I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Stark, Barren, and Desolate – The lie I believed

As you read this I am traveling across our great country to start a new chapter in my life. (Pun intended.)

Five months ago I put in for a really good job – one I never, ever thought I’d get. A job, in a region of the country my hubby and hoped to move to  ... one day.

The term “region” I use loosely. On several occasions during our marriage we considered moving west. I pictured the Rocky Mountain vistas of Colorado, covered with tall pines dipping into grassy meadows. I could close my eyes and hear the words penned by Katharine Bates: "Oh beautiful for spacious skies for amber waves of grain. For purple mountains majesty ..."

Whoa! Wait! My better half had other ideas.

One week in Nevada with my son sold my husband on what state he wanted to move to. Nevada? The harmony of America the Beautiful now rang in my ears like fingernails against a chalkboard. Was he serious? I’ve been there, seen it, and I got a T-shirt (which I believe I now use for a dust rag).

He's got to be kidding.

Although Nevada is our most mountainous state, it’s far from rugged, snow-topped majesties! And between each mountain range, hot winds toss balls of sage brush across barren desert planes dotted with alkali pits. Let us not forget to mention the buzzards and rattlesnakes! Ugh!

Oh and remember – I’m the gardener in the Ponderer group – giving up my lush perennial gardens for a land where nothing, nada, zip grows. Well unless you consider the large amounts of sage ...

Lord, this is NOT what I had in mind.

I fought against the idea, and prayed till my knees hurt. I wanted God’s will, but please, please, please, Lord, not Nevada.

But he sent me there anyway!

Okay – enough of my ranting – so what does this have to do with writing, you ask? It’s all about the lie I believed. Nevada may be barren, but it is beautiful. I flew out for the interview and God showed me his version of the state. I finally saw the beautifully colored mountains, the vast openness of the state, and the radiant sunshine. (Hey when you live in NE Ohio where you only get 80 days of sunshine a year – that’s a big plus!) It’s a place where you can see both ends of the rainbow! And yes, the picture above was taken in Nevada.

I’ll get to grow new plants – drought-resistant to be sure. And the snow-topped mountains dotted with pine? I get those too. Because the job is in a little community at the base of the Sierra Nevada’s, right next to Lake Tahoe.

I’ve got a new adventure ahead of me, but it took overcoming the lie I believed and letting God take me to a place I only dreamed about. Our characters have to reach that point as well. They need to get so desperate that the only thing they can do is lean on God’s love and understanding.

I’m not sure I’ll be able to answer your comments right away as everything at this time is in transition, but remember – through God’s eyes everything is beautiful!

Jennie Atkins


  1. It's amazing that every time I really seek to find beauty or worth in something, I can find something to praise about it. Sometimes you have to look hard, but God is all about beauty and he leaves His mark everywhere.

  2. Jennie, I'm so thrilled for this new chapter in your life, but I'll miss having you as my closest Ponderer.

    God's beauty surrounds. We just need to stop and find it. I'm so glad He called you to Nevada and shared his vision with you.

  3. I hit post too soon. I wanted to end with--I hope this door is the beginning of many more!

  4. What an adventure you are having! All the new experiences will make great resources for your writing. Praying the move goes quickly and easily.

    The picture is stunning! It is amazing that God blesses us with so much more than we could imagine when we surrender to His leading.

  5. I would so love a copy of that picture!! It speaks of following where God leads and finding unexpected blessings.
    I've believed too many lies at times--often because I was letting the wrong "voices" be my authority, rather than letting God's voice be my one authority. Who does he say I am? I try to listen to his voice--his truth--about the clamoring of all the others.

  6. First of all, I LOVE the word painting throughout your blog, Jennie. You have a way with scenic description. I can totally see Nevada now, even though I've never been there. Praying for you during your move and time of transition. Hugs!!

  7. Wow, I did a major transplant 12 yrs. ago from Northern British Columbia to Minnesota (at least 2,000 miles) but f-u-r-t-h-e-r in terms of situations, climate, culture. I got stretched more thoroughly than when we moved to the beautiful rugged north in the first place.
    But I grew, am growing.
    Love your parallels here and your willing adventurous heart, including the stretch that happens to chars.
    May MUCH good fruit come from your move, in your lives, and in your writing! (And yes, in time your garden(s) will be a masterpiece. Keep us posted.)

  8. Jennie, great post and like Beth, I love that picture. It really matches your word painting! Praying for you as you open a new chapter of your life. God certainly tends to stretch us.

  9. Ahhh, Jennie, Nevada. I never thought I would live there either. Till I married my husband. We spent a little over eight years there with the military and life beyond. How wonderful that God gave you beautiful mountains and places to grow your garden. That's a bit harder in Vegas. :) May your eyes be set on Him as you continue in this great adventure!
    Oh, and I'm sure He'll also give you much fodder for stories and characters. May God make your transition smooth and give you special friends in your new home town!