20140715-AnnaRendell-calm

My tea is hot, steaming in the cup set on an old apple crate beside my armchair. Soft piano music drifts out of my sons room, where he’s cozy asleep in bed. Crickets are chirping outside, and the birch trees across the pond rustle in a breeze. The setting perfect, I open the laptop and stare at the screen, blank and bright. The cursor blinks as if it’s expecting a next move and I know I’m letting it down.

I have no next move. I’m totally empty, utterly spent, not a word to be found in my brain or heart or fingers.

But the cursor doesn’t know that, and demands to march on. I half-heartedly clack away at the keys, flailing wildly for any thought that might make sense outside of my own head. I am sure none of them do. This heart that has always penned its feelings is dry, chalkboard dust all that remains of words. There’s been no great catastrophe, nothing life-altering to make my heart shrivel. I’m simply weary with the daily, the diapers and too-fast days and spilled juice, meetings and deadlines and full squares on the calendar.

There’s no room to just be and I am drying up.

Feeling dried up scares me. How am I supposed to teach my children, write blog posts, lead a devotion in my MOPS group, if I am running on fumes myself? A re-fueling of my heart seems impossible because there’s no time to go sit in a quiet sanctuary, on a dock at a lake, in a field of wildflowers. The perfect setting is fleeting. This is real life, people, and real life is messy and full of blinking cursors. Real life is loud, and I think I’m afraid that if I stop and be still, underneath the chatter, there won’t be anything worth saying. I forget that He calls us to stillness, to a deep sense of calm. That He speaks most clearly when I am most quiet. That even in my dryness, He shines clear.

When we are most dried up, He is able to do some of His finest work.

For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
- Isaiah 43:19 (NLT)

Those verses make me shiver with anticipation. Real life forces us to be still and know despite the dryness we feel. Our hearts may be covered in a thick coating of dust. We may be scared – to speak, to write, to be still. We may not see the new works, the new pathways, the rivers flowing. We may see nothing but wasteland from the horizon to horizon of our lives.

Even then, He is at work creating. In us and for us, He is working. And in spite of the blinking cursor and volume of our real life noise, we can be still and know that to be truth.

Tell me – in what ways is God creating new pathways in your life?
Do you see the ‘something new’ He is working on for you?

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  1. 1

    Anna,
    A year and a half ago I was in the recliner after knee surgery. I was given instructions to not even put weight on it for a month. No walking without crutches (which was extremely awkward at best), no driving…I was in a desert wasteland. It forced me to be still. In the stillness came the inspiration to start my blog (my stream in the desert) and it has been a true lesson in God’s faithfulness, love and provision.

    Ironically after foot surgery (this time) I’m being called to help on a grass roots level to help start a Christian School in Pakistan where childhood labor and slavery are prevalent. I’m not exactly sure where this stream is going to lead…but I feel called to follow.

    I am also learning that sometimes I am so stubborn that God has to go to great lengths (surgery) to get me to just be still…I’m working on this. Thanks for the call, this morning, to be calm and still so that I can hear His voice.
    Blessings,
    Bev

  2. 2

    He never stops working and shining in us although our feelings say different at times. It is in knowing and trusting who He is and through the reading of His Word that those times are made easier as we journey through them. TRUST HIM. He loves us so!

  3. 3

    I’m in a dry place too, friend. Between pregnancy hormones and keeping up with normal life, I’m spent. God is showing me in this place how deeply I need him. No amount of sleep or proper eating or vitamins will put my spirit right — only Him. I don’t know where these streams in the desert are leading, only closer to Him, with less of me. Thanks for your words, especially when they’re hard to come by.

    • 4

      Amanda- you are so right: “No amount of sleep or proper eating or vitamins will put my spirit right — only Him” . I’ve fallen prey to thinking I can fix myself so many times… and then fall flat on my face… and He fixes me. It’s a beautiful thing.

  4. 5

    I’ve been in that dried up wasteland with nothing left to give before…It’s not a good place but every time I find myself there, I seem to run across this verse : )
    Thanks so much for sharing your struggles and confirming for us all that we are NOT ALONE!
    I’ve got a new pathway working in the “attitude” department… and I know God’s hand was on our committee as we just finished calling a new pastor to our church!
    Blessings on all you gals today!

  5. 6

    God used Chronic illness to get my attention and to help me realize that I needed to slow down and quit striving, and start depending solely on Him. It has been quite a journey, but I would not trade the things that I have learned. Sometimes, what looks like a desert is really a place of renewal and refreshment. If we look past the trials and circumstances, we will see the things that He longs for us to see.

  6. 7

    “When we are most dried up, He is able to do some of His finest work.” AMEN. I am right in this shriveled place right now. Thanks!

  7. 8
    Edwina Cowgill says:

    Anna,
    Thanks for your blog today.

    I have no idea where the path that I’m on is leading. I had to resign my job on June 2, and have completed many job apps since then, with not one single response. I am trusting God . . . not always easy. I am sure I’m supposed to use this time to grow closer to God, to spend more time with him, and yet, I’ve not done so. Now, I’m scheduled for surgery this Friday, and as Bev said in her post, it’s one way God will slow me down.

    Why is it that we know what we’re supposed to do, yet we don’t do it?

    Blessings,
    Edwina

    • 9

      Praying for you, Edwina, for a successful surgery and a speedy recovery! May you do great things after this period of being still :)
      Blessings,
      Bev

    • 10
      Beth WIlliams says:

      Prayers for a successful surgery. May God guide the doctor’s hands and bring about complete healing. May He also bring about a slowing down & resting in Him.

      Prayers that a good job will come about soon! God is good ALL the TIME! We just have to wait on His timing!

      Blessings :)

  8. 11

    I feel like all of you have been in the room with me this morning. In January of this year I had a near death experience which brought me to the realization that God is not finished with me and the He had an awesome assignment for me. I began a blog and I am constantly second guessing myself on whether or not I am to be doing this. I have so much to share but the words sometimes don’t seem pretty enough to hit the publish button. Thank you for allowing me to see that I am not the only one who has doubts when it comes to their assignment. God Bless each of you.

  9. 12

    Anna,

    How encouraging it is to know I’m not alone in my Journey to Rest. In my weariness. In being overwhelmed! Your words brought such comfort to my heart. Thank you! ♥

  10. 13

    Anna- this is your hair stylist;) I love this. I think some of the most impact flu blogs to read are those written with humility, honesty and allow God to shine through in out weakness! This spoke to me in many ways. Especially because I came out of a strong season of harvest. Entering into another dry time is due to stress, and filled calendar squares as you mentioned. Love the verse you shared! Dead on! Speaks to so many of us, especially us women:) keep in posting!

  11. 14

    Sorry, t9 autocorrect** haha

  12. 15

    Yes, the dry places can be scary, especially when we gain a break from the everyday in a place of rest and even that is not enough of and by itself. It is onlyJesus who brings refreshment in the deep places we barely recognise. I am also encouraged thatJesus withdrew into desolate places to meet with God and he understands our dryness

  13. 16
    GranSarah says:

    My son, James, just lost his ministry job. I know he feels shaken and wonders how he will move through the dry places. God has a place for him and his family. Please join me in prayer as they find God’s place.

  14. 17

    Oh, Anna…How well I relate. I too have a blog that has lately been so difficult to write because I’ve been all “dried-up.” God reminded me Saturday that when I’m feeling overwhelmed His grace can overwhelm me…It seems everywhere I turn in the blog world there has been a sense that so many of us are feeling it. Thank you for reminding me I’m not alone. This was a blessing to me. And the verse? Oh the sweetness of God’s word. I will be memorizing this one…

  15. 18

    My something new is actually a blog: http://www.everydayfaithandfitness.com It’s been a couple years in the making, but just in the last couple months, He’s placed it on my heart to be obedient (even though I don’t really know what I’m doing!)

    I just wanted a way to share thoughts on how my passion for fitness connects with my love for Jesus. My hope is that it will serve to be informational, encouraging, and somewhat entertaining.

    I’ve just begun this blogging journey – and I’m frankly aware of how many bloggers are weary, stepping back, simplifying. I’m trying to keep my eyes and heart open, here from the beginning, in an attempt to lessen the seemingly inevitable burnout you speak of.

    Praying you find a downpour of drenching refreshment :)

  16. 19

    Up to your fourth paragraph? How I feel right now. Exactly.
    Thankful I kept reading :)

  17. 20
    Debi Schuhhow says:

    Lean into God Anna. He can accomplish more in one second of His Rest than in years of our toil. I am becoming more intimate with this truth.

  18. 21

    Oh yes! With a job that has all of a sudden (?) been dumped on its side and nothing tangible to hold onto, the automatic-yet fleeting- feeling of fear has been replaced by calm and peace. I hear God continually saying….Be still…Trust Me (not them)…I know what I am doing…. So, every day I trust that He truly is working all things together for the good of this one who loves Him….He is working it out. So every day I walk in, do my job-prayerfully well- believing that something is going to change, all for the good. My God loves me, this I know.

  19. 22

    I wouldn’t say I’m in a dry place; it’s more like a Kansas highway–straight and the same, mile after mile! But your words give me renewed hope: “God is at work creating. In us and for us, He is working.” I just need to persevere and keep on the road. Kansas WILL come to end! Thank you, Anna!

  20. 23

    I just love this community that I see here among women. This empty, anxious space in life is one that so many of us know- myself included. There is such comfort when someone says “Me too.” Thanks for doing that here, Anna. And for reminding me “Even then… He is at work creating.”

  21. 24

    You have written what so many of us who call ourselves authors/writers/bloggers experience. The no-words syndrome. I went through it a couple of years ago. One day I told the Lord that I had no words to write, even though He had called me to write. Clear as a bell, into my heart, He said, “You may not have words, but I do.” Out of that time came a blog series entitled ‘When Words Won’t Come’. It focused on Scripture, and how that particular Scripture spoke into my heart. Out of that blog series came a devotion book, by the same name, that was published in 2013. The blinking cursor just might be God’s way of saying to all of us, “I’ve got it.”

  22. 25

    I just love this Anna! Real life is full of blinking cursors…so true and such a powerful visual. Thank you for this right now as they blink-blink-blink at me!! But He is paving a beautiful pathway and maybe some of those blinks are His little winks. I’m counting it all as grace. Blessings!

  23. 26

    I love when God blows you away in a moment of weakness, dullness, and blinking cursors. In an intimate way that only He can, he makes sense of the innards of the heart so you can share what you did here :)

    Our oldest is about to start pre-K at big kid school in a couple of weeks. (We are in Georgia and start back early). God is working in me, training, teaching me new degrees of discipline as our household schedule will change. My husband, a school teacher, is also starting a new position. We will all be up and out far earlier than we are used to. I’ll have the daycare run, the school run, myself to work, then it all over again after 8 hours of work. It will be fine, but the thought of it makes me exhausted and anxious. But God will bring about new from it! I am faithful. I have to be because if not, I’m just neurotic. And that’s just annoying.

  24. 27
    Beth WIlliams says:

    Anna,

    Your post describes my hubby and I perfectly. As if my year wasn’t tough enough dealing with my aging father-moving to assisted living, medication issues, etc. We got some iffy news in June. All this while I’m working a job I don’t like and dread going to daily. We are both in a dried up state of mind.

    God works in mysterious ways. In my daily Bible reading (read through Bible 1 year) I came to Isaiah 43:19. It spoke volumes to me. While we both feel like we are in a wilderness of sorts–God is working to create new pathways and do
    something new and exciting. We just have to sit still, wait on His perfect timing!!

    For I am about to do something new.
    See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
    I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
    I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
    – Isaiah 43:19 (NLT)

    Blessings :)

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