Into the Wilderness by Noelle McBride

As I have studied the Old Testament I have been struck by a similar pattern in my own life as I read of the Israelites flight from Egypt, to their wandering in the wilderness and finally being permitted to enter the promised land.
As I pondered these experiences, I could see a pattern of entering into the wilderness over and over again in my life. Through a divorce, being single, a remarriage, blending families, the loss of a child, the loss of a parent. Again, and again the pattern repeats in my life.
A flight from Egyptleaving behind false gods.
The parting of the Red Seaa miraculous escape.
Wandering in the wildernessevery need provided.

Entering the Promised Land, making and keeping sacred covenants-
 A waiting periodlessons learned, testimony strengthened, gratitude for growth.
Then, the pattern repeatsand into the wilderness I return.
What is the point? Why does the Lord keep sending me into the wilderness?
I am learning the wilderness is designed to acquaint me with the nature of my Father in Heaven and the saving grace of the atonement of Jesus Christ.
The wilderness is my refiner's fire, it knocks off my rough edges and draws me closer to my Savior. The wilderness teaches me to become- more than I am. To become who my Heavenly Parents see me as. To become all that I can in this life. The wilderness forces me to stop focusing on what I am doing and instead turn my focus to who I am becoming.

Am I becoming more like Christ?
Am I becoming a better Wife, Mother, Friend, Sister, Aunt?
The wilderness invites me to my knees in supplication and pleading. In the wilderness I discover manna, quail and water pouring from rocks. Miracles that can only come from one source.
My pillar of light at night and cloud of smoke during the day that tirelessly points the way.
The way towards a promised land. A place flowing with milk and honey.
But first I must be prepared to enter. Prepared to receive the abundance.

I am learning that to receivea space must be made.
My trials, my wildernesscarve out this space
The space is carved out deep in my heart and it is painfulholes in my heart created by the wounds of this life.
Holes that feel as though they'll never be filled.
Holes that seem to be canyons gaping wide open to swallow me whole.
Crevasses so deep my heart is not just broken in two but shattered on the floor.
Oh, God, I cry in anguish. How can this be for my good? How can I ever recover all that is lost?
The answers come, slowly and haltingly. Sometimes the waiting is also painful.
Waiting for answers. Waiting for relief. Waiting for consecration.
I begin to receive, the answers come-some slow, some like rain, so fast I can hardly capture them all.
The wilderness has marked me as His. These experiences have changed me forever, pushing me to my limit and more.
I used to rail to the heavens while in my wilderness, to fruitlessly askwhy?
But now as I see this pattern emerge and once again recognize the signs of a wilderness. I know it is a wilderness designed just for me.
The wilderness is as an opportunity to sink my roots deeper.
An opportunity to ask, to wait, watch and rely.
I ask what I need to learn.
I wait for the answers.
I watch for the miracles.
I rely on the Lord for deliverance.

By Noelle McBride

More of Noelle’s experiences can be found in her book Beauty for Ashes: Divorce and the Latter-day Saint Woman (Available July 2022)