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Welcome to the Desert of Testing, Ice Cream in Aisle 3

March 5, 2012

The last few months, I’ve been a bit perturbed with myself. When did I become such a complainer? Was it when we found we had less than three weeks to move from one country to another? Hmm. What about when we arrived back in the States to find far fewer jobs than there had been when we left? Maybe. Or perhaps when the deadline for “waiting” came and went, and I started sending out my accounting resume.

That might be it.

Because, you know, who wants to go to a nice office job with a steady paycheck and people to talk to when you could stay home writing novels all by yourself, trying to promote your work into the 3-digit earning range?

This year for Lent we decided to “give up” an hour a day to read the Bible. I decided to start reading at the beginning and, let me tell you, if want to read about a bunch of whingers (one of my favorite Aussie words – it means “whiner”), the first hundred or so pages of the Bible is a good place to start.

In fact, it’s making me wonder about God’s teaching methods. “Kitty’s not getting the message. I think I’ll tell her to read something that hyperbolically reflects the problem I need her to fix.” And it’s beginning to not surprise me anymore.

When we moved to Phoenix, we did so because there were no jobs in Michigan. I’m not sure it occurred to me to find out what kind of jobs Phoenix boasted. That was one of the most difficult 7-year periods of my life. Definitely a desert experience.

If there’s one thing I learned, it’s that if you whinge and cry enough, God will eventually let up the pressure. And – because you tried to get out of school before the lesson was over – you have to go through it all over again at some point in the near future.


So here we are living in the desert again. Great. I particularly dislike the desert. Another Israelite experience? I’m beginning to think so. Being someplace you don’t want to be – whether literally or figuratively – brings just about everything to your attention, good and bad. But I’ve learned something I can use this time.

(Here God’s voice booming, “She CAN be taught!” Cue angelic singing.)

I’ve learned that if you dig in and focus, you can get through the lessons without crying uncle. Then the whole lesson-learning part doesn’t take as long. (Not as long as it takes to go around that mountain twice. Or five times.) It’s super helpful if you don’t complain a lot, too. God doesn’t like to be disrespected. (Who does?) He made that pretty clear to the Israelites and, via Bible reading, to me.

But try as I might, I’m finding it really hard to not complain. Regardless of the gazillion blessings I can count, I constantly find ways to bring up all the things that aren’t going the way I want them to. In fact, since I’ve been reading about the Israelites complaining about their experiences in the desert, I’ve been complaining about how much I complain!

I think this is an example of “the darkest hour is before the dawn.”

I’m learning how to turn my head just a bit so I’m not focused only on my desert-school life, and I see other signs of life. For instance, ice cream never tastes better than when it’s hot outside, right? And where is it hotter than the desert? Ice cream in aisle 3!

I’ve never had so many friends offer their love, encouragement, support, and help as during desert-school times. That’s chocolate ice cream with a peanut butter swirl to me!

So here I am, trying again to stop being such a whinger and buck up. The Israelites eventually figured out how to chill out, trust God, and learn what he was trying to teach them in both the good times and the bad. And they didn’t even have chocolate peanut butter swirl!

Surely I can learn from them, dig in, and master this lesson without having to take this class again. I just have to remember the things I like about hot weather – like the perfect taste of ice cream. 🙂


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