"I will lead her into the desert..."

Hey everyone.

I'm thrilled to be writing this post from a cozy arm chair in one of my very favorite coffee shops...alone...sipping on a spicy gingersnap tea, with beautiful lyrics drifting in through my ear buds and settling right onto my heart.

This is my happy place.

Which is really quite ironic, considering the first time I stepped foot inside the doors of SE Grind, I was a hot mess.  And that's putting it lightly.

I've been sitting here for the past several minutes with my fingers hovering over the keyboard trying to articulate what it felt like to be in this place, just under a year ago, when I was certain my entire world was collapsing.  But the thing is, even if I did have the words, I honestly couldn't describe the feelings because I can't seem to get my heart back there.  And that is a beautiful testament of just how far I've come.

When you're living in the middle of heartbreak, it's hard to see beyond it.  Even when you finally make it through to the other side of a tough transition, looking back at where you just were is often too painful, so you press on (sometimes in blind forward motion), just praying for the day when you feel a sense of direction again.

Lately, I've been grossly aware of the passing of time, bombarded with "a year ago, today" reflections.  But rather than receiving them like debilitating sucker-punches, I've finally arrived to the place where I can look back on those moments with the beautiful perspective that only time can provide.

Last February, I dragged my dejected soul down the street to this crowded cafe and poured my heart out to a complete stranger.  Sound familiar? What I didn't know then was that my painfully raw emotional state was the catalyst to a beautifully authentic friendship which has made all the difference ever since.

A few days ago, I met again with sweet Solveig (aforementioned stranger-turned-life-changing-friend) at my other favorite coffee shop and began to verbally process some of what I'm attempting to say in this blog.

My journey through the desert.

My wandering heart was longing for home.  The Lord changed just one letter in that little word, and taught me instead to hope (I wrote about that here and here).  To trust, joyfully and expectantly, His plans for my life.

He even pulled me right out of the mess of my shattered dreams and dropped me - quite literally - into a Home for Hope (Hogar de Esperanza, Peru).  How is that for irony?

And then, when I landed safely back on US soil and thought it was finally time for me to plant roots again, he ripped me right out of my comfort zone and brought me to the desert.

"I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there." (Hosea 2:14)*

This process has been painful, tedious, and absolutely miraculous.  What I once thought was violent uprooting, I now recognize as tender and necessary planting, pruning, and harvesting.  The Lord is graciously preparing me for tremendous purposes.

"Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and BREAK UP YOUR UNPLOWED GROUND; for it is time to seek The Lord, until He comes and showers His righteousness on you." (Hosea 10:12)*

When I first met with my pastor's wife (11 months ago) to seek Godly wisdom on some upcoming major life decisions, she recommended a devotional to me called "Streams in the Desert."  I dutifully noted the title, even went so far as to order it on Amazon, but have yet to crack the spine.  It just didn't seem relevant at the time... (you can go ahead and laugh now).

Yes, with the beauty of perspective that only time can provide, I can now see how He was preparing me - even then- for our time in the desert. (Luckily, I still have the book.  Even more amazingly, I know where it is...which is honestly nothing short of a miracle given the current scattered condition of the majority of my belongings)

And the best part is, it's not over yet.  In less than one week I will board yet another airplane which will carry me away from the lush, green landscapes of Oregon back to the dry, monochromatic desert of Nevada.  Only this time, rather than dragging my feet, I gladly surrender to His leading.  For I know there is a Divine Romance awaiting me there.

You guys, He is preparing me for something big.  Let's pray when the time comes, I'm brave (and humble) enough to accept it. Whatever it is.

*In case you haven't noticed, I'm on a bit of a Hosea kick.  I have some exciting news regarding this particular book of the Bible, which I will hopefully be revealing soon-ish.