The house is back to it’s normal form after a day of packing up the Christmas decorations. We survived Christmas and another year. It was rough and many times I was not sure if we would survive. As some might know, my husband and I are going through a difficult time, not difficult in our marriage but rather difficult in life, a desert.
When preparing for Christmas, we hung three stockings this year. Unsure if we should have hung the 3rd stocking, Ryan convinced me that it was the right thing to do. We hung it with hope and rememberance. Remembering the prior year when the 3rd stocking was new to the family and filled with toys & joy. This year, the stocking stayed in it’s spot empty being a symbol of hope that it will be filled once again.
This past year we learned how to be better tight rope walkers. Walking a thin line between hope and reality. When the line separated we had to learn a new way to live. Not knowing how to communicate exactly what we were experiencing, I fumbled through the days in a maze of feelings. I teetered on the edge of despair to find myself in fits of determination while all leading to nothing, silence. I would try to stay busy but would find myself in his room looking through photobooks. Anaylzing every picture and moment we had. I hung on to verses such as Jeremiah 29.11 “For I know the plans I have for you, delcares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” And Romans 8.28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Logically, I could not wrap my mind around how any of this was being worked for the “good”.
I prayed for good to come from the pain. I prayed until tears came forward. I found myself waking at 5:30 in the morning praying for the kid to come into our room having difficulty sleeping. Knowing he was no where near by, I prayed for him knowing he was awake far away. Silence made my hope seem fainter. People communicated reality and I cried, wanting to make the hope stronger. I screamed in my silent house until I cried uncontrollably. Forcing myself to leave the house in order to gain composure since I am not able to cry in public. Silence continued for months and I prayed.
Searching for understanding, I came across a diagram in a book that I was reading with a small group of friends, A Praying Life by Paul E Miller. The diagram shows a line for reality and a line for hope through time. The two lines start together but eventually separate. The reality line stays parallel to time while hope grows on a curve. The grey space created in between reality and hope is titled “desert”. It is the life between living in reality and living in hope. Miller goes on to describe how we try to close the gap between reality and hope since living in the desert is difficult. In following chapters he reminds the reader how often God leads his people to the desert in hopes for them to turn to Him fully.
I don’t know how our current desert will end. So I pray and cling even more to His word. I surround myself with truth that He is a good father and I am one of His beloved.
“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.” Jeremiah 29.12-14
“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be cosntant in prayer.” Romans 12.12
It seems that our current desert is going to last longer than we orginally hoped. Even when the time comes, this will not be our only desert living. There will be new deserts, new realities unwanted and new hopes desired. This has not been the first and it will not be the last. So far it has been the hardest. So I cling to the cross praying for Christ to come and wipe away all of our tears. Until then, I am finding comfort in the desert knowing He is with me, Ryan and Z.