Transformation in the wilderness is a story bursting the seams of my heart — a change I want you to know.

I have not always been a woman in pursuit of God.

I have not always chased after God; instead, I acquired religion.

It is only by His good grace and redeeming love I am here.

Dearest Reader,

Can we get real today? I came to my keyboard, journals and Bible opened with a plan, a good idea. Then, I prayed. I can’t tell you that it is always my habit as I approach this time. However, I am a girl who has an agenda. Almost all the time. It’s a sickness. And as much as I would like to rid myself of physical pain, the challenges of P.O.T.S, and the many layers that come with chronic disease; the truth is I would much rather feel the freedom of setting aside my agenda.

Let’s begin at the beginning to the small girl in a wooden chair, memorizing the books of the Bible, grinning at the many gold stars by her name.

I was a good girl. It was all about the gold stars. You know her, freckled, timid, and painfully quiet. I was desperately doing everything right to make up for all the wrong my alcoholic father inflicted in our home until I crossed the line at the tender age of seventeen.

A junior in high school, shaking in my saddle oxfords, terrified. I married the boy soon after my junior prom a story for another time.

Skip forward a year, the small, freckled girl, now a woman-child, walked across the stage collected her high school diploma, with honors. She plucked her rosy-cheeked, chubby boy from her mother’s lap, proceeded up the steps, and walked into her life.

So much happened in between then and now, but what I want you to hold onto is this: I have a high school diploma. That’s it.

I do not have a seminary degree, any theological training, or Bible classes beneath my name. However, I love the Word of God. I’m a woman transformed by the wilderness through my love for His Word.

The change happened when I traded in my pearls, Capri pants, sweater set, and checklist.

Years back, I was good at playing Christian and reading my Bible every day. Check it off the list, moving forward without a clue as to what I just read. Oh, I knew all the stories, the right “addresses” to send you to in your moment of need.

I talked a big game and walked the walk. And then, the storm came. Not one, not two, nor three, but many. One after another and I sank. I had nothing firm to stand on. I had religion, not a relationship.

Dearest One, let me tell you what I know:

Religion alone will only take you so far. It’s just as Jesus says in his parable of the man who built his house upon the sand.

“Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house. Yet it didn’t collapse, because its foundation was on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and doesn’t act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, the rivers rose, the winds blew and pounded that house, and it collapsed. It collapsed with a great crash.” Matthew 7:24-27 (CSB) 

Transformation in the wilderness came through prayer. 

Following the storms that blew me under, I began to pray from God’s Word. I knew this time had to be different.

I prayed, “Lord, make You and Your Word the delight of my heart.” (from Psalms 37:4)

Simple yet effective.

Is my body healed? No. Are the hardships and difficult situations in my life still there? Yes. Am I in physical pain twenty-four hours a day, every day? Yes.

The heartbeat of why I wanted to go deeper into God’s Word, deeper into my relationship with Him, is rooted in that.

I cannot, nor do I want to live this life, or my days, short of my relationship with Him.

My transition from religion to relationship grew through praying God’s Word.

Digging deeper into God’s Word with the expectation that He will feed me, confront my heart, and prayerfully change me.

“Create in me a pure heart, O God.” Psalm 51:10 (NLT)

My journal of prayers directly from Scripture has grown over the years.

Transformation in the wilderness happens when you are willing to pick up your metaphorical garden spade determined to grow something worthwhile.

Since 2012 I have kept a quote on the bulletin board in front of my desk. It’s from Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts. It says this:

“Change takes real intentionality, like a woman bent over her garden beds every day with a spade and the determined will to grow up something good to strengthen the heart.”

If you are a Momma of Littles-AKA-“The Poptart Season” (smile), a working Mom, single Mom, empty-nester, morning person, or night person and your life is full to overflowing with things to do. More than you can do. Lean in close and hear me when I say this:

Whether it is five minutes, fifteen minutes, one hour a week, or your Bible is laid open on the kitchen counter and you catch a word on the run, or while you tend to a hundred and two needs-whatever you invest, God will multiply. Trust Him with the math.

I am here to encourage you, equip you, and guide you as you redefine your wilderness. You can comment below or send a private email to tlmashburn@yahoo.com.

Your Wilderness Guide,

Here is a printable with a prayer from Psalms 119:

A Prayer Printable

 

PS: If you have been following my Instagram Stories, by now, you’ve heard about the H.E.A.R. Method and H.E.A.R. Journal. I would love to have you join me on this journey. The H.E.A.R. Method of studying the Bible has taken me more in-depth than ever before! If you would like to learn more email me at tlmashburn@yahoo.com 

PS: My first book, Mornings In The Word, is available now. Order your copy today.

“There is no space to live well or love well, much less pursue the God who created us to be in fellowship with Him. We close the gap between what we need and what we want with more. Our spinning lives and broken hearts are empty while appearing full. We paste a smile on our face and tell anyone who asks we are okay while inside we are shattering a million different ways.” -Mornings In The Word