I had a long talk with a friend at work a few weeks ago. Just about my life. My pains. My knees. How I never feel great. I was anxious. For what? I don’t know. I was unsettled. I felt alone. She is going to school for counseling and its easy to see why. Its what’s she’s called to do. Talk to her for 2 minutes and you can see it. She has a wisdom and discernment that many people can only aspire to obtain. I sat in a chair while she washed dishes and just poured out all my frustrations. My knees always hurt. It’s so hard to go to work every day. I am in pain 24 hours a day. No one can figure it out, there was no glimmer of hope. I didn’t know what to do.

She said many important people in the bible had a time of retreat or going away. God didn’t always explain the purpose of the retreat, but it was often to remove them from everything around them and show them His true glory. To help them understand they only needed Him. He was their only hope. The Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years, Moses went away from Egypt before God sent him back, Elisha, Elijah, Jonah was in a fish for 3 days, John the Baptist, Even Jesus was in the desert for 40 days. The theme that this has been my wilderness keeps coming up. My 7 months of retreat. Of being away. I have never experienced such pain. But I have never experienced God so fully either. I have never been humbled to the point of not being able to stand. To sitting alone for so many hours in solitude. Just me and Jesus. And its been hard. It’s hard to not be anxious or freak out or just keep asking WHY!? But slowly I see my small desire for Him growing. I see my trust getting stronger. I lean on Him a little more each day. And I think that is what He sent me away for. To remove the distractions. To have me all to himself. I’m still a long way off. I’m still figuring it out. And I’m sure there will be many, many times when I have to be humbled again. But I’m taking that first step. I’m clinging to Him tighter. I’m still in pain. I still have no answers. But I know that He does. And even if I am in pain for the rest of my life, it is only a vapor compared to the perfect, pain-free life I will be living for all of eternity.

Later that evening my friend sent me this beautiful message, along with a link to a song by Jenny & Tyler. She is one part of Kansas I will be missing…

Gina. You are a beautiful gem. The Lord so desperately longs to heal your body and heart even more. We truly are onions…we need healing one layer at a time. The Lord created a strength in you that was meant to make the powers of darkness shutter. You are created to run in freedom and joy alongside Jesus our Messiah, manifesting the Kingdom of God here on earth. Lean back into Him. Listen to His heartbeat. May your heart align even more with His. I honor you for your faithfulness to Him. He sees you. The Most High God sees You. He knows every tear you cry (Ps 56:8).

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