Practical Living through Biblical Principles

From Wilderness to Worship

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From Wilderness to Worship – By Denise Kennedy

Scriptural Text: Genesis 16-21

As a single parent, these past few weeks of staying at home for protection from COVID-19 has been challenging. I would be lying to you if I told you that it has not been a bit stressful. The expectations of delivering at my normal pace as a full-time employee, at the same time as making sure my daughter completes her daily classwork assignments and projects sometimes became overwhelming. There was a point when the pressure to be employee, teacher, parent and friend became so overwhelming that I felt I was left alone to navigate through this new “normal” that had become my wilderness place.

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines the wilderness as an “obsolete: Wild and uncultivated state.” That’s exactly how I would describe the place that I was in. It was a place that was completely untamed and out of my control, and definitely a territory of unknown possibilities. One day I began crying from all the pressure that had built up and I began praying to God. In that moment, God reminded me of His love for me through His daughter Hagar’s biblical story as a single mother.

Hagar was a maidservant to Sarah, a barren woman who was married to Abraham. Sarah had Abraham have sexual relations with Hagar so that Hagar could bare Abraham a child. In doing so, Hagar bore Abraham a son whom she named “Ishmael”. Overtime, Sarah grew angry with Hagar and they would bicker back and forth. One day Sarah told Abraham to throw Hagar and Ishmael out. Hagar was a single mother who was left to wander in the wilderness with her child with little food and water. At one point in their journey through the wilderness, the water was used up, so Hagar found a place to lay her son down as she cried and wept in fear of her son’s death. Her son also cried. It was in that moment of sadness and hopelessness that God sent an angel to tell her not to be afraid and that God hears her son’s cry. God said that He would make Ishmael a great nation and he opened up Hagar’s eyes and presented a well of water. God stayed with Ishmael as he grew up in the wilderness.

There are times when it can feel as though we are in a season of wilderness, especially as a single parent. I want you to know that God hears you and He sees you. God knows how great of a parent you are and the sacrifices you make as a parent and individual each day.  God will surely bless you and continue to cover you just as He did Hagar and Ishmael. As God was reminding me of Hagar’s story and His love for me, I just went into a heart-posture of thanksgiving and praise. I began to thank God for the things that I have and not focus on what I didn’t have. I thanked God for the roof over my head. I thanked Him for the choice of food I was going to cook for dinner. I gave praise for the job that I have and the flexibility that I have to telework to balance parenthood. During my praise, God had taken me from a wilderness place to a place of worship. When you change the posture of your heart, you change your perspective. When you change your perspective, you open the door to allow God to bless you beyond what you could think or imagine. It is important that when you find yourself in these moments, know that God sees you and that He hears you. When it gets frustrating and exhausting, begin to pray and give God thanks. Position yourself to a place of worship and watch God sustain you through your wilderness season.

Prayer: Gracious and heavenly Father, I thank you that your love for me is unconditional. Thank you for your peace that comforts me in the most challenging moments. God, I ask that in whatever the season I am in, that you would equip me to endure. Change the posture of my heart so that I am viewing each situation from a perspective of faith and thankfulness. Help me to move away from a place of worry, anxiety and frustration, to a place of praise and worship. It’s in your matchless name that I pray and ask in your son’s name. Amen.

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