Monday, September 19, 2016

Grace in the (Midwest) Wilderness

Bare heights of loneliness...a wilderness whose burning winds sweep over glowing sands, what are they to HIM? Even there He can refresh us, even there He can renew us.
Amy Carmichael

I moved here last Fall with a heavy heart and with hope in a Sovereign, loving Father who was directing my steps. 

My Presence shall go with you and I will give you rest. (Exodus 33:14)

I moved here just as the corn was ripening and the earth was growing brown and as the first splendor of Autumn was descending like a harvest angel over the vast, glorious landscape. 

I moved here in fear and trembling, an abundance of tissues beside me, not knowing when I would see my beloved family again. 

Just as the corn was growing ripe.

I moved here with a promise--

My Presence will go with you and I will give you rest . . .

And with the words of the missionary David Livingstone etched on my raw, bleeding heart--

God, send me anywhere, only go with me. Lay any burden on me, only sustain me. And sever any tie in my heart except the tie that binds my heart to Yours.

The Lord sent me here. 

Here with my two little ones and with my husband, here to do what He had called us to do so long ago, here through the pain to follow Him. 

Because I love Him more . . . because of His grace. And with trembling hands I have held out the sacrifice and then grasped it back and then held out trembling hands again-

If we hold tightly to anything given to us unwilling to allow it to be used as the Giver means it to be used we stunt the growth of the soul. What God gives us is not necessarily "ours" but only ours to offer back to him, ours to relinquish, ours to lose, ours to let go of, if we want to be our true selves. Many deaths must go into reaching our maturity in Christ, many letting goes. 
~Elisabeth Elliot

For Him to take and to give life.

In November, I inwardly shuddered when it snowed before Thanksgiving, when the cold crept in like the night overtaking the sweet glory of day. I wondered what the winter would be like.

Here. Alone. Without even a car for most of the week as my husband and I were sharing a vehicle. 

In a cold, drafty house, with two very little ones--would I make it? Could I do it? 

I couldn't. But He could through me. And I learned that 

. . . to be left alone is not always to be forsaken."
~George MacDonald

There was a breakthrough for me at one point as I struggled to find joy amidst ashes. 

One morning, a bleak, overcast December morning, this Scripture came to me with strength and power and hope as I prayed to the Lord for strength--like a spiritual whisper to my heart--

The joy of the Lord is my strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)

The joy of the Lord is my strength . . . hope, refreshment, life--as the Lord placed into my aching open hands the promise of His strength.

Joy with my children . . . joy with my husband . . . joy in Him . . . 

In Him, in Him. 

Grace in the wilderness. Where everything seemed barren and bleak--a wasteland where the reaped corn looked like jagged teeth standing crookedly from the snow. 


And one of the highlights of that year was attending the Christmas service at the church where the Lord mercifully directed us--singing the hymns, listening to the Gospel preached powerfully and with a pleading for souls, enjoying the sincere love and fellowship of other believers . . . 

My heart was filled with grace.

Grace through brokenness, grace through loneliness, grace through pain,

Grace in the wilderness because-

“Of one thing I am perfectly sure: God's story never ends with 'ashes.” 
~Elisabeth Elliot

And it hasn't. 

You might find me on these link-ups:

Strangers and Pilgrims on EarthInspire Me MondayLiteracy Musing MondaysThe Modest MomWhat Joy is Mine, A Mama's Story, Mom's the Word, Rich Faith Rising, Cornerstone Confessions, Mom's Morning Coffee, Raising Homemakers, Classical HomemakingA Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Woman to Woman Ministries,  Testimony TuesdayTell His Story, Women With Intention WednesdaysMessy Marriage,  Graced Simplicity, Children Are A Blessing, Imparting Grace, Thought Provoking ThursdaySoul SurvivalGood Morning MondaysThe Weekend BrewCounting My BlessingsThe HomeAcre Hop, Mommy Moments Link UpGrace and Truth LinkupFaith Filled FridayTell It To Me TuesdaysSHINE Blog HopA Little R&R WednesdaysTGI Saturdays Blog HopRaRaLinkupWord of God SpeakBooknificent ThursdayLiving Proverbs 31Sharing His Beauty Blog LinkupCoffee For Your Heart Weekly LinkUpYou're the Star Blog HopHomesteader HopFresh Market Friday


  1. Beautiful, Rebekah! I've been "alone, but not forsaken" in a wilderness at periods in my life too. It can be a time of tremendous blessing in growing nearer to the Lord. Thanks for sharing poignantly and giving so many quote and scripture references to strengthen the heart!

  2. Bekki, This post is so poignantly beautiful!

    I read it, clinging to every word, feeling your surroundings, your pain, your Joy, your Grace...

    Praising God for the lessons He has taught you during this past year, lessons that you so humbly share with your readers for our benefit and His Glory.

    Rejoicing with you in how He is blessings you with the desires of your heart in this new upcoming season of joy.

    Miss you Bekki!

    With much love in the Lord,

  3. Beautiful, Rebekah! Thanks for sharing this lushly written story of God's faithfulness. Not sure what part of the Midwest He has brought you to, but I pray He will continue to speak sweetly to you heart. I am an Ohio Midwesterner. Happy to be your neighbor today at #RahRahLinkup.

  4. Beautiful indeed. Your blog resonates with my soul. The words of this move, the memories of feeling alone but then knowing you aren't. All of it. I am so glad I found your blog at Holley's place. Blessings!

  5. Those leaps of faith sometimes take many steps of faithfulness to bear fruit. It sounds like you are there. May God bless your journey with much joy along the way!

  6. This whole post reads like poetry. It's just beautiful. It reminds me of a trip my new husband and I made 25 years ago as we headed into the deserts of the southwestern US, leaving our family and all we knew behind us. I'm thankful to be back here with family now but I'll always be thankful for what those years taught us. I wish I had spent less time fretting over being homesick and more time realizing the opportunity God had given us. Relish in these times . . .

  7. I have been where you are! My husband and I share a car and live the midwest... It can be challenging with young children to get out and feel connected to others. Here are some verses that came to mind as I read your post and may encourage you or others: For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it (Mark 8:35), The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18), But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9) & Not only so, but wec also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-5) Memorizing and praying Scripture throughout the day has made all the difference when I face trials. Blessings to you!

  8. Just an hour ago, I broke down. I broke down because my life has changed so drastically and I'm trying so hard to hear God's direction. A ministry that hasn't fully revealed itself; an Etsy shop for income that isn't quite taking off so well; a life completely different than it was 2 years ago...I feel lost suddenly. I'm doing what God called me to do, but suddenly, just today, feel lost. And then He directed me here. And I feel better. Not completely, but better. Thank you. :)

  9. Thank you for sharing and so glad I stopped by from #GraceandTruth. I've experienced that deep aloneness - the feeling all I knew was over or a dream unfulfilled, again. And have also found the only comfort is to dive deep into God and His Word. He fills up the empty places like nothing else can do.

  10. Thanks for sharing, Rebekah! Praise the Lord for how sufficient His wonderful grace is!!

  11. It's so good to know that God doesn't lead you to a place and then leave you. His Presence goes before you, and His Presence stays there with you. He is the Beauty in the wilderness; He is the Beauty in the ashes.

  12. This is so powerful and filled with beauty through your words and of those who have gone before. I am facing a probable move next year with my husband to a place I do not know. I am eating up these words and will journal them as they are filled with strength and courage in the midst of unknown times. Thank you, thank you.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

  13. Beautiful post. God is so faithful and is always there with us. Thank you for sharing your post on Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop, as one of the co-hots I will be sharing your post on my blog tomorrow!
    - Nancy (Nancy On The Home Front)

  14. I am facing an unwanted move at the end of October so I very much appreciated your words and especially the quotes you shared. Thanks for linking up this week at Booknificent Thursday on! Great to have you!

  15. God never fails us, does He? Lovely post, and delighted to be featured at the same time over at Counting My Blessings. Nice to meet you, Rebekah!