The Lord whispered to me while rolling over in pain in bed one night and said "Joseph's gift was perfected in his wilderness." All that week I had been studying Joseph's life between the pit and the palace, but my focus was on all the times the scriptures noted "And the Lord was with Joseph." Mainly because I'd been sort of in a wilderness of my own for almost 2 years now now and sometimes it's been hard to see, feel, or hear the Lord. Anyway, having found comfort that in all Joseph went through, the Lord was with him, I was pretty much done with my study of Joseph, or so I thought.
But that whisper in the night sparked renewed interest in my Old Testament hero. After further study I realized that while in slavery Joseph's gift of leadership and organization blossomed. And while in prison his gift of interpretation of dreams matured to the point that he found himself called before Pharoh himself. The act of exercising his gift for Pharoh - interpreting Pharoh's dream - was a blessing in disguise. In doing so Joseph saved a nation, gained his freedom, received elevation/promotion, found a wife, and his name went down in history for thousands and thousands of years to come.
I am sure that when he was dropped into the pit, sold into slavery, and thrown into prison, Joseph couldn't imagine that a brand new life would one day be his. A new life, a new job and a new family. All because of the gift God gave him. He was faithful over a few things - those few things being his gifts - and God made him ruler over many (Matthew 25:21. 23).
Pictured below are a few of my wilderness blessings. Some are internal and cannot be photographed. Yet, even as I type this, James 2:17 comes to mind: Faith without works is dead. My wilderness journey began when I lost my job on July 1, 2015. After the shock wore off, after the pain and shame subsided, I remembered that like Joseph, the Lord was with me. I went back to work part time that fall, but was let go again in June of 2016.
But then I remembered the gifts that God placed in me. And I remembered regardless of where I am in life - on the mountain top or in the wilderness - I must remain faithful to my calling, exercise my gifts, and not bury my talents in the sand. So I got to work. I re-released two previously published chapbooks as full length memoirs and finished three new titles that had been sitting on the proverbial shelf gathering the dust of the last two decades. By the end of 2016, I was the author of six books.
Something else also happened in June of 2016. God shifted something in the atmosphere that I didn't realize the significance of until earlier this month. You see, in May of 2013 I was invited as a guest author and lecturer at a senior living facility. Honored and excited, I had a book signing in celebration of my first book, a collection of inspirational poetry, A Time To Write. The topic I spoke on was My Life in Rhyme: Nine Poets Who Moved My Heart and Pen. It went over so well that I was invited back to conduct quarterly poetry readings. Two years later I was asked to expand the poetry reading sessions to include writing exercises and then in June of 2016 I successfully launched a Memoir Writing Class. On the 22nd of this month the first member of that class released her memoir and had a book signing at the senior living facility.
Truly, God has been perfecting my gifts in the wilderness.
If you are in a wilderness season in your life, don't neglect the gifts God placed in you. Allow God to perfect your gifts in while you are in this season. Remember, even in your wilderness, God knows the plans He has for you, plans to prosper you, not to harm you, to give you hope and an expected end (Jeremiah 29:11).
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