Coping with Drought, Dry, Hard Times

oak

We know life is made up of seasons. As I’ve mentioned recently, our family went through a hard season of transition in moving from a comfy, quiet life in the Midwest, United States to living smack in the middle of a couple million people in Africa. But as I reflect, our comfy, quiet life in the Midwest wasn’t easy, either. It was full of long, exhausting days raising little babies, days of being a single mom while my husband pulled long 48 hour shifts with the EMS, dealing with smothering heat and suffocating loneliness. There were many times of wondering what I am doing here, feeling stuck, waiting to feel God’s anointing again.

It felt like Moses living in the desert, tending sheep, learning the value of hard work, walking out the blessing of family and marriage… but all the time wondering what the nagging feeling of destiny was all about. I knew God called us to be where we were, no questions about that. Often I went back to that place of certainty. But even my walk with God felt sort of dry, and my prayers like pebbles rolling around on dusty, hard ground. I grew in perseverance, and day by day grew in understanding how to raise my little family and enjoy our quiet life in the woods. During this time of about five years, I do not recall many great answers to prayer. I do remember many times of calling out to God, dry and desperate. Walking around our property listening to the leaves crunch under my feet, packing a baby on my hip, and trying not to get knocked down by our rambunctious Labrador, all the time searching for the presence of God. Trying to get excited about my butterfly bushes or lavender or irises that refused to respond to my half-hearted attempts at gardening the rocky, clay filled, hard, soil.

In fact, my attempts at gardening felt like my walk with God during this time. Full of rocks, clay, insects and squirrels undoing my hard work. Starting over the next day after the dog dug up my plants. Finally getting my flower box beautifully filled with lovely foliage and blossoms, only to have a week of blasting heat come and wither it to brown leaves. Trying to create beauty but fighting the land.

One of my favorite verses is from Psalm 1 which says, ‘He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.’

This is the man who takes his delight from the law of the Lord. Who purposefully removes himself from the counsel of the wicked, the way of sinners, and the seat of mockers. Someone who meditates day and night on the law of the Lord.

Our years on Cedar Bluff Ridge were a time set apart from a corrupt culture, where God trained me how to be a mother. They were a difficult, dry time when my spiritual roots had to go down quite deep to find water. They were a lonely time when I longed for intimate friendship and instead learned how to release my loneliness to the Lord and run to him. He created special times of connecting with kindred spirits along the way and those were like wells of sweet water.

This blog, DeepRoets, sprung up from that time. It is during the times of drought when a tree’s roots grow deep and strong. The deeper the roots the more drought resistant a tree is. The idea is that you want the water to soak in deep, forcing the roots to likewise have to go deep to get the water. If you water frequently and shallowly, the roots never have to go down deep to get water. Be sure that if you are going through dry time in your walk with God, he will provide times to quench your thirst and in doing that, water your roots.

Dry times in our lives force our spiritual roots to grow deep. To become anchored. So we can be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.

Do not despise small beginnings, or dry, hard times. God says to consider it pure joy in trials when our faith is tested because we are developing perseverance! Perseverance must finish its work so that you will be mature and complete, not lacking anything. God has a plan to create a mighty display of his splendor through your life. It will stand the test of time and be a haven for life and produce fruit in season.

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9 thoughts on “Coping with Drought, Dry, Hard Times

  1. kelleem says:

    Molly, Thank you for this post. I needed it and its timing.

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. kelleem says:

    Oops. Didn’t mean to send that last message off so quickly! I love reading blogs and updates from you guys. I can’t imagine what your transitions in life have been like but I know whatever the current burdens are will be part of a completely different story with time. I’ve had to remind myself of that a lot this week. Lonnie came to visit last month and met with my parents and the ODells. Then I met with him. In his efforts to seek forgiveness and restitution and a renewed mind, there have been no red flags. He has humbly sought out our friends and family, has been accountable and submissive to leadership. Now after two years apart we are exploring Gods will for us under the mediation of the ODells. He was here for a second visit this week and he was consistent in his renewed character and desire for restoration. I have been very guarded and distrusting and looking defensively for the red flag that would free me from any desire to trust him again. Michele warned me on Thursday morning that fear is not of a sound mind. That afternoon Lonnie and I were released to spend time together (in a public place – every step has been cautious) and I told him I couldn’t do this and broke things off. He thanked me for being part of his journey to becoming a better man and got up and left. That night I had a nightmare that he was mad and turned against me. But in reality, he reacted honorably and I had a spirit of fear. I know it’s complicated and risky so fear is explainable, but I feel more regret than peace or relief. Michele is out of town this week so I asked for the week to pray about it and meet with her when she returns. Your blog reminded me of the end of Hebrews 12 about how God shakes everything away so only a firm foundation in Him remains. I’m definitely is that dry place where I need deep roots in Him. I want to be obedient – all of the options come with fear but that’s how He will shake that fear away. I trust He has a plan but I struggle with the not knowing, feeling misunderstood and doubting my decisions. I desire His guidance and peace. I would appreciate your prayers. I’m looking forward to seeing your faces on the screen at church tomorrow 🙂 Kellee

    Sent from my iPhone

  3. Beautiful. My heart aches a bit in thinking of those times at Cedar Bluff Ridge…We don’t realize what is happening in those times of drought, do we? But in looking back we can see that God was doing something real. Something lasting. I love what you wrote here. That house in Roach was very special to me too, Molly. In many seasons of my life you opened the doors of your home and offered me love, food, a safe place. I am still getting used to thinking of it in past-tense. But our roots don’t go down deep in geographical places, per se. But into deeper faith in a good, loving, and faithful God.

    Keep writing.

    • deeproets says:

      I know what you mean about heart ache. Sometimes I can actually feel pain in my chest remembering that place on Cedar Bluff. I miss it so much, I even have dreams now and then about our house. No, We don’t realize what God is doing in those hard, dry times. It reminds me of the verse in proverbs that says by wisdom a house is built and through understanding it is established. Through knowledge it’s rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures. I am so happy we could be a place of refuge for you! You are such a special part of our family, and those years when our kids were so little are precious, precious memories.

  4. Grim, Gerald W. MD says:

    Thanks Molly, some words of deep wisdom regarding the daily walk. I feeling like I should get off my hinder after reading this and get on with the travels. Love that image of the tree planted by the waters. God bless you and family today.

    GG

  5. robertsinromania says:

    Hi Molly (I think your name is Molly, but I’m not even sure), Your sister, Emelia, told me about your blog a few months ago. I have signed up to get your posts, and I like  them. We’re missionaries in Romania, and we;ve been here 5 years. We’re in a different stage of life than you are, but still, I remember days of little ones…and honestly, I can’t imagine raising kids on the field. I like your writing, and I’m wondering if you have heard of the on-line magazine called Thrive? It’s written by international missionary women. It’s encouraged me, and I just thought you might be interested in it. You’re writing would encourage others, and maybe you’d even consider submitting something? I sound like some kind of advertisement or recruiter for them, or something, but I’m not. I just like reading/writing, and I think you do, too.  God bless you as you raise your little ones, love your husband and grow closer to Him. He’s gifted you! Paula Roberts   “…Hope thou in God…” Psalm 42:11

    ________________________________

    • deeproets says:

      Hi Paula, thank you so much for your encouraging comment. Actually, I have been praying about what I write, wanting to reach, encourage and influence more people. Blogging is an interesting platform with a diverse audience but it would be nice to write for a specific target group like missionary women. Although I feel I have so much to learn from them, too. We are thinking of and praying for your part of the world a lot lately. Again, thank you for taking he time to comment. It was very encouraging.

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