Ministry at a stand-still.
Words of truth gone unshared.
So what happens when the inbox is empty and the phone doesn't ring? Does "No news" mean "No use?"
Back in 1997, a woman spoke over me that my words would be used to bring healing and blessing. I thought she was a little bit crazy. Maybe even a lot crazy.
But then in 1999 at the end of one of the worst, scariest days of my life, I was asked to speak at a banquet about God's faithfulness. The timing seemed laughable--not at all in a "ha ha" sort of way. But the Lord used that raw, real, terrible time to bring forth the words that needed to be heard. I remember wondering if maybe there was something to the so-called crazy woman's words a few years earlier.
And then came the 10-year desert.
And in the desert I prayed. And wrote. And prayed. And went to writing conferences. And prayed. And went to speaking conferences.
And waited. And waited. And waited.
It truly seemed at times that NO NEWS really meant NO USE--that I wasn't being used by God, that I was never going to be used by God. At least not in this way.
On November 18th, I woke up in the morning after weeks and months and years of praying and preparing for something I had absolutely no guarantee would ever even come. Normally I'm up early and taking care of the kids--but this particular morning I had just kind of hit a wall. Justin sensed this and got the kids their breakfast while I struggled to even get out of bed.
All I could do was pour out my heart to the One who made it: "What is there to show for all of these years? Will there ever be a chance to share what you have been burning into my heart for so very long? Were those words spoken over me as a teenager true? I know you're using me as a wife and mom and in other areas--and I am SO grateful. But will you ever use my words?"
And then I used this very phrase:
"I feel like I am in a wasteland! A land of wasted passion and wasted time and wasted words!"
When I managed to drag my pitiful self out of bed, I grabbed my Bible and half-heartedly opened up to the book of Isaiah where I'd been reading for several weeks. I took the bookmark out of chapter 43 and read these words:
"See, I am doing a new thing; now it springs up--do you not perceive it?" (v. 19)
"Um, sorry--but NO, I do NOT perceive it!" I thought to myself. I probably even rolled my eyes, to be honest.
But He continued.
"I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. Because I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself, that they may proclaim my praise."
I provide streams in the wasteland, that they may proclaim my praise. That's all I wanted anyway!!
WITHIN THE HOUR of reading those words, I received an email from a dear friend. It was an invitation to speak at her church. I will never forget that moment--I must have read that email ten times. I was overwhelmed with gratitude.
Because, as it turned out, "No news" didn't mean "No use."
God has made a way to use what He has put on my heart. In the past year I have had some opportunities that have made me tremble with joy.
But I don't know what is next. I don't know what awaits. It may be another season of silence. And if so, then glory to God. He is faithful. Of course I want to be used, that I may proclaim His praise. But He's trustworthy.
And should I enter another "No news" season, I will know to rest in the One who was up to something when I could not perceive it--and fully trust the One who provided streams in my wasteland.