Image of a young tree alone in the desert sand to describe how God is doing a new thing

A New Thing: How God is Creating Life in Desert Places

Over the summer, I found myself staring at my computer screen in horror. I felt my stomach plummet to my feet and my heart threaten to escape my ribcage. All our blog posts on our website—more than a decade of writing—was gone. My amateur efforts to switch hosting providers and themes for our website, along with a fair amount of procrastination in fixing issues, resulted in what was, in my mind, a catastrophic loss. My daughter worked a bit on our website the year before, so I called her immediately to see if she, by some miracle, had backed up our website (and our work). She hadn’t, but she said something that almost immediately gave me peace, “I’m so sorry Mom…but maybe this means God wants to do a new thing.”

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19 NIV

A new thing–somehow, that just seemed right.

As it turned out, I had more of my writing than I thought. I was able to access my old blogspot site and a lot of my newer blog posts were written in Google Docs before they were posted. I was praising God for the cloud! I pushed my daughter’s comment to the back of my brain and moved on.

But what was I moving on to? Josiah and I had been feeling like we were in the middle of a wasteland for a few years. We were raising support to go on staff with FamilyLife, and while we definitely had some oasis moments, they would be gone in a flash. Then, we’d continue trudging through the desert again, wondering what in the world God was doing. We KNEW he’d called us to this; why was it so hard and seemingly fruitless? We’ll share more about wandering in that desert season in another post, but for now, you get the point. It wasn’t easy.

Towards the end of the summer last year, we started to feel a shift. We went to Orlando for FamilyLife’s biannual staff conference expecting to be refreshed, renewed, and inspired to finish our race—but all we came home with were questions. The organization we love was still there along with people we love dearly, but something in our hearts felt…different.

We came home and desperately sought answers from God. We spent an entire day by ourselves at our church—alternating between lying on our faces at the altar, praying, and talking about what we felt like we were hearing from God.

As we spoke, the dream of our own ministry re-awakened. It was born a decade ago, but it was never the right time. I tried to force it into existence many times, only to be reminded that God’s timing is perfect…and it was NOT God’s time.

After that day at church, we still didn’t feel like the timing was right. We thought, “Maybe God is still just reminding us that the dream is there.” We pressed on with FamilyLife, still hoping that God would work a miracle in our support-raising.

Then, in the late fall, Seeking the Symphony was on our hearts heavily again. More prayer. More seeking. More questions.

We prayed again that God would give us confirmation that this way was HIS way, and of course, He did. We had (and still have) complete peace that we are on the right path. In fact, I feel more peace about our path than I have in years. I’ve felt a wellspring of hope, peace, and joy spring up in my heart, and I’m so deeply grateful.

After a decade of waiting, we are officially starting our own ministry. God is doing a new thing. Praise be to God.

In June of 2013 I wrote these words (on that old blogspot blog I found):

“I feel like God is going to use me in a very public way at some point…through writing, speaking, a non-profit organization, or possibly a combination of some or all of those.  I’m just not there yet, and I might have to wait a long time to get there. Until I DO get there, I think God is trying to tell me not to try to fit a square peg into a round hole.  His plan for me is designed perfectly, and I’ll only cause a lot of trouble and pain for myself if I try to force things to happen before He’s ready.”

I’ve spent the last 3 years wrestling with feeling like a failure, but instead, God was growing us emotionally and spiritually so we’d be able to handle the new challenges in front of us. We see the beautiful wisdom in his timing and the way He set provision up for us for exactly this moment. We have felt nothing but encouragement from our partners, and most of them are coming alongside us in our new venture.

We are so ready for this next season—not because of us, but because we know the God who’s sending us. We’re ready to lean on Him completely, and we’re excited to see what He’s going to do. It’s not about us, but about Him and His glory. Great is HIS faithfulness!