Faith through friendship: How I'm getting through my desert season

(Photo: Ben Earwicker)

In October I was one of seven bridesmaids at my friend's wedding in Ghana. I remember the day we were all called over to her house for fittings, it was a year ago. From then on I decided to start an intense exercise regime and monitor my eating habits so I could still fit into my gown on the day (Christmas was weeks away). That lasted about two months.

For as long as I have known her, Susuana, the bride, has always been a very organised and driven individual. Everything she sets out to do is completed with excellence and from the outside looks effortless.

The wedding was inevitably phenomenal. Everybody pitched in, whether it was the catering, decorations or entertainment. I exhibited dance moves I didn't even know I had to everybody's amazement!

When Susuana speaks of her wedding today, she does not take any of the credit for it. She will tell you it was not all down to her, but God. Her wedding day, she says, was God's gift to her and her husband Charlie-Roy. She prayed unceasingly for a year and placed God at the centre of the planning and preparations which has indeed been a lesson to me.

Susuana's wedding was the fourth one I attended this year. Three ceremonies took place in the summer and I was in need of great encouragement at that time. God loves his children, I know this, but overtime I became desensitised to this truth. In life we all go through seasons and the season I was in at the time can best be described as 'desert season'. No matter how far I plough on I'm just faced with more sand.

I'm sure this is common among MA students like myself, bombarded with coursework wondering if the months of research and typing will actually be worth it in the end. The Lord makes all things work together for good so there was a purpose for this, I have yet to find out.

Weddings are always very uplifting occasions and each one re-ignited in me the message of God's love. All the couples have said the favour of God was upon them through the preparations, to the big day and is still on them now. My cousin Adrian and his wife Jemma were couple number two. He says the fact that they never once argued whilst making plans was by God's grace.

What brings about this favour? Faith is the answer. How does this faith come about? By building a relationship with our Creator. I am currently building a relationship with God after years of only praying when I needed help. Gemma, the first bride has a close friendship with God. She is such a happy person literally bursting with joy anytime I see her. She is able to call Him 'friend'. This made me evaluate where I place Him in my life - best friend or distant guardian?

 As children of God our faith is tested from time to time. The couples have an unshakeable faith. As seamless as all of these ceremonies were, I now know some of the newlyweds in the planning stages faced problems of titanic proportions.

Bride number three, Jenae had seven months to plan her wedding, a time span that could make any bride-to-be keel over. Jenae and her other half considered postponing their wedding but chose to press on with the preparations as God instructed. August came and the ceremony was elegant, a perfect fit for them. It birthed many great testimonies I am told; the strongest , I believe, came from a single prayer from her father.

One morning he stood by his own father's grave for the first time in a while and began to speak saying 'please help me, I want to be able to provide for my child, please help her'. Was he aware that he was praying? Either way, his request was granted. On that same day, Jenae received a substantial amount of money in the post from the Inland Revenue. She calls it the 'parting of the red sea' moment for them. It was certainly an eye opener for me.

After witnessing four couples get married and speaking to the brides this is what I feel God wanted me to know: if He is able to cater to the intricacies of a wedding and make the impossible possible, His placing me in the 'desert' is not in vain and great things are coming. I just need to build a relationship with Him which will in turn strengthen my faith.