“Wilderness is not a luxury, but a necessity of the human spirit.”
There are many necessities we are faced with in life and wilderness journey’s are a big part of them.
As I step back in my mind and think of the highs and lows my husband and I have had as a couple in over forty years of marriage; it is hard to say ‘this one was the worst.’
The most recent difficult experiences have been when we both lost our parents. Each death presented to us new awareness of life and loss and what keeps us strong as a couple.
Many years ago one of the most difficult times for us was when we had to search out a new church. For some people that might be an easy choice, for us it takes a lot of watching, observing and listening. I tend to have a high gift of discernment and some places or Pastors do not serve me well.
Throughout our years we have been involved in many churches ranging from very conservative; using hymnals and wooden pews to charismatic and folding chairs. Each place brought lessons to us and experiences of growth we would not ever have known had we not gone there.
Our last church move was because the church fell apart and disbanded. My husband was an elder and we struggled through the responsibility and final decisions. When the church broke up it was a devastating loss for us. I remember crying and asking “Why?” over and over. We loved our Pastor and we loved many who attended with us. It was a huge journey of heartbreak and loss. Each of us had different levels of grief surrounding that experience. Having no church felt like a huge disconnect for us as we were conditioned in our spirit to have one.
We allowed ourselves time to rest and heal then we began the process of searching again. Grace chapel at that time had a Saturday night service and since I worked at a pharmacy on Saturday we thought it would be a great date night. My husband checked it out first and came home and told me I would really like it. Over twelve years ago we began to allow Grace chapel to be our home and we have never regretted that choice. We have journeyed through the change of buildings and Pastors and we value the integrity of the leaders.
Sometimes God allows a season of wandering so that we can see and know what is needed for our spiritual growth.
We still love and see many who went to our old church. It was a precious time for us. The memories we made while going there will always be a part of who we are as a couple.
Like the word has shown us through the Old Testament stories, our wilderness experiences allow us to see the hand of God through the process. Whether we are going through an emotional experience or family loss or church loss; we will all experience the grief.
It is how we handle that dark, unconnected place and how we allow our final outcome to become the story of blessing.
Sharon Osterhoudt has been married for over 42 years. She has two grown ‘children’ and six grand children. She and her husband have attended Grace chapel now for over ten years.
She is a creative author and blog writer of the blog: http://www.sharono-somethingtothinkabout.com/