10 Lessons from a Desert Dweller

Sep 24, 2019 | Faith

A Letter from Me

Dear Readers,

The blog’s been quiet. My social media postings have been less frequent. The podcast is in between seasons. Things are quiet, and quiet is good.

I’ll be honest. The spaces of quiet aren’t luxurious. They aren’t filled by Instagrammy beaches or projects to be revealed on a big launch day.

The quiet is a necessity for my heart, soul, and faith. I’ve been a desert dweller longer than I care to admit. It’s taken it’s toll. One can’t bear fruit or grow if the spiritual and emotional reserves are dry.

God’s Plan

God has called me into a season of dormancy to refuel, store up, and replenish.

I’m not sure what that means, exactly, except that my mind and heart have to be quiet so I can hear from God, letting Him be the living water in my desert. I need to shut out noise–from social media, other people, pressure from the industry, and lies from the enemy. They’ve been feeding me a steady diet of things that aren’t good for me or the ministry to which God’s called me.

While in the desert, God is teaching me lessons about being in His service of waiting.

Lessons from the Desert

1.God wrote a book for those in the desert, titled Streams in the Desert by L. B. Cowman. 

2. God meets you where you are. I found Streams in the Desert going through old boxes. I almost threw the book away, but the title resonated with me. I’ve been using the devotional for a month. Every day a message speaks to my soul. (I didn’t know it was a classic!)

3. Less time on social media makes me more confident, secure, content, and grounded. A fast from social media makes me want to spend less time there. I realize the impact it’s had on me, most of which is not life-giving.

4. Quiet spaces allow you to hear your soul. Your soul it comprised of the mind, will, and emotion (Dr. David Schooler). That’s probably why busyness and mind-numbing social media fills so much of our time. The Christian community doesn’t do well with soul care. But Scripture does. Psalms, Proverbs, and many minor prophets sit with the soul.

5. Grounded, biblical truth is hard to find. Many contemporary platforms convey confusing messages about God, Jesus, the Bible, and humanity. To hear and absorb grounded, biblical teaching, one needs quiet places with God and the Bible, free from human persuasion. Messages and information from social media, podcasts, opinions, and biblically unsound teachers and preachers seep into our own beliefs and theology unless we intently compare them with the inerrant Word of God.

6. Humans need reciprocal relationships to thrive. Reciprocal means two ways, back and forth, give and take. Both entities mutually giving and receiving from another. Our relationship with God is reciprocal. He desires us to love and want Him and as He loves and wants us. We need human reciprocal relationships, too. They are essential for healthy personal and spiritual growth.

7. Vulnerability is both a risk and a gift to ourselves and others. When the environment is safe, a person’s vulnerability helps others heal, including yourself. God creates us to be vulnerable, first, with Him. When we do, it’s easier to trust those He’s put in our lives in reciprocal, safe relationships.

8. Without a quiet soul, we miss God’s movement. The world is SO LOUD. Popular messages about God tell us we have to do special things, have a special faith, or that God only speaks in miraculous ways. Therefore, if we don’t experience Him is a miraculous or mystical way, then he must not be fellowshipping with us. God still works in old-fashioned ways; unassuming answers to prayers, needs being met, quiet changes in us and others.

9. Dormant seasons are necessary for what’s ahead. Through a dormant hibiscus tree, God showed me that dark, dry places are essential for storing up energy and resources for right time to bloom. So if I say “no” or “not now,” it’s because God is replenishing my roots and branches in this dark, quiet place.

10. Waiting is different than giving up. I almost threw away that dormant hibiscus tree.  But God showed me I wasn’t to give up on it because He’s doing the same in my life. Giving up seems best when we are tired and weary. Pruning, waiting, and watering takes patience. It requires a commitment to the next season. Patience and commitment aren’t valued skills in 2019. But God values these qualities. He has a lot to say about pruning, waiting, and trusting what you cannot see (Hebrews 11: 1-6).

Join me in the desert

The desert is a lonely place. God invites us to dwell here. I’d invite you to join me. If you’re in need of an exit from the fast track or companionship in the slow lane, I’ll travel with you. I’m not sure what that looks like, other than I just shared my desert, dormant, and quiet season with you.

Perhaps my vulnerability gives you permission to breathe. To know you’re not alone.

I promise I won’t be like Job’s friends. I hope to be like Jonah’s broom tree, giving you shade when you want to run and give up.

Because you, readers, are that to me. (That’s reciprocity).






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  1. Ingrid Lochamire

    Thank you, Brenda. I sat with this today, nodding in agreement, and I’m with you in the desert. Such beautiful, life-giving words here.

    • Brenda L. Yoder

      Thank you Ingrid. I’m in good company.

  2. Amanda

    I needed to read this so much today and read Hebrews 11:1-6. Thank you for being vulnerable so that I know I am not alone in a desert seaon. I am joining you.

    • Brenda L. Yoder

      Praise God! You are not alone! Thank you for sharing this with us.

  3. Katie

    Thank you for sharing this piece of your heart and soul…wise and authentic.

  4. Lori

    I needed this so much today!! I also need that reciprocate relationship. Thank you for being brave and vulnerable in sharing your story to help us.

    • Brenda L. Yoder

      Thank you Lori! I appreciate your feedback and it made me smile to hear from you!

  5. Kate Motaung

    Thank you for sharing your heart, Brenda. May you continue to sense His constant nearness even in the desert. xx

    • Brenda L. Yoder

      Thank you, Kate. I am leaning into that closeness. Thank you.

  6. Monica

    Thank you for the permission to breathe. I so needed this today. This moment.

    • Brenda L. Yoder

      Thank you so much, Monica. Take a deep breath. Let it fill your soul. I am breathing with you.

  7. Julie Dibble

    Good morning Brenda, such wisdom you share here. I can remember watching one of your live posts in the past and truly appreciating your vulnerability, your speaking His truth without fluff. It is true … the world and oddly enough that includes the Christian community … is loud. I would add greedy. Everyone wants to be heard. I thank you for honoring God with your life and this season of commitment to listen to Him. May He honor your seeking. In Christ, Julie

    • Brenda L. Yoder

      Thank you, Julie. You, too, are a breath of an honest and true presence in these spheres of influence. I appreciate you. Thank you for your feedback.

  8. Jamelle

    I am joining you. I thank God for you and our special friendship. Much love my friend.

    • Brenda L. Yoder

      Right back at you, friend.

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