My tea is hot, steaming in the cup set on an old apple crate beside my armchair. Soft piano music drifts out of my kids’ room, where they’re cozy asleep in bunkbeds and a crib. Crickets are chirping outside, and the trees in the yard rustle in a breeze. The setting perfect, I open the laptop and stare at the screen, blank and bright. The cursor blinks as if expecting a next move, and I know I’m letting it down because I have no next move. I’m totally empty, utterly spent, not a word to be found in my brain or heart or fingers.
But the cursor doesn’t know that, and demands to march on. I half-heartedly clack away at the keys, flailing wildly for any thought that might make sense outside of my own head. I am sure none of them do. This heart that has always penned its feelings is dry, chalkboard dust all that remains of words. There’s been no great catastrophe, nothing life-altering to make my heart shrivel. I’m simply weary with the daily, the diapers and too-fast days and spilled juice, meetings and deadlines and full squares on the calendar.
There’s no room to just be, and I am drying up.
A desert season of the heart is scary to a writer, a leader, a mom, a friend. How am I supposed to teach my children, write blog posts, lead a devotion in my MOPS group, help a friend, if I am running on fumes myself? A re-fueling of my heart seems impossible because there’s no time to go sit in a quiet sanctuary, swing my feet off a dock at a lake, or bask in a field of wildflowers. A perfect setting is fleeting, and this is real life, people. Real life is messy and full of blinking cursors. Real life is loud, and sometimes I’m afraid that if I stop and be still, that underneath the chatter there won’t be anything worth saying.
I forget that He calls us to stillness, to a deep sense of calm. That He speaks most clearly when I am most quiet. That even in my desert, He sparkles.
When we are most dried up, He is able to do some of His finest work.
For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
Those verses make me shiver with anticipation. Real life forces us to be still and know, despite the dusty way we may feel. Our hearts may be covered in a thick coating of dust. We may be scared – to speak, to write, to be still… We may not see the new works, the new pathways, the rivers flowing. We may see nothing but wasteland, from horizon to horizon of our lives.
But even then, He is at work creating.
In us and for us, He is working. And in spite of the blinking cursor and volume of our real life noise, we can be still and know that to be truth.
Tell me – in what ways is God creating new pathways in your life?
Do you see the ‘something new’ He is working on for you?
Michele Morin says
I come back time and time again to the words in Psalm 119 that call me back to truth: “Open my eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of Your Law.” So often has used His own Words to help me find those “rivers in the dry wasteland.” And it’s so helpful to read about others who also have struggled with the judgmental eye of their blinking cursor.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I am somewhat embarrassed to admit this, but God has literally had to sideline me on several occasions to get me to really grasp the importance of being in His Word. I am like that deer panting for the water and the water is right in front of me, yet I press on looking for some other source to fill me up. This latest surgery has forced me to be still…I simply had no choice. God knew I was dry and He knew I was at the end of myself. I really began (yet again) diving into His Word and oh the quenching of my soul. Each morning I woke up with anticipation of what He was going to teach me that day. Then, what joy, having time to really meditate on it and pray. Life is beginning to get back to “normal” and I have to say I miss the long sessions the Lord and I had together. Now, though I don’t have nearly the time that I did, I can’t wait to read His Word – it’s not an obligation to be checked off my to do list. I believe sometimes He allows us the dry seasons so that we will fall in love with Him all over again. Praying for you in this hurried season of life that you may find time to be in His life giving Word and presence.
Beth Coulton says
I love this Bev- I can relate wholeheartedly. Glad you are feeling better, but I understand what you are saying about missing those extended times of closeness with Him because you had the “luxury” of time while you were healing. I too am back to my long work days and squeezed in evening hours now that I’m back to work full time – and have been for a few months – after my surgery, and I miss the slower pace I had when I was home more, even tho recovery was not fun. But still, the time was there, and it was wonderful. Praying we both get those minutes to dwell in Him and His word no matter our schedule.
Beth Williams says
Beth & Bev,
Praying for you both. May God quiet your souls and give you some peaceful time to get in His word. Glad you are both healed or healing nicely. Praying that life will slow down to give you the quiet time you need.
Pearl Allard says
Anna, I needed this today. Thank you so much. I’ve never thought of Jesus being the “sparkle” in my desert. 🙂 Just love that. Just had the thought, too — maybe being in a dusty desert, dust being the material from which we were formed, forces me to see that the dust, everything “of me”, just doesn’t cut it. I really, desperately need His sparkle. Thanks, again, Anna.
I thank God so much for you, Anna, for your honesty & the words you managed to write. It was exactly what I was feeling today. It was like God was saying ‘See, it’s not just you – so many are struggling, but not daring to admit it, because they are ‘Christians’ & everything is ‘fine’. What does ‘fine’ mean anyway? I thank God, that He is the Faithful One & will not leave us in the desert, but will provide rivers of life giving water & guides, like yourself & the others on this website, to show the way, back to his Word & His presence.
May God bless you all, for the work you do for Him.
Oh yes I see how God is working! SO much is becoming “New” in my life.
One child going back to college in Seattle in September. The other going off to prep school in Maine in August. And we live in Connecticut!
Told my significant other I need a calmer more nurturing relationship than we crafted together.
Two months ago I started a new career after 18 years as a Stay at Home Mom.
Things are in motion, nothing is settled, all will be different. Sometimes I’m scared, sometimes I’m lonely, but these feelings represent the dryness God needs in me in order to do his work.
I’m full of faith God’s got this.
Janie McReynolds says
Thank you Anna for your transparency. Each of us have those times and I personally have them more often then I like to admit. I am always confused as to why, knowing the God that has performed miracle after miracle in my own life. I love that His mercy and grace are never-ending. I love that He gets me, He is there just waiting for me to slow enough to look up and to call to Him. Thank you again for sharing! 🙂
I am still reading your words and in Gods grace am filled. Thank you for your words of reminder and thank God for the tender patience to be still. Gods blessings
Beth Coulton says
This is perfect for me, today (isn’t it amazing how God does that?) I am having a rare day off due to a slight illness that, fortunately, is getting better rapidly as the day goes on. Oh how I needed this day – I work long, full time days and have nice but busy weekends, but I long for that field of wildflowers sitting time, or putting my feet up on the stool and just thinking, planning, dreaming…. I never seem to have time to do that anymore. It’s 5 minutes here or 5 minutes there, and I miss long stretches of companion-walking with Him. I know beyond a doubt that He provided this day for me- I felt just bad enough when I woke up that I thought “there’s no way I’m going into work”, but He has promoted healing to where I can enjoy these hours home alone in the quiet, and I can sit with Him while He restores my soul for a bit. Tomorrow the pace will pick back up again and I’ll be off to the races, but perhaps today He’ll have the chance to start a new foundation that can be built on moving forward.
Darlene Frybarger says
8 months ago I fell, ruptured a disc and 5 months ago finally had back surgery. Then I found I have arthritis in my knee and hip. I still have about 6 months of recovery from back surgery, and still trying out treatments for my arthritis. I’ve been in a hurry to get well until recently. God finally spoke to my heart and helped me slow down and spend the time learning more about Him. I’m learning so much and feel so Blessed! And reading this post is another learning leap!
Cheri Johnson says
I must say, Anna, that you have the ability to form beautiful words out of you dusty moments. Or is it God who does that through you? I’m so glad He is faithful at all times. Thank you for the reminder.
Rhona Riley says
This morning I got up full of life, greeted my coworkers with such joy and happiness and about an hour ago I got some news and the joy and happiness that was present just disappeared. I am happy that I came across post because I forget a lot of the times that I must remain still and know that my Heavenly Father is present and will take care is my every need.
Thank you. Very timely word for me. I do find Him in the quiet. Blessings on you and your family.
Rebecca L Jones says
I din;t have the problem of having nothing to say. I used to spend long hours hoping I was doing the right thing and letting the writer dry up now as Iet the real me come back to life, I let other things go. God gives us all gifts and we must use them and even some we didn’t know we had.
Suanna Sears says
Thanks for the reminder that even though life is busy, sometimes it is important to slow down, too.
I like the new look of the website, I found the old one hard to navigate when I only had a few minutes to look for something incouraging.
I understand, Anna. ((Hug)) How blessed we are that He’s still at work, even when we’re at rest. Love that verse…He’s “already begun” even as we’re spent and unaware. ((xoxo))
Wendy Kea says
Thank you Anna for this post today. It’s been a wonderful reminder to enjoy the down time in my life. You see, I had been a member of my church for 18 years. I was the missions director, ran a bible study, Youth group leader and the church employed me. I had a full wonderful life with purpose. I put my all into my church. Then around mother’s day, the church had a split and it got really nasty. I sought the Lord on which way to go, but I couldn’t here His still small voice. I prayed and prayed but still no answers. But God doesn’t always speak to us in a small still voice but instead in circumstances. All the doors closed around me and I lost my job, my iministries and my church home and I needed new it was time to find a new church home.
Wendy Kean says
Thank you Anna for this post today. It’s been a wonderful reminder to enjoy the down time in my life. You see, I had been a member of my church for 18 years. I was the missions director, ran a bible study, Youth group leader and the church employed me. I had a full wonderful life with purpose. I put my all into my church. Then around mother’s day, the church had a split and it got really nasty. I sought the Lord on which way to go, but I couldn’t here His still small voice. I prayed and prayed but still no answers. But God doesn’t always speak to us in a small still voice but instead in circumstances. All the doors closed around me and I lost my job, my ministries and my church home. I was devastated, hurt, and in mourning at the loss of my church home. That’s when I started my journey to find a new home. So that next Sunday I decided to go to a new church near by that seemed like a good fit. I pulled up and began to cry. It was home but I mustered the courage to go instead and the Lord almighty met me there. I cried through the whole service but that’s where the healing began. I didn’t stay at that church but did find a wonderful church home eventually. What I’ve come to realized that I had been putting to much into my works and I had lost my first love. When it all fell apart I became depressed because all myself worth was wrapped up in my works and now here I was with to much time on my hands and I didn’t know what to do with myself. I felt because I wasn’t working at something my life didn’t matter. It has been a really tough time for me but I’ve learned a lot. I’m learning to enjoy the quiet times with the Lord, I’m learning to let go of what the world says is successful and I’m learning my self worth isn’t tied to my accomplishments but rather in who God says I am. So thank you for reminding me once again to savor these precious days I have with the Lord.
Grace Hejnal says
I needed this today. I just found this site a little bit ago. And yesterday, on a conference call, I was laid off from my job. I don’t know what God is doing. My husband is on medical leave, so we are already budgeted to the thinnest possible. I know I have dreams, and I have skills and abilities. And the enemy knows my fears and is trying so hard to remind me that I have nothing in sight. But thankfully, you reminded me of that passage in Isaiah, where the Lord is aware! I picture Him running alongside me as I am frantically typing in web addresses and trying to reword my resume…He’s trying to slow me down to say, “It’s coming! Don’t you see!?!” The truth is that I don’t. I am scared. If the world accepted joy in exchange for a mortgage payment, we’d be home free! But instead, I know My Father, and I know His goodness and mercy, and His amazing knack of being able to send hope in the form of words on a computer screen from a complete stranger, but sister in Him whose journey is weary in other ways. Thank you. He’s been asking me for a year if I trust Him. And I guess it’s time to put it to action.
Nancy Ruegg says
I, too, find great encouragement in your words: “When we are most dried up, He is able to do some of His finest work.” He IS working in us and for us. Always. I’m going to copy these thoughts on a Post-It for my work area, for those days when no blog-post idea seems right, and no words seem worthy of my readers’ time. God’s input is what makes the difference, not my output. He can take my paltry, dry efforts and breathe hydrating life into them!
Beth Williams says
Praying for you in this dry, but busy season. May He quiet your soul & give you the quiet time you need. Praying for peace to come emotionally, physically, & spiritually. Back in June 2015 I quit a good full-time job that was stressing me out. I needed to be more available for my aging dad. I took that time & got more into His word. Listening to preachers on-line & soaking up all the teachings. I also used the time to do more local missions & be available for others. Life can get stressful and everyone needs spiritual whitespace to recharge themselves.