MOMentous Monday is my way of reaching more of you in hopes that you would not feel alone. On MOMentous Mondays I turn the mic over to someone who has a story I think you need to hear. I only have so much to offer and so many life experiences to share. However, I am surrounded with beautiful women with amazing stories of trial, struggle, and redemption. I am determined to use this space to bless more women with the bravely shared stories of others.
This blog is not about me, it is for us.
Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to my sweet friend Mariah. God has truly given her words and wisdom beyond her years. She is about to rock your world… hold on tight!
Somehow, it was only 14 months ago that these words passed through my heart and out through fingertips:
My heart felt the chill of the shadow of death today.
Rejection. Slurs. Soul death.
My heart saw the last chapters close in a book of comfortable slavery.
To denial. To lies. To a conflict-free existence inside prison walls.
The blinding Light flooded in, and I shivered as I stepped towards the open door. The One that promised freedom… and the inevitable, daily fight to live it.
This I know: steps made into freedom? They hurt. Blisters chaff raw and muscles quiver. Hearts faint. Two steps in and the leeks of Egypt already call.
The ache reverberates throughout heart and bone and organ, and in this I find Truth: that fight? The one we fight as chrysalis’ eschewing our cocoon’s? This too is gift.
It is the fight and the hurt that means we are alive and on our way. It is today’s ache in untested muscles that makes strength for tomorrow’s steps on it’s own stretch into Free.
Eyes still acclimating to the light survey a vast and expansive desert, pregnant with unknowns. Egypt lies behind. A future He’s filled with Promises lies before.
Deep breath, one foot steps out…and it buckles underneath. How is it, that my heart can dance in heady anticipation of milk and honey, and yet also cower at the mere recollection of a slavemaster’s voice? Did you know that obedience could feel this tremulous? Not minutes in, and my lips are already parched, coated with desert dust.
It’s mid-tremor that He whispers:
Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert.
And though it will most likely revisit, in this moment, the tremor evaporates and my heart stills.
This new thing?? This closing of chapters and clanking springing of prison doors?
HE IS DOING IT.
These trembling steps and parched lips?
There is a road and a river.
Can I see them yet?? Hell no. But they are there, this I know.
It all blurs: the crush of a caged-in heart, deafening crash of imprisoning door flung open and blinding light, pulse weak as my bony slave legs step through.
The distant glisten of that land promised, the desert seemingly a stroll in the park and impassable all at once, a slave master’s familiar pull, and a heart that sings it’s broken song one minute then faints the next.
It all blurs together, and the only thing not swimming is this knowledge: He is with me.
[Photo Credit: http://www.managingyourblessings.com/gift-of-being-transparent/ ]
I live near a desert. And let me tell you: I’m not a fan. Bleak, dry, dirty, weary; these are the associations.
But even I have to assent that there are exactly two times that this seeming wasteland shocks with it’s breathtaking beauty:
Sunrise and Sunset… When the Light shines.
The genesis and grand finale. Bright hope as we set out, reassuring beauty as we put the day to bed.
The wilderness is capped in lavish grace.
It was a matter of days (weeks?) for the Israelites, but it was one year from that First Step into wilderness; a year in which He “took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night”, and still…
“They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in.” Sometimes the pontifical taunts of the slave master? They reverberate over the desert sands, ringing in our ears, our hearts.
One year, and He played it before my eyes, whispered so emphatically in my heart: “I am parting the waters”.
When familiar, whip-savvy captors chase behind, and a new, dry path suddenly lies before… you move. You move and pray to God you reach the end of that tunnel before the waters close in on you.
No one tells you that Freedom can be this harrowing.
Against the monochrome backdrop of wilderness, many have gone before, coated in thick layers of desert-dust and human flesh. All spent time in their own personal (and often literal) wildernesses, this wide expanse where history pivots and plot-lines intersect, for…
I have resonated with Jacob; wrestling for a blessing already available to me, declared to be mine. Sometimes I swear I feel a limp.
I have been Joseph; dreamer of dreams, rent from family, lived years of servitude, accusations, soul prisons, and body-wracking love for brothers long missed.
I have channeled Moses; Spirited from my home, adopted with a new name, overcome with watching my family in slavery and shaking with the cry of “let. my. people. GO.”
I have lamented with Jeremiah; commissioned to a message of hope and healing, the one that your whole life and love has been hijacked for…only to be rejected, dismissed, permeated with searing loneliness.
I have seen Ezekiel’s vision; a Voice calling “speak Life over these dry bones” of hearts dusty-brittle; heady anticipation of rattling, of Breathe inhaled new and strong across a battlefield. An Army is rising…
And I have felt Isaiah’s proclamation of The Mission tattoed upon my heart, roaring deep within: “Commissioned to bring Good News, to bind up broken hearts, to proclaim liberty to captives, the opening of prison doors to prisoners, declaring the Lord’s favor”
And all…ALL served time in their desert, saw transformation in the dry places.
Because they knew The One Who creates pathways, Who calls forth springs there.
[ Photo credit : http://delectable-collectibles.tumblr.com/post/39463446245/franflow ]
Heat sears, our eyes water gritty, and feet blister mercilessly…but we can endure any wilderness when the Light sings us awake, dances for us at day’s end; when there is the ever-present comfort of His presence by day and His fire burning in us by night.
We can walk any path, pass steely-eyed between solid walls of water and wind when there is a Voice whispering “This is the way, walk in it. No weapon against you shall prosper”.
Then it happened, that Monday only a few short weeks ago when I knew I’d reached shore, and discovered: when we’ve been delivered from our own personal Egypts, when we’ve passed through the waters while He kept us dry and swallowed whole the captivity chasing us, when we’ve come out the other side and the waters close violent but victorious behind us…
There is yet another expanse, another wilderness still before us. The home stretch (and I do mean stretch) between the shore and the Promised Land, a dry expanse upon which we find we must be more resourceful, more patient, more faithful than ever.
Where we don’t even know ourselves anymore, as our old role no longer exists and our new one has not yet been fully introduced.
Eleven Days. I’ve heard that the Israelites, if they had only accepted their new identities as Freemen, as Conquerors, could have been been home to the Promised Land in only 11 days.
It really is a numbers game: 11 days < 40 years. The choice is ours. The cost of fear may just be our whole lives.
We can cower and do like the Israelites, using our families and children to camouflage our cowardice, or we can choose blisters and battles and carving out new homes for our new, free selves, where we can find milk and honey beneath the all the work of ownership.
Both are hard. Only one delivers us.
So I just ask you this: what do you need to LEAVE BEHIND to move towards freedom? What do you need to TAKE UP to live it for all it’s worth??
I told you she was amazing! Mariah, thank you so much for sharing your beautiful words. They are a treasure and I will be pondering them for quite some time. Be sure to follow her Facebook page… She is an amazing writer and has some very special things coming up that you are not going to want to miss.
If any of you sweet readers out there have a story you’d be willing to share… I would love to have you.