Meet Me In The Wilderness

Meet Me In The Wilderness

Audio clip

Written by Debbie Tingley Director of Hands to Heart Women’s Cooperative 

Sometimes, you are at a loss, loss of words to tell something just so unimaginable… and sometimes, He breaks your heart more than once for what breaks His.

Honestly, I have been wrestling with this since that morning that came upon our team, in the village of Huay Sai Luang, as we were told of a precious little boy of 6 years, who had passed early that morning in the village. I made my way up the road as tears started to well up in my eyes, to see if I could make out some details from a village woman who met me. She met my sorrowful eyes with hers as the head village woman came down to meet us and took my hand in hers, leading me up the Hill to a hut. As we entered the hut, my eyes were drawn to a most perfectly bundle of royal blue, lying on a straw mat. I knelt down at His feet, thinking out loud, ” Why oh why my Lord? Even though I knew it isn’t for me to question His timing or plan. I had so many questions, hard ones which probably will never be answered and I will have to be okay with that. 

They uncovered just His sweet face in a peaceful sleep and motioned for me to pray over the boy, which I was honored to do. I felt my lips quiver as I relied only on Him to give me the strength and words. I tried to find out who the parents were and now it is more clear to me what the villagers were trying to communicate. The boy was the beloved son of a mother who had just arrived in the village from Myanmar as a refugee. A grieving wife who had recently lost her husband, fearfully displaced from her home and country to a land leaving her not much better with poverty, disparity, isolation, racism, and now mourning mother over the loss of her precious little boy. Unimaginable. Our team prayed over them and the village. The villagers then quickly sized up the boy with a bamboo stick and began to forage for boards to embrace him with suitable coffin. I still did not know nor see who this little angel’s mother was. As I was starting to exit the hut I saw a woman humped over behind a stack of rice bags, watching me cautiously. I felt the Lord tug at my heart and made my way over to kneel down beside her. I gently placed my hand over hers and she looked up into my eyes with a penetrating gaze of great despair and sorrow. At that moment it was as if all time stood still. I felt her hand embrace mine as if to acknowledge my gesture. No words spoken but only felt from the deepest place of the heart. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4

Funeral procession of boy as they make their way up to mountain.

Mother and child were strangers embraced by a loving village, the ITDF staff members, and our own team with the love of Jesus, as we came alongside these beautiful souls, precious children of God. It was a confirmation and great reminder to me of His love, His perfect timing and His plan as He unfolds it through protection, preparation and positioning.

Although vastly different, on some levels I resonated with this place of wilderness. This is where He met me, just as I was, pulling me closer to Him. Peeling back the protective layers of my heart, filling in my brokenness and despair with His love and hope.  It is there in the wilderness where He began to weave my heart whole again, turning such beauty out of the ashes of hopelessness, despair, and great sorrow. The God of Grace prefers to meet us in the wilderness. That is where He performs His surgery on our hearts, restoring and refreshing us. And as some doors close, He opens others as we start a new season, a new set of challenges individually. Missionary Amy Carmichael knew this truth: “Bare heights of loneliness . . . a wilderness whose burning winds sweep over glowing sands, what are they to HIM? Even there He can refresh us, even there He can renew us.”

I can only hope and pray that this precious sister would some day know Him and all His promises, as He meets her in the wilderness to refresh her with His living water of hope. I pray as I return to Huay Sai Luang soon, I wouldn’t miss one thread of opportunity He might give me to share His good news with her. Share how he met me right there in the wilderness with such unimaginable grace which led me to follow Him thousands of miles away to a small village of Huay Sai Luang.  I thank God for this journey, breaking my heart for the marginalized and oppressed, keeping me humbled and continuing to refresh me with His word. I thank all of you individually immensely for being part of the “Hands to Heart” village team through prayer, encouragement and provision. 

You make my heart sing with joy! 

Comments (11)

  1. Avatar
    Angie Cantrell     February 13, 2020 at 1:48pm

    Your first blog on the journey you are on in the wilderness, is both heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time. The work you are doing there for the Lord, is shining through you like a beacon of love and joy! I’m so moved and inspired by you! Love you immensely, my sweet sister in Christ!

    • Avatar
      Debbie Tingley     February 17, 2020 at 1:47pm

      Thank you for your humbling words my dear sister. Yes, it definitely is funny how something can be both heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time but He is in the business of just that. I cannot take credit for the words in my blog as I always ask Him what it is that He wants to touch on and clearly I could not get this off of my mind on many different levels. I still can’t. But I am grateful to Him for it. Love you more and more than a gazillion skittles but only the red and purple ones as those are the ones I love most:) Miss you dearly my beautiful sister in Christ! I thank you immensely for your prayers and wirds of encouragement❤

  2. Avatar
    Sandy Rambi     February 14, 2020 at 1:00am

    So very beautiful my dear sister, Debbie! You are a child of his for sure!

    • Avatar
      Debbie Tingley     February 17, 2020 at 1:50pm

      Thank you so much my dear sister. The Lord clearly put that heavy on my heart to tell as it was a lasting impression for sure.
      We are all children of God my dear….each and every one of us:) Love you my dear sister in Christ. So grateful for your continued prayers and encouragement. Miss you immensely!

  3. Avatar
    Karen Spurgeon     February 14, 2020 at 5:41am

    So touching are your words. Words that show vulnerability, love, compassion and the heart of Jesus. Thank you for sharing. Love you!

    • Avatar
      Debbie Tingley     February 17, 2020 at 1:57pm

      Thank you my dear sister. He has shown me over the last two years that showing vulnerability is strength and courage but more than that, it is freedom. Love and compassion are what I know now to be true of His heart for me. I am ever so grateful. I hope and pray this sister in Huay Sai Luang some day know just how much she is loved by Him. I love you to the moon and back my dear. miss you greatly. Thank you so much for your prayers and encouragement. .

  4. Avatar
    Kathy Burts     February 14, 2020 at 1:45pm

    May you Journey be Blessed with every step you take and every person you meet. God is with you, shining through you, people Will know of him because they will have known you.

    • Avatar
      Debbie Tingley     February 17, 2020 at 2:38pm

      Aaaaww…Thank you my beautiful❤ I appreciate your words of encouragement and prayers. I am the one who continually is blessed by others here.
      Love you gal!

  5. Avatar
    Cheri Schwabenland     February 14, 2020 at 6:15pm

    My Dear Debbie. This particularly touched me as my family was remembering the loss of my cousin’s son many years ago this month. Your words reached deep within me and stirred my soul. We all must walk a path thru the wilderness. Thankfully we don’t have to walk it alone. Love you my friend!

  6. Avatar
    Debbie Tingley     February 17, 2020 at 2:04pm

    My sweet sweet friend, so sorry for their and your loss. It is never ever easy. I too am moved by these words that He put upon my heart and soul. Yes,, it is true there isn’t a single soul that has not been in the wilderness at some point or another. So grateful for the Lord embracing me with His love and healing community. I pray that you and all your family continue to feel His embrace and love to comfort you. I love you my dear dear friend!

  7. Avatar
    Donna Gravano     March 7, 2020 at 4:40am

    My dear Sister in Christ,
    I remember hearing this story from your lips, His words. Your story brought tears to my eyes for the mom and you. But God has placed you exactly where He needs you. I pray that you will once again meet up with her for His bond for you two is enormous. Thank you for being His bright, shining light. I am so grateful and thankful that Our God brought us together.
    Sending hugs, love and prayers.

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