April 04, 2017 · Personal


I have been living life in what I have termed “The Wilderness” for exactly two years now.  With the timing of entry into that barren wasteland falling close to McSweets‘ due date, initially I thought it was the grief.  Another round of mommy tears as I grieved a day I would not be having…a day where I should be seeing my baby’s face for the first time.  A day and a dream and an entire lifetime with my little McSweets shattered by another heart that stopped beating months before.

It was not until The Wilderness started to feel more like where I was going to grow some roots rather than a place I was passing through, that I succumbed to the harsh reality that I was about to unpack and stay a while.  This journey was turning into a destination and I soon realized this was about so much more than grief.  My earthly support system as I had known it…was about to crumble.

For two years, I withdrew.  Not by my choosing, but because God was literally stripping me of the comfort of community and squelching my ability to be anything for anybody…but Him.  I closed myself off.  Rarely interacted on social media.  Unplugged from my church, community and relationships.  Still there in person but not fully PRESENT and invested.

To the outside world…I went dark.  In reality, I had the Light and He wanted my full attention.

When God is pulling you close, He may be stretching you further from the distractions of the world…just for a time…so that you can fully wrap your arms around Him.  God does not put you in The Wilderness so you can bring all of your friends and family along with you.  Your “people.”  Though it is vast and wide and stretches from one horizon to the other, the occupancy out there is still only for two.  He wants to make sure HIS voice is the only one you hear.

Since losing Owen, I was almost afraid to LET it be us.  Simply me and my Heavenly Father.  I had worked through SO MUCH in my relationship with Him after watching my son take his last breath.  I *NEEDED* that earthly support system.  What if at the end of all of this, after I let go took the plunge and said, “Ok, Lord.  It’s just me and You,” he WASN’T enough without everyone else to supplement?  How do I come back from that?!

Can I tell you?  He IS enough.  All on His own.  I know, because I’ve gotten to know Him pretty well in The Wilderness.  He showed me that nothing…NOTHING…can experience growth without HIS hand.  All ya’ll that are holding tight to your “people” right now tighter than you are clinging to Christ?

You’re missing out.  

The Wilderness is a training center. For 730 days, God was shaping me.  Rebuilding me.  Strengthening me and refining me.  Showing me gifts and talents unique to ME that I never saw in myself before, and reinforcing the areas that were weakened by the enemy’s lies over the years.

Big things started happening in my heart and in my life.  Not earthly things.  Eternal things.

Just this past month, God boldly called me out of The Wilderness.  Finally.  He asked me to say “yes” to positions of leadership that I would have said “heck no” to in the past.  The last two isolating years of leaning in to Him have been prepping me for THIS season…and I am ready.  My time in The Wilderness transitioned from a pity party to a launching pad.

Standing at the edge of that Wilderness with my bags at my feet, there was a moment of, “Do I have to leave?” as I reflected on how much I fought against all that this place had to offer me.  An air of bittersweet.  Taking one last look around, not knowing when I will be back again.

It was during this final farewell that I felt God speaking loud and clear.

“Nicole, I know you ache with the desire to have a family.  I know.  It is coming.  BUT.  Right now I am asking you to step into these positions and invest in the lives of children that are not your own.  Love on them with the tender, mommy heart I have given you.  I want you to tell them about ME.  Equip them to be My disciples.  Use what I have strengthened and called out in you.  It’s ok.  You can go now.  Our time out here has come to an end.”

The Wilderness just changed the sheets and hung its vacancy sign, friends.

Are you next?



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