18 Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 19 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 43:18,19)
Due to the pandemic, we have been physically isolated from the community of women either by choice or by necessity these past two years. Consequently, I have found myself emotionally and relationally distant from God and from other women. It has been a challenge to connect with other women and have real “fellowship” (authentic community) when physically isolated from others.
What about connecting with God on a deeper level? Hmmm. It becomes harder when we are by ourselves and there is no one to keep us accountable in our faith and love. To put it another way, lit firewood is extinguished quickly when it is not with other firewood in a fire pit. Our faith and love for God and others may “grow cold” when we are physically isolated and distant from other firewood in the fire.
I believe that oftentimes, as women, when we find ourselves isolated and distant from God and others, we default to living in the past. We hold onto our past mistakes, past sins, past unhealthy emotional responses, past hurts, past losses, and past wounds.
During the past two years, we, as women may have carried a lot of the “past” on our shoulders. Sometimes the effects of the “past” manifests itself in how we are living in the present. We grieved over these losses, as sometimes we should. But the past events have weighed us down. We have, at times, felt very isolated and alone in our grief. We have walked alone and have tried to “carry on”. Even though our hearts are broken, our emotions unfiltered, and burdens are heavy. Sure, we know the Lord has been there. We think to ourselves, “He knows what we are going through.” but we dare not reveal what we are going through to others. “We will get through this”, we think to ourselves, “alone”.
I am comforted by Isaiah 43 verses 18 and 19. The prophet Isaiah is encouraging the Israelites to forget the former things—the past. Years of hardened hearts, unanswered prayers, and rebellious hearts wandering in the “wilderness and wasteland”. This references the former years of when God seemed to have abandoned His people, His very own children. Isaiah’s exhortation is to not “dwell” or live or make your shelter in your past. God’s promise in verse 19 is that He is doing a new thing! A brand new future! Not a “back to normal” thing, but instead new growth. This is like new plants growing in the spring. Can we really see and understand? He is making a way (a road) in the wilderness and “streams” (refreshment, abundance, satisfaction) in the wasteland.
One reason that we want to bring women together for this one-day Women’s Conference on March 26th, is to reconnect with God and His purposes for us and to re-establish that “sisterhood” or fellowship with other women which may need to be re-kindled after these two years of physical isolation. Women are wired to grow and thrive in community. When we do not have community or when we do not cultivate community, we wither away like flowers in the desert sun without water. However, Hebrews 12:2 says, that Jesus (God) “is the author and perfecter of our faith.” Philippians 1:6 says, “that He (God) who began a good work in you (us) will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Jesus will complete his work in us even in our “wilderness and wastelands”. However, we need community with others and be in communion with God.
I feel that now is the time to re-connect with the NEW purposes of God in our lives. Not just the old getting a makeover but something altogether new, unheard of, unimagined, a forward to better future—a road in the wilderness, (what? No way! Yes, there is a way; don’t you see it?) and streams--not just one stream, but streams (multiple outlets) from the wasteland. God is the one who will make this happen for us. Let us show up to where He wants us to be and receive what He has for us.
Won’t you join me at the Women’s Conference on March 26th? God has a “new thing” for us. We don’t have to live in the past. Our destiny is forward to better! By God’s power and grace, we will see the “way” in the wasteland and “streams in the desert”.
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GRACE CHURCH KELSEYVILLE
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ADDRESS 6716 Live Oak Drive Kelseyville, CA 95451 PHONE 707.279.8448