I am ending the week where you might have begun. I’m still in Week 5 when the plan was to be in Week 6. Something has held me back. I get stuck on words and sentences. I find myself fitting my own life experiences and patterns into the scenarios of the scriptures. I stop. A lot. I pray.
And I realized.
For ten years, I have tiptoed around this topic in my writing like a dancer struggling to ground herself: Faith.
It’s no wonder. I struggled in dance too—too jittery upside down to ground. Judgement, my own and others, interfered with finding freedom. And so too, in writing. It’s difficult to write and dance with chains.
He has not led me on the short path because if I had faced struggle too soon I might have changed my mind and returned to Egypt. So He led me through the desert and He equipped me for battle. With Shoes and Sword, Helmet and Breastplate, Belt and Shield He equipped me. But I wasn’t very good with all this Equipment. I really didn’t understand how to use it. I was anything but graceful. I fumbled foolishly.
But He was with me. He went ahead of me to guide me on my way, even by night He gave me Light so I could travel day or night. He never left me. He showed me where to stop to allow others to think I was wandering around in confusion—hemmed in by the desert—to think they had the upper hand over me and could pursue me. When all along, it was Him pursuing me. All this to show His glory. To show them He is the Lord Almighty.
The opposition continued to take a stand against me, fearing the loss of my service. An army came after me. What a battle that was. It came after me with such force, using its best tactics.
God had hardened their hearts. Though I had stepped out boldly at first, they pursued me and they overtook me. I became terrified and cried out to the Lord, Why have you brought me to this? What have you done by bringing me out of Egypt? Didn’t I say for so long, leave me alone! Let me serve Baal! It would have been better for me to serve him than to suffer this here now with you!
But He said then, Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see my deliverance. The Egyptians will never overtake you. You need only be still. Why are you crying?
Yet still, He hardened their hearts and they continued to pursue me.
Then the angel of God, who had been in front of me went behind, coming between us. He held them back so that He could clear the way for me. Finally, like the water of a sea dividing, my path was cleared before me, and I made it through the rough waters, with walls of protection on the right and on the left. I made it safely to new dry ground, leading me on to Canaan. I never imagined it would be that tough to follow Him.
But can you believe even then the Egyptians continued to pursue me? They were relentless and followed me during the last watch of the night. The Lord looked down on me in tenderness and mercy. He saw my battle wounds, He knew my anger, He was well aware of my grief. He showed me His mercy and threw the army into confusion with a single Hand—with His Right Hand they were swept away. And I went through this battle too.
It took many years for me to learn to lift my eyes up above the situations I found myself in—the work, the stress, the relationships—to realize the real battle had been fought from above and below. I thought they had been pursuing me, the Egyptians, but it was Him—the Lord God, my Savior. It was His pursuit of me.
Now, with His Right Hand on my right hand—my writing hand—He has spoken to me in poetry. I have found my grounding in the Tree of Life. My Poet Tree.
He came and lifted me up out of the ashes of battle and turned my wailing into dancing—into poetry.
Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her; happy are those who hold her tightly. (Proverbs 3:18)
Text from Exodus 13 and 14
Photo credit: Bethany Legg