Leaving the desert.

When I graduated university I entered a really intense desert period with Jesus. During the summer I read Job and I felt like we were kindred spirits, meeting thousands of years apart, fully understanding how the other felt about having the rug pulled out from under us and having everything (almost everything for me, any way) that we knew and loved taken away.

I have spent so much time in the past ten months crying out to God (literally and figuratively, and sometimes with actual tears), not having a clue why I was doing this alone or, really, how I was managing it. I frequently tell people, “I don’t know how I coped. In fact, truthfully, I didn’t cope at all. I didn’t cope.” And I didn’t. I turned my back on God at one point, angry that I was so lost, but eventually came running, nay, sprinting back to Him because I knew He was the only one who could truly fix things.

In Church, before Christmas, the sermon theme was ‘stepping out of the boat’, and the truth that you can’t walk on water if you never step out of the boat. It was as if Jesus was standing in front of me and shaking me, shouting at me to listen. He doesn’t often yell things right in my ear but this time he did. But, since I’m super smart *intense sarcasm intended*, I decided to ignore this until I reached breaking point this week. Usually Church was enough to keep me going, even if I wasn’t getting any fellowship, but I hadn’t gone for two weeks and I was becoming really weak. I had started to realise a lot of things about myself, the way I was treating people, the words I was using, etc., that weren’t making me happy. I had been in touch with a friend about joining the house group that he goes to (if you’re not sure, house groups/cell groups are small gatherings of people from the same Church who get together once a week to have fellowship on a more intimate level than normal Church, to discuss the Bible, pray, and have yummy food and amazing banter) but had chickened out last week. This week I was so in need of fellowship that I had no fear at all; I needed to go this week and nothing was going to stop me.

Being in that sort of environment again, for the first time in almost a year, just tore my heart up (in the best way, of course). I was quiet, yes, but I felt accepted and welcome and loved. I was so encouraged to know that I wasn’t the only one there who worked in a secular environment and that I have the same worries and stresses about the workplace that these people do. It was great to share my fears with them and to tell them that I was glad to be with them and that it truly meant a lot to me. Mostly, the discussion we had reminded me of how important it is for me to love my work mates, and to pray for them. I could go on and on about the way those two hours encouraged me immensely but I won’t bore you (hopefully I haven’t already).

What I’m trying to say is that it’s always darkest before the dawn. Monday evening was only the first night of getting to know these wonderful people, and sharing my life with them, and there are so many more nights to come. The desert can’t last forever and, eventually, you will reach the ocean.

All that’s left to do then is stepping on to the water; trust me, you can do it.

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