Never thought it would happen, but I'm beginning to like the desert. Literally, metaphorically. Who'd a thunk it?
Living in the desert for this season has also been living in the desert for this season. I've found that I can relate so much to what we see in the pages of Scripture as the people of Israel were led through the desert.
Daily manna to go out and gather. Complaining. Temporary housing (at least I'm not in a tent!). Unexpected oases. God's tangible presence. Temptation. Community. Heat. Choosing to learn to obey.
I'd always assumed that the desert wasn't a good place to be. But it was necessary for the Israelites on their way to the Promised Land, and necessary for me too in my journey. They learned so much there. So much that they needed before heading into the promised land--a spacious place to spread out.
In the desert they found their identity. They worshipped. They learned to obey God. They became a people with new traditions. They learned to rely on God for the very basics of life itself as well as for direction and guidance and for him to keep his promises. They learned to follow his leading, to stop when he said to stop.
There's beauty here.
What I really wanted to show you were some pictures from my yard. My deserty, rocky, what I've called really, really ugly yard. But look! Beauty among the rocks and thorns.
Bouganvillea (can NEVER spell that right!) in the cactus. Just look at that color!
Doves are building a nest in this cactus. Toben and I sat and watched for a while yesterday morning. I love the orange bouganvillea.
Those big cactus are blooming. A bloom opens in the morning and is done about mid-day, it seems. Luckily there are a number of blooms on it.
This pink loveliness is from the neighbor's yard, spilling over the wall. It's what is filling the dining room window view right now.
This giant and totally terrifying cactus is by the front door. We're all a little scared of it--just look at those needles! It made the girls cry when we first moved in because they hated it so much. (And I can relate. As a little girl I was terrified of birds of paradise. Somehow I thought they could chomp down and bite you, and I remember running past them as fast as I could so they couldn't get me. And when we moved to San Diego and had them in our yard, I took them out!)
(And we are scared of this cactus with good reason. Let me just say I've accidentally backed into it and had to pull hard to get those thorns out of my backside after they stuck through my jeans and into me. Ouch.)
But the other day I noticed this bloom beginning.
Living in a rental house, we often have the kind of conversations that go like this, "If this house were really ours, we'd..." A conversation that often involves destroying this cactus. Relandscaping the whole yard (see all those rocks behind the cactus?). So these unexpected blooms are a daily reminder that God can create beauty in the prickliest of places.