Coming Out of the Wilderness

Denabutterfly1The last half-decade has been full of changes for our little family. Stressors included the death of several friends, unwanted job changes for both my husband and I, health challenges, and a total of four moves in five years. We’ve bought and sold three houses (well, we bought three houses…one is yet to sell, so we’re renting it out). Finally, both my dad and my father-in-law underwent major heart surgery within a few months.

Whew. It makes me tired just reading that . . . let alone living it.

To add to the chaos, my writing career stalled. Ideas I felt were timely were turned down again and again, although my previous editors loved several of them and went to bat for me. I prayed, cried, doubted, and wondered what God was up to. He provided income through work for hire projects, magazine and editing work, and I was thankful. However, I longed to write books again.

I didn’t want to turn my back on God because I felt like I didn’t deserve my circumstances. I longed to be obedient, even in the difficulties. I prayed continually for strength, and I kept seeking Him . . . even when He seemed very, very quiet on the subject of when (or if) we might be done with the “desert” we were in.

Wanna know something? Every time I cried out to Him, He answered. Sometimes He reminded me of a Scripture passage that ministered profoundly to me. Songs came on the radio which seemed to have been written just for my situation. Friends and family members called, texted and emailed me at perfect moments, when I couldn’t seem to take another step or cry another tear. He was faithful. So, so faithful.

Two years ago, my friend Tina called me with a book idea, and I knew in an instant that we were meant to collaborate on that project together. Greg Johnson agreed to represent us, and (in a first for me), we actually had two offers on the project.

WoundedWomenIt came out this month, and my heart is full. Though the process of putting the book together was emotionally draining, it was a pleasure to write with such a kindred spirit. I couldn’t be more excited about the finished product (thanks, Kregel!).  Everything I’ve lived through, in publishing and life, has prepared me for Wounded Women of the Bible: Finding Hope When Life Hurts.

Six  months ago, God led my husband into full-time ministry and moved us back to a place we love. It feels as if we are finally coming out of the wilderness and into an oasis. We are grateful beyond words. And we can see in hindsight that He’d been honing and refining us all along to minister more effectively to hurting people.

Friend, are you suffering today? Do you wonder if God has something against you? And do you fear that you’ll ever feel joy again?In-Gods-economy-our

Oh, I’ve been there. My heart aches for you. But this I know: the path He has you on may seem lonely, and you might not feel His presence. But He hasn’t left.

He is up to something, even when we can’t see it. Until then, trust Him with your wounded places, for one day, they will become ministry spaces.

He promises.

9 Replies to “Coming Out of the Wilderness”

  1. Dena, thank you for this transparent and beautiful post that greatly encouraged me. Your book looks wonderful, and I’m so glad to know about it! Blessings on you and Tina for writing it, as I know it will bring hope to many.

  2. The new book looks wonderful Dina; the cover is very compelling and beautiful. Thanks for your willingness to encourage others through your personal story.

    1. Elaine, so true. He’s still there, even when we can’t see Him. As my pastor said just this morning, “Sometimes we can be in the middle of God’s will AND in the middle of the storm.” Blessings to you, today.

  3. Dena, Thanks for lifting my head up and pointing me to God’s hope as I trudge through my own desert, and congratulations about your new book! Blessings and hugs, Linda

    1. Linda, I’m so thankful that I encouraged you. Thank you for the kind words, and I pray God quenches your thirst and brings you out of that desert–SOON. 🙂 Hugs to you, too.

  4. I love this post, Dena, and especially this line: trust Him with your wounded places, for one day, they will become ministry spaces. When I was in grad school for theology, I took a spirituality and leadership course, and we talked a lot about wounded leaders, and how each of us find our strength in our woundedness. Thanks for reminding me of this critical truth!

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