The word “nothing” is not often used in the vocabulary of a single mom. I never find myself thinking “I have nothing to do! No clothes to wash, no dishes to do, no toys to pick up and nowhere to be!” These are things we daydream about, if we even have time to think at all. But what about the other side of “nothing”? The side of isolation, stillness, and the unfamiliar. The stagnant wilderness of nothing. The place you might find yourself when your status of being a single mom goes on longer than you hoped. The place you never expected to be, because you thought everything was fine. The place that reminds you that you are not as far along in self-growth as you thought you might be at this point.
I recently found myself in my own state of wilderness. A vastness I saw no way out of. A time of loneliness and feeling stagnant in my situation. Asking God why things weren’t moving faster and hearing nothing in response. Feeling the echoes of rejection every way I turned. Feeling as though the confident person I had known myself as, had been traded in for a lesser version of myself. My wilderness caused me to lose confidence in myself in a way I had never experienced. Questioning every move, I made, tearing myself down and wondering how will I ever find my way out of this place and back to the version of myself I knew before.
This is the season I didn’t see coming. I fought with God everyday “Why nothing? Why not something?” I wanted to see changes that weren’t happening, feel the confidence I once had and get back to normal. I lost track of the times I thought to myself “Why do I feel this way? What is wrong with me?” What I learned surprised me, even though looking back it was so obvious. My wilderness was there to protect me. The Lord knew I couldn’t handle one more change, one more stress or one more emotion. The only thing that was wrong with me is that I was trying to balance life with my own strength. So he placed me in a season of weakness so I could learn his strength. He shielded me from the elements and gave me refuge. In this place of isolation, I became desperate for direction. Leaning on him as my compass and letting go of my own self dependence. I learned through my own efforts my confidence was fleeting and tied to my progress. But through him my self-worth was tied to nothing. I learned to stand confidently in the midst of the wilderness. Through his protection I was able to find grace when I was surrounded.
I am still on my journey out of the wilderness, but I see the clearing ahead and the denseness behind me. I wanted to share this image of wilderness because it took me a while to even realize what season of life I was even in. I felt lost in my own insecurities and distracted the busyness of life. Maybe you have found yourself in a similar situation, but haven’t found your way out yet. If so, recognize the season, embrace the stillness and trust you are being protected from elements you can’t see. There is another side to your “nothing” and you will walk into a clearing one day, take a deep breath and see the wilderness you left behind. Find his grace right where you are and you will begin to find yourself again.
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.
2 Corinthians 12:9