2017 has been a busy year for Prodigal Pottery. Through our expansion with wholesale, increasing amount of employees, and the ever-changing nature of a young ministry, things can sometimes seem overwhelming. Exciting, but still overwhelming.
One of my favorite things that we have done this year is put on a benefit concert. This was our first ever benefit, and there were a lot of unknowns. However, the event turned out to be a huge source of encouragement for us as a team. We were able to get Nashville-based artist Ellie Holcomb to come down to Iron City for the evening to perform. She had recently released her album Red Sea Road, and during the concert she took a moment to explain what the Red Sea Road meant to her.
She talked about how the Israelites, after God had delivered them from Egypt, soon began to groan and complain. They doubted that God would make good on his promise to them and bring them to a land flowing with milk and honey. As their days in the desert got longer and hotter, they began to ask God, "Have you brought us out of Egypt to let us die in this wilderness?" Ellie confided that she, too, asked God similar questions during times of hardship and sorrow.
As Ellie was sharing this story, I couldn't help but think of the women that we serve. They, like the Israelites have been "rescued" from extreme circumstances. Despite backgrounds of abuse, crime, drug use, poverty, and human trafficking, they have physically escaped and found their way to a shelter. However, simply getting out of those situations is just the beginning of the story. I think that it is often tempting to simplify our women's stories. It's tempting to say, "Well, they are out of those bad situations now. They are in a shelter. Now everything is going to be better." I think that some of our women even believe that.
The reality is that when God rescues us, it does not mean that difficult circumstances will magically disappear. Yes, God rescued the Israelites from the Egyptians. And, yes, God has rescued our women from terrible situations. But that does not mean that the road ahead will be free of hard lessons and moments of fear, doubt, and difficulty.
So often I watch our women face these moments where they feel that God has brought them out of one hard situation only to put them into another one. I watch them cry out to God and ask him what is happening. Why would he rescue them from the last tragedy only to have this new one befall them?
In those moments, I don't always have an easy answer. I have to turn my reflections inwards. I have to examine what I really believe. I have to look at what the Bible tells me about God's faithfulness. And I realize that every day, we have a choice. We can choose to believe that God doesn't have control over these aspects of our lives, or we can choose to believe that this road which we are walking is bringing us to the Promised Land. It might not be the road that we think is best--in fact, it almost certainly is not--but we have to trust that it is the road that is right.