When God Brings You Into a Desert {part 2}

{part 1} tells the story of how I came to live in southern Belgium, and why I believe God brought me there. Surrounded by a serene farming landscape, I found solitude, stillness, and silence.

I could no longer ignore the feelings of anger,  self-pity, and despair I had suppressed over the years. These years became my Desert, an anonymous season in my life.

My story continues here.


I was tempted in my Desert.

Tempted to continue ignoring the darkness in my soul threatening to consume me from the inside out.

Tempted to take the anger out on everyone else in my life, but the One Person who could actually bear it and not be harmed.

Tempted to pretend that I was okay, when I really wasn’t.

Tempted to believe that being wounded served as an excuse for wounding others.

Tempted to give up on a faith in Jesus Christ that had always sustained me.

It was time.

Time to empty myself of all my pain, anger, and grief and lay them at the Cross.

Empty myself so that He could fill me.

But, this required communion and fellowship with God. This required me to be honest, humble, vulnerable and pride-less.

I had built up walls fortresses, fortified with self-pity, selfishness, resentment and bitterness.

It was going to take more than I could offer to unlock my soul.


Alicia Britt Chole, in her book “anonymous: Jesus’ hidden years…and yours”, labels these deserts that God brings us into as Anonymous Seasons or Hidden years.

Anonymous seasons afford us the opportunity to establish God as our souls’ true point of reference if we resist underestimating how he treasures our hiddenness and take the time to decide whose attention and acceptance really matters in our lives. (pp. 47)


Surrendering to hidden years enabled Jesus (and can enable us) to desire, above all, God’s company and not be distracted by life’s scenery. (pp. 56)


I had no choice but to surrender.

My time was now. 

I had to surrender in order to survive.

I struggled. Oh, how I struggled.

During the first few months of my time in Belgium, most days, I just wanted to curl up into a ball and hide until the sun came out again.

But, it rarely did.

Rain. Grey. Cold. Grey. Wind. Grey…

Yep, you get the picture.

This little Florida girl was in for a wild ride to redemption in the countryside of Belgium.


In what ways have you been tempted during trials in your life? Did you give in to the temptations? If so, how might your life look different now had you not? Looking back at those times of trial, what lessons have you learned that may help you in the future?

Consider the word surrender. Illustrate in your mind what it would look like to surrender temptations you face at the foot of the cross of the King Eternal.

Do you identify with words like self-pity, selfishness, resentment, and bitterness? If so, pour out those angry feelings to God. He can handle it! He wants to hold all of that darkness for you. As you rid yourself of your pain and anger, he promises to fill you anew with Living Water.

Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” (John 7: 37-38)


newly purposed,


This post originally appears at Finding Purpose in the Pain.

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