I live in a desert. My desert is both a literal and figurative one. The desert is not always an easy place to live. We have extreme temperatures during the summer. Our vegetation is made to endure the lack of moisture and extreme temperatures.

When you think of a desert you may think of endless flat lands with dust, dirt and sand. You look out over the horizon and see a pack of coyotes running and the sound of a rattlesnake down by your feet. The wind begins to blow and a dust storm rolls across the desert. Your mouth is dry and there is no relief from the heat and no water to be found.

A desert in life can seem much the same. You find yourself feeling alone and no relief in site. There is a sense of feeling abandoned or forgotten. Every time you think you have made a bit of headway that darn rattlesnake, shows up and bites you in the ankle. Fatigue, thirst and loss of direction can be your constant companion.

You know that just really is not the full picture. My desert can seem like that at times. However, my desert is beautiful.

The view of the sunset from my back patio is breath taking. I look across hills and open space that are painted in hues of pink, orange and red in reflection to the colors of the sky. During the spring the desert blooms in colors of purple, yellow, orange and red. Families of quail and rabbits are seen scurrying about the neighborhood. The dust storms that roll across my valley create an awe inspiring site and color intense sunrises and sunsets.

My life desert is beautiful as well. It is not easy but beautiful. As I wander through this time of my life I can not help but realize and rejoice that I am being given the opportunity to grow in my faith, learn trust, obedience and most of all patience. That feeling of being alone is a mirage. During a life desert we often feel forgotten by God and abandoned. I have seen him though. He has shown himself through others. He has provided me Oases along my journey through this desert. It comes in the form of blessings. One recent blessing was a new friend who shared his desert journey with me. We are not alone. Many of us are walking a similar trail through their own desert.

My journey may last a long time or may be coming to an end. Only God knows. I am anxious to see what the trail will lead to but I will look back at the desert I will have gone through and though tears will fall they will be tears of thankfulness.

I have realized that a desert is often a form of trial and testing by fire and I can not help but be excited. Excited cause God is paying so much attention to me.

I am not the little girl who would climb into her father’s lap and read the Sunday paper with him any more. But I am His girl and can climb into the lap of my Heavenly Father and read His words to me any time I want.

He led me to these words.

Isaiah 61: 3

provide for those who grieve in Zion to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.

This scripture was put to music by Crystal Lewis several years ago. I sing this around the house at times of worship. I would like to share the lyrics with you.

Beauty for Ashes – Crystal Lewis

He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear
Gladness for mourning
Peace for despair

When sorrow seems to surround you
When suffering hangs heavy over your head
Know that tomorrow brings
Wholeness and healing
God knows your need
Just believe what He said

He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear, Gladness for mourning
Peace for despair

When what you’ve done keeps you from moving on
When fear wants to make itself at home in your heart
Know that forgiveness brings
Wholeness and healing
God knows your need
Just believe what He said

He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear, Gladness for mourning
Peace for despair

I once was lost but God has found me
Though I was bound I’ve been set free
I’ve been made righteous in His sight
A display of His splendor all can see

He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear, Gladness for mourning
Peace for despair

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