One of the most rewarding parts of my job is sharing the stories of others.
Often I come across incredible stories of people, women especially, and I’m inspired on so many levels to reach higher, do more, be more.
Over the years I’ve experienced the power of our stories. It’s no wonder that The Scriptures tell us that we overcome the enemy by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.
We must never be ashamed of what God saved us from.
Some things might remain between us and our Saviour. Others we may need to share- for they could be a life line to someone else.
Today I wanted to share with you a snippet of Jennifer Petit Maier’s story.
She’d shared with me what she’d found during her Scripture study of The Wilderness.
We all have wilderness moments. But as Jennifer writes, they should be just that: moments- not our entire existence.
by Jennifer Petit Maier
The Wilderness. A place I’ve spent much time in and come to know well.
Most of us have been in the wilderness at some point in our lives.
How we’ve experienced it, is as individual as we are- yet, one thing remains the same: No one leaves the wilderness unchanged.
I suffered from depression for many years.
I’d pitched my tent in the wilderness.
That in-between place had become my home.
Imagine the natural features of a desert… barren, harsh.
A spiritual wilderness is much the same.
It’s that place where surviving from day-to-day is a struggle.
That was me. I felt as though there wasn’t much life inside of me. And the little there was, I asked God to take away.
My thirst for love led me into abusive relationships.
My hunger for acceptance resulted in foolish decisions.
At times, the feelings of inadequacy, worthlessness and loneliness became too much to bear.
I would cry out to God to take me home to Him.
I can only say that I am alive today because that was not His will for me.
I learned that He had a plan, and I was, and still am, a part of it.
It was in the isolation of the wilderness that my heart was tested and revealed.
It was here I was forced to confront my fears.
Many times we’ve been in the wilderness for so long that we no longer recognize it for what it is.
The past hurt that landed us there is forgotten or buried.
Often confronting it can be very painful.
But God never intends for us to stay in the wilderness. And the only way out of it is through- He is the one who makes the way.
It was in the wilderness that my identity as a daughter of the Most High was secured.
There, my identity shifted from ‘I am a victim- I am depressed’, to ‘I am loved by God’.
It was in that place, where I had nothing but dirt, that revelation broke in and I realized that I needed nothing but the love of God.
God’s Love is the one thing that we have abundantly. Even more than the grains of sand.
Allowing this truth into my heart took time. But as I did my wilderness slowly became a place of growth and new possibilities.
I’d resisted the love of God for years, mostly because of my feelings of unworthiness.
But He loves me so much that He pursued me relentlessly.
In my solitude I was not abandoned.
God is not standing on the edge of the wilderness beckoning us; instead He walks through it with us.
He was the One who held my heart together as I learned to forgive those who’d broken it.
And so… I packed up my tent.
As God transformed my heart and mind I knew I was now an alien in the wilderness.
It was hard to leave because the wilderness had become strangely comfortable.
But I could not deny that I’d been transformed- And…
this barren, harsh, place was no longer my home.
Sometimes, I still find myself going back to the wilderness- but only as a visitor, not as a resident.
When I find myself feeling lonely or unlovely, I know there is something in me that the Father wants me to confront. And it is in this place, the wilderness, that only He can reveal the truth that heals me.
In the wilderness there is now a river of hope.