Jani Ortlund, Stacy Reaoch

Wilderness Wanderings: Finding Contentment in the Desert Times of Life

Paperback, Three Ebook Formats
(17 customer reviews)

Foreword by Jani Ortlund

25 devotionals for women reflecting on our journey to the Promised Land

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Wilderness Wanderings: Finding Contentment in the Desert Times of Life, by Stacy Reaoch

Foreword by Jani Ortlund

Endorsed by Sarah Walton, Christine Hoover, Matt Smethurst, Erin Davis, Tom Schreiner, and more.

Our broken, fallen world is marked by a constant struggle for contentment. In the difficulties of each day, we can be prone to complain and think the grass is greener on the other side. We can doubt God’s goodness and his plan for us, especially when our path is dark and we feel lost in the wilderness of life.

The Israelites’ journey to the Promised Land was a journey much like our own. Fear, discontentment, and a failure to trust God plagued the very people he had miraculously delivered from slavery. In this gospel-centered devotional, busy women will find encouragement through the ups and downs of life as they glean insights through daily readings, short teachings, and personal reflection questions for each day. The chronological readings through Exodus and Numbers will allow women to see God’s big-picture plan of the Israelites’ trek through the wilderness, while finding hope and wisdom for their daily trials of life. God’s mercy, judgment, faithfulness, and sustaining grace through hardship will come alive as women see parallels in their own lives with the journey of Moses and the Israelites. These 25 devotionals will guide women through a significant portion of the biblical storyline while steering them to find contentment in the only One who will truly satisfy.


Stacy Reaoch

Stacy Reaoch is a pastor’s wife and mother of four. She is passionate about studying the Bible and helping women apply God’s life-changing truths to their daily lives. Stacy has written for various ministries including Desiring God, The Gospel Coalition and Revive Our Hearts. She and her husband, Ben, live in Pittsburgh, PA with their children.



“I found myself encouraged and challenged by the biblical, insightful, and practical wisdom woven throughout this book.”
—Sarah Walton

Click for all endorsements

“Our lives often mirror the Israelites’ journey into and through the wilderness years: hardship, uncertainty, and doubt. And yet, the same God who provided and cared for them cares for us today. Stacy extracts for us the truths regarding God’s constant character, character that he displayed to the wandering Israelites and that can sustain us even now.”
—Christine Hoover, author of Searching for Spring and Messy Beautiful Friendship

“Stacy Reaoch has thought long and hard about the Israelites and their wilderness journeys. In this devotional book, she peers into the doubts, fears, discontentment, and disobedience of their hearts with insight and discernment. And then she accurately and incisively demonstrates how these very realities reside in our own hearts. She focuses on the truth of God’s character, God’s promises, and God’s ways shown throughout the wilderness wanderings, encouraging all of us to trust, fear, hope in, rest in, and obey our Redeemer and Savior. Stacy writes with clarity and creativity, using appropriate illustrations and applications. Each entry has a suggested prayer and several questions for self-examination. We highly recommend this book for careful, prayerful reflection.
—Bruce and Jodi Ware, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY

“In the midst of my own journey through the wilderness, I found myself encouraged and challenged by the biblical, insightful, and practical wisdom woven throughout Wilderness Wanderings. There is much to glean from the Israelites’ time in the wilderness and Stacy does a wonderful job applying its biblical truths to our own lives.”
—Sarah Walton, co-author of Hope When It Hurts: Biblical Reflections to Help You Grasp God’s Purpose in Your Suffering

“There’s a reason to remember the places God’s people have been and the many, many (many) times He has carried them through. We all find ourselves wandering at times. Wandering through the desert of disappointment, the desert of fear, the desert of pain. . . we need the reminder that the God who was with Moses is with us, every step of the way. Consider this delightful devotional your must-have guide for any season of wandering.
—Erin Davis, author, blogger, and wilderness wanderer.

“In Wilderness Wanderings, Stacy Reaoch puts on her tour-guide hat and walks us through one of the most significant sections of Scripture. On page after page, Reaoch applies ancient truths to contemporary life in a style that will inspire reflection and devotion. Read and be stirred to trust the God who can part waters.”
—Matt Smethurst, managing editor of The Gospel Coalition

“Wilderness Wanderings is a feast of truth for tired, busy women. Stacy points us to the Israelites’ wilderness journey to draw a compelling parallel to our lives as twenty-first century women, offering us true hope in gospel grace. I wish every woman would pick up this book — but especially young women — and taste the joy, peace, and contentment that come from resting in Christ.”
—Jaquelle Crowe, author of This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years.

“Adulthood is so much harder than we expected in adolescence. The hills are steep, the path is not evenly paved, and the twists and turns are often treacherous. But the joys! The wilderness joys of trusting our heavenly Father, and releasing our grasp on earthly comforts, are deeper and sweeter than we could have dreamed. Stacy Reaoch is a gifted guide for real joy in hard places. She loves God, is full of his word, has walked this way herself, and is ready to take you through the stresses, strains, pains, and pleasures of desert life on the path to the Promised Land. The exodus from fear and discontent isn’t easy, but oh is it worth it.”
—David Mathis, executive editor, desiringGod.org; pastor, Cities Church, Minneapolis/St. Paul; author, Habits of Grace: Enjoying Jesus through the Spiritual Disciplines

“In our struggle to find contentment where God has us, we can often feel completely alone, as if no one else has ever experienced our struggle. But Scripture tells a different story, for there we see that there is nothing we face that is not common to us all. The struggle of the Israelites to find contentment in the wilderness has a message for all of us, and Stacy helpfully offers us that message. I pray this book serves you not only to rest in God’s abundant care for you, but also to know that his word still speaks even all these centuries later.”
—Courtney Reissig, author, Glory in the Ordinary and The Accidental Feminist

Wilderness Wanderings is insightful and engaging. Pick it up as a companion to your reading of the Exodus and you will find yourself exhorted, convicted, and most of all encouraged about the great God who ultimately sent his Son to free his people from slavery to sin.”
—Keri Folmar, author, The Good Portion: the Doctrine of Scripture for Every Woman and Joy!, Faith and Grace Bible studies for women

“Wilderness Wanderings is a tonic for the soul. Reaoch takes us through the experiences of Israel in the wilderness and deftly applies the text to our lives today. The book is biblically faithful, spiritually challenging, and encouraging. A wonderful resource for both personal reading and for group discussion.”
—Tom and Diane Schreiner, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY

Faithfulness to Scripture marks the pages of Stacy’s book, as she helpfully unfolds the wilderness journey of the Israelites and applies the timeless truths of God’s Word to us. Through her writing we behold our powerful, trustworthy, and wise God, the God of biblical history and the God who walks closely with us in our wilderness wanderings, right now.”
—Kristen Wetherell, co-author of Hope When It Hurts: Biblical Reflections to Help You Grasp God’s Purpose in Your Suffering

Every single one of us is met with seasons of life where difficulty seemingly lingers without end. In Wilderness Wanderings: Finding Contentment in the Desert Times of Life, Stacy Reaoch seeks to help readers by faithfully taking them through the Exodus story, pointing them to Christ, and then providing them with practical guidance from the Word of God. I encourage you to pick up Stacy’s book and learn the faithfulness and greatness of our God from a fellow pilgrim. In doing so, you’ll be blessed by her biblically faithful exposition, her gospel-centered focus, and her practical guidance from a life lived before the face of our beloved Lord Jesus.”
—Dave Jenkins, Executive Director, Servants of Grace Ministries, Executive Editor, Theology for Life Magazine, Co-Host, The Equipping You in Grace Podcast.

“Anyone who has lived the Christian life for a season knows that following Christ inevitably means walking into suffering, trials, and discouragement. Wilderness Wanderings is a guidebook through these barren and difficult paths, and a drink of cool water for the weary traveler. Using the biblical narrative of Israel’s years in the wilderness, Stacy Reaoch lifts our eyes from our dusty feet and points us to the Lord’s grace and mercy in even the most trying circumstances. Arranged into a series of twenty five devotionals, this book is sure to bear fruit in the lives of readers for a long time to come.”
—Megan Hill, author Praying Together: The Priority and Privilege of Prayer in Our Homes, Communities, and Churches; regular contributor Today in the Word, The Gospel Coalition, CT Women, and Christward Collective; editorial board member Christianity Today

“Wilderness Wanderings follows Israel’s years in the desert before entering the Promised Land. In studying this portion of biblical history, you’ll see yourself and God’s faithfulness in your own desert wanderings. Like Israel, we are quick to forget all God has done in our lives. Stacy’s Word-centered devotional will remind you afresh of God’s unending grace and faithfulness and, above all, his provision of life in Christ.”
—Christina Fox, speaker, writer, and author of A Heart Set Free and Closer Than a Sister.

“As Stacy leads us through the wilderness with the Israelites, keenly unveiling God’s deeper purposes in their seeming aimlessness, she also patiently testifies by her own life that it is the sovereign hand of a loving God that directs each wandering step. She shows us that God’s providence always conspires to give his children more of Christ—and it is in the desert that we learn the sweetness of the living water found only in him.”
—Abigail Dodds, blogger and author


Click to read the Foreword by Jani Ortlund

Foreword by Jani Ortlund

Are you a control freak like me? From my calendar to my kitchen, from my money to my make-up, I like to create a plan and control it to completion. No wandering off course for me! How could God be pleased with that? I’ve got too much work to do! I’m just too busy to waste my time meandering through a day.

So when I find myself in a dry spell where all my self-important busy-ness disintegrates, where normal life gets strangled in the wilderness of a new job or the complexities of a new relationship or the desert of an unexpected loss, it’s then that confusion and guilt find their way straight to my heart. And it’s then that I need help–the kind of help that Stacy Reaoch beautifully offers us in this treasure you are holding in your hands.

Tracing the “Wilderness Wanderings” of the children of Israel on their way to the Promised Land, Stacy skillfully helps us see ourselves within those wanderings, showing us how much like Moses and the Israelites we really are. And then she offers us the hope of a powerful, loving, and sovereign God for our inevitable wilderness experiences.

This book is ideal for busy women who have limited time to be in the Word, but desire to study a chronological section of Scripture and see how it applies to their lives. It could be used individually, in a small group Bible study, or in one-on-one mentoring. The simple but concise thought questions that follow each devotional help guide her readers into a meaningful response to God’s Word.

Winsomely relating her own experiences as a woman, a wife, and a mother, Stacy identifies with our needs as we each walk our own pathway toward the eternal Promised Land. She reminds us that with God, there is no unnoticed suffering, especially on that seemingly pointless pathway marked with injustice. She encourages us to loosen our grip on the circumstances and people we so often want to control as we walk toward Heaven.

Stacy also carefully warns us about the dangers of disobedience–not only for us, but also for those closest to us. She opens up one of my favorite biblical themes: generational blessings. She shows us God’s desire for complete, heartfelt obedience. What kind of legacy do we want to leave? As you read through this book, you will be reminded that your own wilderness wanderings have a purpose, and that your responses to your present desert experience have eternal consequences.

Settle in with this gem of a book. Read it with both an open Bible and an open heart. Let it be your manna for a month or so. Say with Jeremiah, “Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart” (Jeremiah 15:16). Let the God of Moses and Joshua guide you through your own wilderness wanderings, giving you “drink from the river of his delights” (Psalm 36:8).

And when our days in this worldly wilderness are finally finished and we have reached the Promised Land, let’s look for each other and praise our kind King together for the wonder of being included in those who sing around his Throne, “Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord, the shield of your help, and the sword of your triumph” (Deuteronomy 33:29). I can’t wait!

Jani Ortlund
Author; Vice President, Renewal Ministries
Franklin, Tennessee

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Weight5 oz
Dimensions5.06 × 7.81 in
Imprint or Series

Cruciform Standard


Print / PDF 978-1-941114-52-0
ePub 978-1-941114-54-4
Mobi 978-1-941114-53-7

US List Price

10.99 Print, 7.50 Ebook


120 pages


Paperback, Three Ebook Formats

17 reviews for Wilderness Wanderings: Finding Contentment in the Desert Times of Life

  1. Chelsea Stanley

    As a Christian mom of three little ones, my desire is to spend lots of time soaking in God’s word but my reality is that I don’t have large chunks of time to devote to bible study during this season. Enter Stacy Reaoch’s short, accessible daily devotionals that walk us chronologically through the book of Exodus. What a gift for this weary mama’s heart! Stacy’s writing is winsome, relatable, challenging, and soaked in gospel truth. It’s a cool glass of water for those of us wandering in the wilderness. I’ll be recommending it to all my mama (and non-mama) friends!

  2. Jane Roach

    Stacy Reaoch has provided help for busy women in every stage of life to find hope, comfort, contentment, and joy in our great God and His faithfulness as we journey through challenges of life. She writes with a passion for truth, understanding of life experiences, and genuine illustrations. This book would be a great tool for personal or family devotions, mentoring, and group discussions.

    By Jane Roach, conference speaker and author of “Joy Beyond Agony: Embracing the Cross of Christ” and “God’s Mysterious Ways: Embracing God’s Providence in Esther”

  3. Jen Oshman

    Best read as a 25-day devotional, this book is chock full of the truths of scripture, historical accounts of how the Israelites wandered in the desert, and how we might apply these stories and truths to our own lives. Stacy writes in a way that is highly relatable, but also with theological depth—I love that combination! While it may seem to some that the Old Testament offers little to us today, I could see myself in each story as she shared the Israelites’ experiences and how they are similar to our daily walks as women in 2017. Stacy shows us that the Word of God is, in fact, useful for us now, even though it was penned thousands of years ago.

    Each day Stacy takes the reader through a brief story of the Israelites, a Biblical principle related to that story, and an example of how it might be rightly applied to ourselves. I found myself agreeing with and being challenged by her words on every page. I was especially struck by her words on contentment, coveting, complaining, fear, perseverance, joy in trials, pride, and more.

    I think this book would be a blessing to any woman (note, though, that it’s not just for women! Don’t be surprised if your husband grabs it off your nightstand for himself.). It might be especially encouraging to a woman who desires to get theological depth, but feels short on time because of her stage of life.

  4. Ashley S

    What a great tool for my own edification and especially for discipleship. I think we can all go through these seasons! Because it’s so accessible yet wise, I’m looking forward to reading it in a one-to-one context with another woman. I think it will foster great discussions!

  5. Coleen Sharp

    Wilderness Wanderings is a great devotional for women, whether they’re going through a season of more difficult suffering, or just dealing with the daily trials of living in a fallen world.

    I appreciate that Stacy follows a whole section of Scripture throughout the book. We tend to hear certain passages when we talk about suffering, and those can be helpful, but I appreciate that Stacy has done something different. Anyone who reads this book will walk away knowing parts of the Old Testament and I think will be encouraged to dig deeper.

    I love the way the book is set up. Each chapter is short, a few pages, but packed with great content, and each ends with reflection questions. I think the questions are great for journaling.

    I’ve recommended Wilderness Wanderings and have even bought this book for several women, who I know will be blessed by it.

    Coleen Sharp

    Theology Gals podcast

  6. Holly Guthrie

    Stacy’s book is a perfect book to use for morning devotions. It offers hope and encouragement as we walk with the Israelites on their journey. Our small group is excited to use WILDERNESS WANDERINGS for our discussion time beginning in January. She offers wonderful truths to ponder for days.

  7. Amanda Criss

    An increasing (and wonderful) trend I’m noticing among Christian women is their desire to receive spiritual nourishment directly from the Bible rather than to hear inspirational thoughts that are only loosely connected to God’s Word. We’re famished for truly solid Scriptural devotionals and Bible study aids, especially resources that are *by* women and specifically *for* women. If this sounds like what you are looking for, too, then I am so pleased to recommend “Wilderness Wanderings: Finding Contentment in the Desert Times of Life.” And while Stacy Reaoch’s devotional would help and challenge both men and women, as a fellow wife and mom, I gleaned so much encouragement and Biblical truth from Stacy’s book. Through each devotional, she takes the readers to the Scriptures, having shouldered a lot of the intense Bible study work herself in order to prepare the way for her readers, and then she leads them through the Israelites’ Wilderness Wanderings and into the Promised Land.

    Consisting of 25 entries, each day’s devotionals are based on passages from Exodus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, and even Joshua. Stacy shares candidly and openly about how the truths she is gleaning intersect with her own personal struggles and spiritual walk. She shows the reader how these Old Testament accounts are examples for us in our Christian lives, and she demonstrates ways that the Israelites’ dry and barren season points us to Jesus and His work for us on the cross.

    At the end of each day’s devotional entry, Stacy asks good questions to help the reader apply that day’s passage to her own life and circumstances. The questions at the end of each devotional would serve as great discussion questions for Bible study groups to work through together. I think this fine little book would also be a helpful resource for women in discipleship relationships; the questions and short prayer at the end of each day’s devotional would be a wonderful jumping off place for a time of conversation rooted in Scripture with the aim of growing together in the grace of the Lord.

    I am so happy for a Biblically solid, yet not heavy or overwhelming, devotional resource to recommend and share with others. I am confident that I will frequently return to it for Scriptural, Christ-centered encouragement, and I’m thankful for how God has already blessed me through it.

  8. Katie W.

    Stacy has great insight for woman who are in the trenches of marriage and motherhood. It is perfect for moms who desire to spend some quiet time in Gods word but the business of the motherhood season is preventing them. She brings you through Exodus with great explanation and pairing it with relevant stories of her own life. This is a great read and I would highly recommend it.

  9. Kim B

    I often struggle with devotionals since they tend to skip around throughout the Bible, covering different topics each day and not truly diving into the word of God. I love that Stacy Reaoch took us through the story of the Israelites, each day covering the next part of the Israelites journey. At the same time, Stacy shares relevant stories from her life; she also guides us to look at our own lives, and how these same stories of the Israelites are present in our own lives as well. Stacy’s book provides the perfect amount of reading, study and reflection questions for any busy person who wants to be in the Word but time is often short. My 12 year old son also read Stacy’s book along with me. Stacy provides the direction and lessons that show she is truly a teacher of God’s word, able to speak to adults and youth.

  10. Sue Timmer

    This is a wonderful devotional that cut straight to my heart. It helped me to change my focus from myself onto God.

  11. Faith

    Wilderness Wanderings is a wonderful devotional that takes you through Israel’s wanderings in the wilderness. In each short devotion, Stacy points readers to the faithfulness of God and encourages believers to find their contentment in Him alone. This book is a perfect gift for moms of little ones who want to study a portion of Scripture chronologically but may not have time for a more in-depth study. The personal application questions at the end of each devotion are a great tool for reflecting on the day’s Scripture reading and lesson. Not only does it make a great gift, but it is perfect to go through with a friend or a small group of women! Readers will be blessed by this book!

  12. Jen

    As a mom with 3 little ones, I often find myself wanting to dig deep into the Word, but only have moments at a time in which to go deep. This devotional kept my thoughts on track throughout the day as I was able to start by reading a section of scripture, meditate upon that, then read through the corresponding chapter as I had time in the day. Stacy’s insight gave me focus and her questions continually challenged me to find my contentment in God alone. This devotional works well in individual study, but the women in our church were also blessed by using it as a supplement to our group study through Exodus. I look forward to the next one, Stacy!

  13. Alexandra Myroniuk

    Stacy’s book is one of the best biblically driven devotionals. I love how she bases the entire devotional on a section of scripture and pulls application and truth from it for the reader. This is lacking in many devotionals as they tend to skip around in the Bible. She leads the reader through the wilderness with the Israelites paralleling their spiritual walk through hard times and shows how God is there even when he seems distant. She is able to show readers that their tendancies toward discontentment are similar to the Israelites and how obedience to the Lord is the true root of contentment. Each devotional is the perfect length for a daily read and has thought provoking questions that lead us to think about our walk with the Lord. I highly recommend this book for anyone wishing to delve deeper into Old Testament scripture while learning about the only way to true contentment. I am looking forward to Stacy’s next book!

  14. Brittany V

    This is the first devotional I have ever read and it did not disappoint! I love how Stacy’s entire book is biblically sound and biblically focused. Stacy is able to bring the Scripture to life, without tarnishing the purity and the truth of the Word. I was blessed by Wilderness Wanderings and look forward to reading it over and over again!

  15. Suzanne W.

    Stacy’s book was a wonderful supplement to selected readings in the Old Testament. Like the Israelites, traveling aimlessly, the book reminds me to focus first on the Lord who guides me by His Word. The Reflection Questions at the end of each chapter promoted rich discussions among the participants in our women’s Bible study.

  16. Rachel

    Wilderness Wanderings is such a biblically sound read for everyone! But I found it especially encouraging since I could just read a chapter in between daily busyness and left those few minutes so refreshed! Stacy has such a beautiful God given way with words. She brings God’s Word into our daily lives by exampling intuited struggles ALL of us face. She challenges us with our dear Savior’s Word to battle our sin and bring it to light to fight it with our Sword of the Spirit! I can’t wait for her next book!

  17. Aaron Lee

    At the time I am writing this, these days of COVID-19 definitely feel like a certain type of wilderness wandering. Discontentment, want, and uncertainty characterize my mindset and feelings. In Wilderness Wanderings, Stacy Reaoch helps us find contentment in the desert times of life.

    About the Author
    Author Stacy Reaoch is a pastor’s wife and mother of four. In her writing for various ministries like Desiring God and The Gospel Coalition — as well as the writing in this book — you get a sense of experienced wisdom and a deep understanding of the Word of God.

    This book consists of 25 devotions that follow the wilderness journey of the Israelites on their way to the Promised Land. With every chapter including a Scripture reading from Exodus, Numbers, or Deuteronomy, you are invited to travel together and see the parallels in your own life.

    No Wasted Words
    The book is just about 125 pages, so Reaoch wastes no words in helping to explain the Biblical text and show how it connects with you. Typically, 2 or 3 reflection questions are included at the end of every chapter.

    During my own experience of the COVID-19 pandemic, several chapters stood out to me. Chapter 7: Idealizing the Past, helped me fix my eyes on God’s character and not my current circumstances. He is good, sovereign, and faithful. Chapter 16: The Grass Isn’t Greener, exhorted me to find my satisfaction in God alone.

    Timeless Truths
    While this book was written well before the events of COVID-19, the truths it contains are timeless. They will always be a ready Word to speak into your difficult days, situations, and circumstances. The Israelite’s story is relevant for our present reality. And our God is still sovereign and in control — caring, loving, and shepherding his people.

    I received a media copy of Wilderness Wanderings and this is my honest review.

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