have clearly made long strides in healing, and are beginning to see some relief. Blessings on you in your faith journey. God is with us in all things, especially in the ashes. Your Michigan friends have kept you close in prayer.

    • Thank you both so much for your prayers, and as always for your kind and deeply supportive comments. Blessings.
      Becca

  3. Your comments are uplifting, even in the midst of your own sorrow. It is never easy or fun to embrace the wilderness, cover yourself in ashes, or lead a congregation when you are yourself distracted by personal loss. Keep going, Becca. You are on the right track. Much admiration from the wintry shores of Michigan

  4. Becca: Yes, the wilderness can be tough. I hope that unlike me, you make it through the wilderness with your faith in God intact. Blessings to you on your life journey.

    • Thank you Gary. I hear and resonate with the pain in your comment. Many times, the wilderness has been a place that’s shaken my faith. This time, I think it’s strengthened it so far. But then again, I’m not out yet!

      Deep peace,
      Becca

      • I am pleased to report that from my wilderness experience that my viewpoint on God has changed, and that with this my faith in a loving God is reborn.

        • Gary, that is such good news and such powerful testimony. Grace and peace on the journey.

          Becca

  5. Appreciating the time and effort you put into your site and detailed
    information you present. It’s nice to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same unwanted rehashed
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