When we first moved here, I hated the desert. In fact, I had already decided BEFORE we moved here that I was going to hate it. And that decision wasn't made when I found out we were moving here -- I already knew I would hate living in this wilderness years before, when, as my DH and I drove through Wikiup, Arizona and we saw a big billboard advertising forty-acre lots for $15,000, he says, "Sal! Do you see that?! Look how cheap land is out here! We could buy forty acres and move here someday!" He sounded like he was joking, but somehow, at that moment, I just knew he would jump at the chance if it ever came along. If I remember right, I stared at him in disbelief, and when I got over my mild shock, with all my wifely submission having flown right out the window, I simply said, "NEVER." I swallowed hard. "There's nothing out here but rattlesnakes! There would be nothing at all romantic about living in this hostile wasteland!" I think I might have threatened to go home to Mother if he even thought about it. Sure, before we were married I agreed to go anywhere with him, told him I could be happy anywhere as long as we were together and all that romantic kind of talk, but I was assuming he would never want to live anywhere I wouldn't!
Well, you know what they say. Never say never. A few years went by, and we were living in Kansas. Once in a while I would see my DH poring over the Arizona page of the atlas, and I would give him one of those looks we women use. Little did I know he had actually been praying about moving out here! That's cheating, don't you think? Well, the opportunity did come and when it did, he was mentally ready to go. It was one of those "Honey, while you pray for us to know God's will, I'll start packing" sort of things.
So you see, my mind was already made up a long time ago. I just wasn't going to like it. ...Forward five years. Here we still are. Living in the desert has been exactly what I expected, except for the fact that we have not seen one live poisonous creature since we moved in. It's hot and it's dusty, it's brown and it's hostile, and, well, it's just men's territory. Men and boys love this stuff for playing in. I think it makes them feel manly. My DH gets on his mountain bike and climbs a grueling mountain "just because it's there", and I think maybe when he finds a wild and lonely place out there, he becomes Terrell Sackett (you have to know Louis L'Amour) until he has to make his way back down the mountain and back to his definitely non-Sackett wife.
But you know what? Something life-changing happened recently. I had a recollection of a day long, long ago, when I was maybe ten years old, when a missionary visited the church where I grew up. I remember hardly anything about her and nothing of what she said, but I do remember that I told the Lord I would go anywhere he wanted me to serve him -- except AFRICA!! Oh God, please don't send me to Africa! And the Lord was faithful to answer my prayer. He has not sent me to Africa. (Well, almost. But we don't have lions or hyenas here, and we don't have termites devouring everything made of wood.) When I thought about that, I felt very ashamed that I had come here with such a bad, unwilling attitude, in the very place where I knew he wanted me to be! Here I have been in rebellion against his will for nearly five years. No wonder I didn't like the desert. No one can be truly happy or content when they are in rebellion against the Lord. As much as I love the Lord Jesus Christ and want to be used of him, my heart simply was not submitted to his authority over me as his child.
I decided that I had to find some things about the desert to thank the Lord for, or else I was going to shrivel up and die out here, and it would be because of my own selfish attitude. I confessed my willfulness to the Lord, telling him I was sorry for my hard-heartedness, and immediately I felt a weight lifted from my heart. When I began to make a list of the good things about where I live, I could only think of one positive thing. LOL! (How pathetic!) Now I'm up to
1• We have no mosquitoes!
2• We have no grass to mow.
3• The climate is comfortably dry, at least after you get used to it.
4• Lots of sunshine.
5• No mold or mildew!
6• We have a clean, clear, algae-free lake.
7• No hurricanes/blizzards/earthquakes!
8• No snow, snow-shoveling, snow tires, salt-induced rust, heavy winter clothes.
9• My clothesline is the super, extraordinary rapid-dry model.
10• Gorgeous sunsets (due to all that nice dust in the air)!
11• There are people I love here!
3 again• The dry air really is comfortable after you get used to it. The cracked lips learn how to stay moisturized, and that sharp, pointy booger sensation in your nostrils goes away. And you quit drinking a gallon of water every half hour.
12• When it is -40°F in Minnesota, I will be enjoying 65° F! LOL! (Thanks for reminding me, Jane!)
13• Glorious fall mornings.
14• No neck ache from hunched shoulders, to keep the cold wind from blowing down my jacket.
15• No jacket!! (yet)
16• This time of year, all the windows are open at night.
17• Some interesting spiritual applications can be made here:
~"The rebellious dwell in a dry land" Ps 68:6. Oh me! (There are lots of rebels here besides me.)
~"But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert." Ps 106:14 Oh me, oh my!
~" Behold, as wild asses in the desert, go they forth to their work;" Job 24:5 We have quite a few wild asses locally, and I do mean this in the literal sense, lol.
~"For in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water:" Is.35:6,7 We're definitely parched around here.
~"Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:" We have lots of rough and crooked places around here (it's all rough and crooked!), and we have mountains and valleys, too!
~"Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited."Jer 17:5,6 It's definitely a salt land, and mostly uninhabited. I'm thankful to have a city here!
~And last, this one is a fright! "They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel: But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert. And HE GAVE THEM THEIR REQUEST; BUT SENT LEANNESS UNTO THEIR SOUL." Ps 106:13-15. This is why I never ask God to move us away from here -- I'm afraid he'll answer my prayer and give me something worse! lol!
I don't mind the desert so much any more. Heh heh, actually, I'm kind of glad to be here!