Mile by mile we pass fewer trees and more tumbleweeds as our trusty Dodge truck treks further and further west. Finally we reach our town and turn left on Wyoming, the last street before our new home on an old military base. I look wide-eyed at the barren landscape, this street absent of green altogether.

I cry down that whole street right up ’til the base entrance check point. Then I cry again when I see our house with cinderblock walls and a front yard of dirt.

Don’t worry,” my husband reassures. “This is only our temporary home ’til one opens up in base housing.”

Will our real house have dirt for a front yard?” I squeak.

I don’t know,” he replies with a sigh. “We’ll have to wait and see.”

I was a newish military wife who still didn’t know how to start over every three years. I wanted to bloom where planted, but how does one bloom in the desert? In a dirt yard?

My heart heard His message, “Take it one day at a time. Wait and see.”

So I brushed away discontent like dust in my face and looked to making new friends even though I missed the familiar. And on an unsuspecting cool spring morning, I met a fellow military wife, Rebecca, who invited our family over for dinner. Her family served burgers and potato salad and soul-feeding friendship that tasted best of all.

Four months later we moved into our base house complete with dirt-yard. {But at least the walls weren’t cinderblock!} Rebecca lived across the street, and before long I met neighbor after neighbor who filled our desert neighborhood with exploding color that leaked into my hungry heart. I witnessed healthy marriages. I observed good parenting habits. Families discussed their imperfections, and I rested knowing my own imperfections weren’t condemned. It wasn’t a perfect community, but it was perfectly real. They encouraged my family as we encouraged them.

It was what I craved but didn’t know I craved and it took my breath away. I didn’t think it possible to bloom in the desert, but God specializes in unearthing breathtaking blessings in the bleakest of environments.

Sweet Sister, if you find yourself in the desert with discontent hanging around like kicked-up dust, may I encourage you to wait and see? To remember these words from Isaiah?

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.

See, I am doing a new thing!

Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19

While deserts are drenched in sunshine, they hold little water. Growth happens slowly and in that the waiting is hard. But when we choose to see during the wait –  to hold on to God’s promise for a new thing – we find ourselves staring at something we didn’t know we needed. And before long, we are blooming in unexpected but longed for ways.

The old thing may be familiar, but the new thing may be fantastic.

And then you know you wouldn’t trade the desert years for anything.

What new thing has the Lord’s grace provided from a “wait and see” time in your life? And if this season of  life finds you in a desert, how may this imperfect-but-perfectly-real community of (in)couragers pray for you?

By: Kristen Strong, Chasing Blue Skies

  • Stephanie

    Kristen this post blessed my heart so much this morning. I am in a season of waiting and I understand what you are talking about. The verse you shared from Isaiah is a treasure for me to hold onto. Think I need to put that one in my kitchen window where I’ll see it every day. Right now I am a late 30 something wifey longing for a family. I am waiting to have surgery for Asherman’s Syndrome as my womb is closed with scar tissue. It is a hard place to be. I am looking for contentment and needed to be reminded to seek for it in the Lord and in my community of Christian women. There are many blessings around me and I need to look for them and give thanks for all that God has given me.

    • Kristen

      Stephanie, thank you so much for sharing part of your story here. The waiting is no easy thing, to say the least! I’m on my knees for you right now, praying His peace that passes all understanding over your season of waiting. Will you please keep us posted as to when you have your surgery? Lifting you up, Sister. Much love to you!

  • Brittnie

    I too am in a season of “wait and see.” My husband and I are in the midst of fertility treatments and are currently 15 months into our desert time of waiting. While it is hard road to talk we are confident that God’s plan is best and better than we can expect or imagine. We know He is faithful even in the desert times.

    I am so encouraged by your post and in(courage) in general. This group of writers blesses me each day. You have encouraged me to take inventory of ALL the many blessings in my life (despite the things I think I am missing). God bless!

    • Kristen

      Brittnie, you are a wise, wise woman…”taking inventory of ALL the many blessings in my life.” I’m convinced there’s no better way to live – especially during desert times – than expressing gratitude. Like our Ann Voskamp has said, gratitude always proceeds the miracle! Also? I’ve walked that road of infertility, too, and it’s a tough one. I’m lifting you up right now, Sister. We love you!

  • Heather

    I am in my desert season right now so I am thankful that I read your post today. Wait and see is a wonderful message. It all goes back to trusting that God has great things ahead…even in the midst of the trials and tribulations of right now.

    • Kristen

      Trusting Him right along with you, Heather…thank you for your words today!

  • Paola Pacheco Rarick

    Wow! I can’t thank you enough for the blessing you have given me with these words. I wake up and am in a desert situation where I don’t really know what to do. But those words: wait and see, are such a blessing. I have never been good at waiting but I know with God’s help I can learn. Thank you!

    • Kristen

      Paola, sometimes I make toddlers proud with my fit-throwing attitude towards waiting. It isn’t easy, fo’ sho’! But He is always trustworthy. Praying for you as we *both* learn from and lean on Him rather than our own understanding. xoxo

  • Barbara @MadreMinutes

    You plant a cactus……Great post. Thanks for sharing.
    Kindest regards,

    • Kristen

      And roses! I soon found out roses love desert climates, provided you water them regularly! :)

  • Lisa-Jo @thegypsymama

    Girl, there’s no way you could know this – but that’s been one of (in)courage’s theme verses this year! Just wow and wonderful to read it here this morning.

    • Kristen

      Really? I did *not* know that! {Happy sigh} I surely love His mysterious ways! And I love you, too.

  • Carolyn

    Thank you for the lovely post. I’m glad somebody understands the desert. One of my favorite quotes from “The Little Prince” is, “what makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.” I’m looking for the well right now. I’ve been married a little over four years. My parents have lived with us that whole time. In March, my precious Mama unexpectedly passed away. My Dad, my husband, and I have all been wandering around lost since then. We don’t really know how to be a family without her. We don’t know who is supposed to do what now that she is gone. We’re a mess. The family doctor told me yesterday, “you better get all that figured out.” Thanks, doc. But it isn’t that easy. I know God has not left us. It’s just the waiting (really only 4 1/2 months – not that long) in the desert is hard. It’s always good to meet fellow wanderers along the way.

    • Kristen

      Oh Carolyn, I’m so sorry for your loss. The unsettling is *not* easy to just figure out. Big hugs to you, Friend, as you faithfully keep on keeping on while remembering His great Love for you…

  • Kris

    Thank you so much; I really needed to hear that today.

    • Kristen

      Thank you, Kris!

  • Christina

    I am thankful for this post, and to have stumbled into a community of women with words that are graceful, kind, encouraging and filled with wisdom.

    I have graduated last year and although I have been blessed with a job that allows me to stay in Australia for a little while longer (I’m not a resident), I can’t help but feel frustrated by the lack of growth and direction in my current place (the desert).

    Not too sure where I’ll be next year, but this post reminds me of the ‘wait and see’, to to overcome the fear, to trust the promiser and to have faith that it will all turn out alright. I almost wanted to give up, and all I needed was to read heart-warming encouragements like this post to keep me going. One day at at time.

    Thank you!

    • Kristen

      YES…trust in the Promiser who is good all. the. time. Praying for you, Christina. Much love!

  • Beth Williams

    What do you do in a desert full of dirt?…Enjoy the scenery, plant some cacti, love the hot weather and ride motorcycles. Hubby and I are headed to the great desert west this year and I can’t wait to see it!

    I have been and am in a season of waiting. What do I do? Pray about situation, keep on working/plugging away at life!

    Great post.

    • Kristen

      Beth, enjoy your trip…and take in a gorgeous, painted desert sunset for me!

  • Ashleigh Baker

    This reminds me of many of my fellow Marine wives when they drive onto the base in 29 Palms, CA. It’s scary, it’s barren, it’s all dirt and it’s beyond hot. But there is something about those desert times that strengthen us to all of life’s elements, both physical and emotional.

    Beautiful post, Kristen. You say it so well.

    • Kristen

      *YOU* say it so well, Ashleigh! Amen.

  • Dana

    This post has really encouraged me! I have been so doubtful concerning the direction my life should go and if the passions I want are what God wanted for me. You see, I was accepted into a discipleship school, but my heart has been heavy about becoming a part of the military (USMC). I was unsure of which to do, or if I should do both or neither, but everything I’ve seen lately points to doing both. I cannot walk out of my house or turn the computer/TV on without seeing something about the military. I come from a long generational line that has served. I am convinced that each time I seek God concerning both His answer stays the same, “Yes, both.” It’s frightening and exciting all at once, but I am enjoy the ride for sure. I cannot wait to be fulfilling both of my passions. I know that God is happy when I’m doing something that makes me happy! By the way, I’m a female who is striving to be an MP! It’s something new for my family since I would be the only female to serve as well as the first female Marine. I thank your husband and your neighbors husbands for their service as well as you and the other military families. We’re all in this together. Will be keeping you in prayer. Would you keep me in yours? <3 Blessings!

    • Kristen

      Oh, Dana! Definitely praying…and thank YOU for your sacrifice and service! You are a treasure.

  • Jamie @ Six Bricks High

    Oh Kristen, your words are sweet encouragement. I’m all too often resistant to the new and clinging to the familiar.

  • Lauren

    I totally understand this! My husband is in the Army and we are stationed at Fort Bliss in El Paso, TX. Most people don’t realize that El Paso is the absolute TIP of west Texas, and really doesn’t look like the rest of Texas at all. It is also a barren desert located close to one of the most dangerous cities in the world. It has been a literal and figurative desert wilderness time for me, but I took a stand not to wander it for 40 years! I’ve learned so much, and praise God we are now moving to a sub-tropical location in just a month! I hope you’re able to continue to learn and grow in your faith, as well as become accustomed to this crazy military lifestyle. It can be very rewarding if you open your heart to it! Praying for you and your family :)

    • Kristen

      I love your attitude, Lauren! And YES! I absolutely adore this military lifestyle, and I wouldn’t trade it for all the green grass and tall oaks in the world! :) HUGE thanks to you and your man for serving!

  • lauren

    This is the second time today that I have read this verse… once through Klove and then through your devotion. I am starting a weight loss challenge, trying to eat new things to better myself, and there have been lots of changes in my job as I start the new school year. Feel like God is telling me, “Hey, Lauren… It’s ok. It may be new, but I’m not. I’m the same.” Thank you, Lord =)

    • Kristen

      Oh, Lauren! Your words give me goosebumps! The season may be new, but our God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. L*O*V*E! You bless me!

  • Missy June

    I’m choosing to view this season of my life, which includes many losses (spouse, security, position, etc.) as a renewing time. I have lost much but am confident God will birth new and wonderful things in my future … thank you for the reminder that it can happen exactly where we may least expect it. Isn’t our God just that good?

  • Holley Gerth

    Oh, Kristen {tears} I needed this today, my friend. Thank you for watering my thirsty little heart today. You are a treasure!

  • Christine

    I live in Arizona and often wonder why Jesus decided to live in a hot, arid climate while He was on earth. Of all the places to live! (and there was no central air back then!!) So I gather olives off the olive trees that are near me and cure them when in season. I wonder if Jesus did the same when He lived at home with His mom and brothers and sisters. I eat assorted grains that He might have eaten and I love humus. I sometimes think He’s placed me here to toughen me and train me in ways that might not have been accomplished if I was someplace else. (Like up in the cool mountains in a little cottage in the woods, which would be my dream location!) I can say one thing for sure, He has given me a lot to work against, much like a body building has to lift weights to build muscle. He’s placed me where I have to build spiritual muscle. I’m still a work in progress and I don’t see the end yet.

  • Kristine

    “I didn’t think it possible to bloom in the desert, but God specializes in unearthing breathtaking blessings in the bleakest of environments.” This really stood out to me and was a timely reminder as I have been feeling some discouragment during this period of waiting in several different areas.
    Thank you for blessing me today with this.

  • MCH

    Thank you so much for this. I am so needing to hear from God LOUDLY. I keep coming here cause it helps me through rough times. I am a 38 year old single which is so hard. I am working hard at life, trying to find some contentment where I really want to meet my husband and be a house maker. It’s a very hard season. I am praying so much about all of this and I so want God to make me lighter and help me in this season of waiting. But how much longer…. it’s hard to have heart’s desires…. and then seeing it all take place around you, just not in your own life.

  • Sarah

    Thank you for this. We are in the process of changing churches (after 20 years!). I know God wants us to leave but it is BEYOND Hard! It’s hard to trust Him when we can’t see what’s coming…

  • kendal

    fighting discontent seems to be my SOP lately. my husband left the business world for missions work! exciting? yes! big pay cut? absolutley! as we struggle financially, i fight for joy. but i’ve learned major, awesome lessons in faith and trust.

    so glad you have found community where you are.

  • http://www, Jennifer Jones

    Your words touched my heart! I have felt in a holding pattern for quite some time now. Getting a “just wait” answer from God has been a hard lesson, but these verses were the ones he gave me with that answer. Thank you for sharing.

  • Karen

    Wow. what a blessing this entry was to me!! I am not a military wife – I am a pastor’s wife… well, the wife of a pastor in between churches…And I am in a desert, very similar to what you described. You have encouraged me today. thank you.

  • Gretchen

    Kristen, I can’t even tell you how much your words were a balm on my soul. It’s amazing how God knows when you need something so desperately… I’m in the Army and currently deployed to Afghanistan. Jesus and I have always had a beautiful, crazy relationship and I know this is where He intends for me to be, but this {literal and figurative} desert has been harder than I ever thought it would be. Being the lone female surrounded by hundreds of infantrymen, few of whom are Christians, can be a bit… Challenging. I’m often times left wondering how I got here and where God went in the midst of this desert.

    But on a rare occasion that I got internet access today, I happened upon your post while looking for anything pretty on the internet (Pretty isn’t yet recognized in the Army, if you can imagine!). It took all my energy to hold back the tears that sprang to my eyes in this room full of men. You wrote right to the core of my heart and reminded me that God is working in this place and that He is changing me and will bless those changes. I know that, but just got a little lost in the sandstorms. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

    • Kristen

      Oh, Gretchen! {tears} What a light you are to those in your circle of influence! What a gift your words are to this community, and what a gift your service is to your country. Truly. I’m praying Psalm 139 for you right now. May you feel Him hem you in as you see everyday signs of His Light. Much love and hugs to you, sweet Sister, and thank YOU for blessing us here today…

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  • Jill

    Wow. I just found this and it is amazing. Amazing!

  • Jen

    I adore this post!!