Magnificent Desolution – Guest Writer Rebecca Qualls

Today I welcome guest writer Rebecca Qualls to my blog.  I first met Rebecca when she was my ‘buddy’ at my first Mt. Hermon Christian Writers Conference three years ago.  She took me under her wing and helped me navigate the conference, offering encouragement along the way  We remained friends on Facebook, sharing the ups and downs of life and writing.I asked her to share her writing talent with you, as I  take a break from writing.  Enjoy her post!

“Beautiful!  Beautiful! Magnificent desolation.”-Buzz Aldrin, American astronaut

It’s been eighteen months. Eighteen months since we left suburban California life and bought a home on six acres in the high desert of northern Nevada.
We live in a beautiful agricultural valley surrounded by several mountain ranges and tumble weeds. You never forget the first time the strong winds pick up a tumble weed and send it into your backside. It’s like a right of passage.
In fact, there seem to be a lot of those–rights of passage. Butchering chickens. Collecting eggs everyday. Getting up early even on the weekends to feed the animals. Rural life is, well, sort of like leaving Oz to live in Kansas.
But living in the desert takes pastoral to a whole new level. It’s stark, with mind boggling weather shifts, intensely dry, arid and windy. (And not coastal breeze windy. I’m talking dust storm windy. See note about tumbleweeds above.)
When we first got here, I couldn’t help but think of the Israelites. They lived in a beautiful and fertile place. Until Moses. He led them smack dab into the desert. You know the story, right? The parting of the Red Sea, the water gushing out of the rock, manna, not to mention, the roaming for forty years. Hours of Sunday School Bible class watching as the stories were told using cut outs and a large flannel board. I had heard the stories so many times, I thought I had a handle on what living in the desert must have been like. Boy, was I wrong.
Granted, I’m not wandering around like a nomad or gathering our only food source out of the yard every morning. I haven’t marched on a walled city recently; but even now, eighteen months later, I ponder the similarities.
Stark, dry, windy, desolate. And yet, beautiful.
As I began to make the comparison, I contemplated the reasons for God transplanting the Israelites into the desert.
“Why?” I asked many times in the barrenness. Why here? Nearly every time I did, I would encounter a photo op as resplendent as this one.
Why here? I thought I had a budding ministry back in California.
If a picture says a thousand words, God was answering my question in tomes. I didn’t understand it at first. We live here simply because it’s beautiful?
It’s been eighteen months and although I still don’t understand completely what God is doing, that’s no longer the issue. “Why” in the desert has a way of getting lost. It disappears behind each breathtaking sunset and indescribable cloud formation.
God’s response to my persistent question has been gentle and consistent.
Repeatedly He simply shows Himself. His glory and His simplicity. His majesty and His mystery. Creator God. Orchestrator of the Heavens.
The why is swallowed by Who.
In the manner God so often works, it goes even deeper. There are the people around us and the animals we have taken charge over. Here in the desert, our neighbors aren’t the people we simply wave to when we are mowing the lawn. They are the one’s who drop what they are doing to help you catch the sheep that just got loose. They are the one’s who know your kiddos are going to be walking home in the rain from bus stop so they  meet them at the road and give them a lift home. Neighbors in the desert are the one’s who laugh when you laugh and cry when you cry.
“Beautiful! Beautiful! Magnificent desolation!”
Sometimes it takes the desolation to see the magnificence. Sometimes it takes the contrast of grandeur in the middle of stark to demonstrate truth profoundly.
There are so many things that happen in our lives that take shape beyond the scope of understanding. We strive to understand, to make sense of the chaos. I don’t know that I will ever fully understand why, but I see who. I see Who made the grandeur, and I see who I get to share it with. And maybe that was part of God’s plan for the Israelites, too. It was time they saw and experienced a lot more who.
In your own desolation, can you see the beautiful Who?
Rebecca Qualls currently resides in beautiful and quite rural, Smith Valley, Nevada, with her husband and three children. Her debut novel, “Distressed,” is available on Amazon.

Distressed
Driscoll, a law enforcement officer and his wife Alex, have worked hard to build a life for themselves, but when Driscoll heroically rescues a man from a burning car, and their young son is rushed to the hospital for an unexplainable seizure, the two discover they have taken different roads. They must find a way back to each other or lose everything. This suspenseful and emotional story will show you the burdens a hero bears and the strength required to love.

To see Miriam’s Scripture art and greeting cards go to ‘my art’ above or www.giftsofhisglory.com

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