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A Song of Revival

How easy it is to do for God rather than live with him. Xochitl Dixon shares her vulnerable lesson.


A Song of Revival

By Xochitl Dixon


 We’d followed God from the West Coast to the Midwest only twenty-eight days after my husband, Alan, accepted a position from a school that had pursued him. He moved first and hunkered down in a hotel, while I hunted for a home online. I packed up our life in the Golden State and thirty days later left our adult sons behind, our youngest barely twenty-one.


Alan greeted me with a tri-colored speckled pup, a rescue from a kill shelter. She had big jowls, long legs, one Treeing Walker Coonhound floppy ear and one Border Collie flippy ear. I named her Callie, short for California, because I wanted to go home before I’d even unpacked my suitcases. Callie’s curved hound dog tail swished so fast her whole body wiggled as her long hound dog tongue kissed away my tears, but even an adorable pup didn’t make being lonely in the Midwest easier. I hadn’t been able to drive since 2012, due to a back injury that had occurred in 1992. So, as Alan worked long hours, I sat home alone. When we were together, I griped about the weather and argued with him about everything and nothing.


Being a Northern California native, I’d never experienced sunshine in the morning and a monsoon in the afternoon. I grew weary of sticky humidity one day and freezing winds rattling my living room windows the next day. So, when the skies darkened at the end of my first week in Wisconsin, I ignored the blaring siren and Alan’s texts telling me to go into the basement. I wasn’t about to go into my first basement by myself! When he was finally able to call me, after God sent a shift in the winds to divert twelve tornadoes to the outskirts of town, I began begging God to send us back home.


My pain levels increased as I searched for a new medical team. I kept studying the Bible, teaching, and writing. I prayed for people and even praised God when good things happened for them. Still, I felt physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually depleted.


One day, I was sitting in my recliner feeling overwhelmed with work. How was I supposed finish writing my first 31-day devotional for Our Daily Bread, Waiting for God: Trusting Daily in God’s Plan and Pace, if I was in the middle of a spiritual drought? When we’d first followed God from California to Wisconsin, I felt peace. Yet, in a few short weeks, even though I was spending time reading the Bible and praying every day, I felt abandoned by God.


I don’t know how long I was crying or when it had stopped raining. I just remember Callie licking tears off my cheeks then resting her head on my shoulder. When I scratched her floppy ear, I turned to look out the window. Streaks of sunlight pierced through the dark gray clouds, shining like a spotlight on a white heron landing in the lush green foliage near the creek next to our front yard.


Words I didn’t even know I’d memorized flowed from my heart over my lips: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world” (Psalm 19:1-4). I praised God and wrote the first draft of a poem celebrating his color-filled Creation, his trustworthy character, and his willingness to welcome his children into his loving presence to process our God-given emotions.


I continued reading the psalmist’s proclamation of faith: “The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul” (Psalm 19:7). The Holy Spirit revealed the reason I’d been feeling empty. Since our move, I had been communicating for God but not with God. I’d been skimming Scripture, not inviting the Holy Spirit to use the Scriptures to revive my weary soul. I had severed my relationship with him by depending on my strength.


I asked for forgiveness and spent a week just resting in God’s presence. He used our two years in the Midwest to stretch my faith and strengthen my marriage, while teaching me how to walk in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. When my faith wanes or I forget to rely on him, I remember the Holy Spirit gave me a song of revival that day: “The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart” (v. 8). To God be the glory, the honor, and the praise!


The poem Xochitl wrote in 2018, during that difficult season in Wisconsin, was revised multiple times and eventually transformed into the manuscript for her recently released picture book, What Color is God’s Love?

Xochitl (So-Cheel) Dixon encourages readers through the ministries of Our Daily Bread and the ECPA bestseller God Hears Her, through her custom designs at Worship Expressed, and through her books. Her most recent release is What Color is God’s Love. Her other books include Different Like Me and Waiting for God: Trusting Daily in God’s Plan and Pace. Serving God with her beautifully diverse family and her service dog, Callie, Xochitl loves Jesus, her neighbors, and readers like you! Connect with her at


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