I used to resent and like Fall at the same time. Fall's colorful brilliance leads to a long cold Winter and I don't like that very much. But the more I allow myself to sit with God and experience Him, the more I find myself relieved from my own expectations and happy to embrace His invitations.
I felt something different this year. What God was doing in nature seemed to be in sync with what He's doing in me.
My husband and I drove this morning with warm drinks between our hands. We were riding around looking at houses, but what I noticed were trees. I felt like a child, amazed at what I could see now that the leaves were not blocking anything! The bare, exposed forest allowed everything to be seen. Things that were hidden behind the leaves protective coverings were now open. It is still what it was but now it's standing differently. Like a field of grass, the forest is now beautifully exposed. The trees didn't grasp to keep the leaves on. Instead, it simply opened its arms surrendering to the season its Creator says is "good."
So today, nearing the end of November, the trees stand tall and bare without seemingly anything to protect them but maybe trusting now more than ever. It's symbolic of an inner experience, and acceptance of God's good work. It's an experience of a fuller embracing of our true self who is seen, and wanted, and lovingly restored by Him. After a holy releasing occurs, we see things we couldn't see before. We see God and His activity at work, in
and over all life.
Embrace the season of soul work the Holy Spirit wants to do in you. Hold it with a willing spirit, strengthened and humbled in that posture. Wait for Him to show you things you couldn't see before. In the meantime, love Him by loving others. The bareness might feel frightening at first, but if you keep letting go, you'll see the healing
and deepening freedom He's after.
Take a deep breath and stand in what He's already doing.
I took my final seminary exam Monday night. After a lot of hard work and juggling family and work life, I’ve completed my time at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. All at once, I’m delighted, relieved, and thankful.
Today, I felt an invitation to slow down and reflect on the experience over the course of the last 14 months with my professors and the authors I read. These men and women are brilliant and humble teachers of God’s Word and have greatly encouraged me. But, I find myself moving into the personal layer of my growth with God throughout this special time.
One might think the biggest thing I learned was facts about the Bible and the methods of interpretation developed and used throughout church history. While understanding more about the dynamics and different parts of Scripture is necessary and a high value for all who want to know God, I find myself favoring how God has personally changed me throughout my seminary experience.
Like many of us, I grew up in church environments that valued appearing right over transformation. Isn’t that sad?
I continue to witness the temptation for all of us to fall into this broken mindset. We inadvertently forget Jesus came to save us from the exact ways we protect and prop ourselves up because of
sin's effect on us.
Jesus and I have walked together throughout this time.
He’s invited me to let the pressure go that I thought I had to have on myself, especially because I’m a woman in the church. (The sad reality is, women of God feel like they have to work harder to prove themselves worthy but that's actually part of the enemies lie - let’s talk about that more later.)
He’s enabled me to walk humbly, thanking Him for His power at work within me instead of relying on others to encourage me. He’s shown me more about what it's like to enjoy living from a posture of openness to let Him lead in the ways He knows the Holy Spirit can accomplish change in us.
And the most vulnerable, are you ready to hear this because apparently, I'm ready to tell you. He’s shown me I’m not a mistake. How He designed me has never seemed to fit in the church model and I've battled with that thought for years. He created me well and wants to use me in a unique way.
I’m meant to be here.
My time in seminary was life-changing, not because of the gift of good professors, the books, and God’s Word, but because of God Himself. Everything He gives us and the importance of these things are meant to lead us straight to Him.
So, if my time in seminary has done anything, it’s made me fall more in love with Him and shown me what life to the full is again.
God not only hears our voice, but he hears our heart. Something my pastor said last Sunday that was so good and true.
God is not an emotionally detached father. He cares about how we feel. He cares enough to guide us through our questions too.
He understands our whole story. He wants to love us and guide us into a deeper reality with Him. To know more deeply who He is and who we are as His. Not only does God hear us, but He wants to hear from us. His invitations happen on the inside and take time. He welcomes us to participate in our own healing, continual dialogue between His truth and our honesty.
We'll experience starts and stops as we see more fully what we need to open up about. Thank you, Holy Spirit.
I'm in an "in-between" waiting place right now on my journey.
It's holy. It's good. There's beauty here. This place is a part of contemplating what it's like to live into who I am in Christ at this point in my life. It also feels vulnerable because now I have more questions than I did before. All of us experience these moments on our journeys. We can choose to look away from our deep questions or lean into them with trust and experience healing and deeper relationship.
Jesus made a way for us to become whole and healed and learn how to live from the Father's original desire. He wants us to face forward and learn how to steward this life with Him. He created us to live in the present, looking out toward the future with hope together.
This season feels vulnerable, and yet there's a profound confirmation of healing taking place! The enemy will, at times, tempt us to look and get lost in old pain, and that is not where the Lord is saying to look. Instead, I see Jesus, His eyes drawing me to the provision of the present, in His presence, as He and I peer into the future together.
My Father not only wants to hear from me, but He wants me to see Him beside me right where I am, right where He's working. As I wait, I stand in deepening communion with Him.
The Lord is gifting us with many who are being readied to go further and deeper on this Christlike journey. He's gifting us with time to get there together. He's gifting us with the trust that's needed to pursue healing and the future together.
Where do you find yourself right now?
Who can you share with?
What are you and Jesus talking about?
How are you knowing His presence and love right where you are?
Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.
I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
- Matthew 11:28-29 (MSG.)
Today I came home from a silent overnight retreat. As Spring began here in New England, I wanted to press pause on my responsibilities and enjoy how the Spirit has been forming and freeing me in life with Him lately. Seasons come and go and come again, ebbing and flowing like ocean waves on the sand. Winter gives nature a time to rest from its work of producing before Spring calls it to wake again.
I often think of the connections between human life and all God's creation around us and how He calls a soul out to life after times of dormancy. When we can't process each layer of our pain the Spirit is still working in the dormancy of our waiting. Sometimes, we actually start thinking that it’s God we’re waiting on to act and make a change in our life, but it’s really Him asking, “Are you ready to enter into this with Me?” "Are you ready to join Me on the soil where I'm already working?"
If we watch, God has created seasons to speak to us, and one thing He seems to be saying again is that we don’t have to remain where we are because we're created for a life changing relationship with Him.
There's so much hope in His invitation. We all have had formative experiences that have changed us and left an important part of us wounded, questioning our worth. I can't picture better imagery for the life of the soul than the ever-flowing rhythms of the seasons, and Spring above all others is the testimony of what appears hindered and stuck is just waiting for more light to shine on it. This means there's hope for the place in you that's been waiting for assurance, healing, and love.
Above all of creation, God wanted to create us with enough intellect to choose to tend this inner life of the soul with Him or not. We're actually able to lean in or avoid it. But, the journey Jesus invites us on with Him is about full restoration. He wants to heal and make us whole so that we don't only bear His image because He created us, but become people who look and think and feel like Him too. New life is waiting this Spring.
Where are you being invited to come out of your waiting and join Him where He's already working? What spot on the soil of your soul does He want to bend down and look at with you?
Sit down in some stillness or take a slow walk in nature. Be mindful of what imagery from "Spring" seems to speak to the life of your soul right now. Watch for His holy invitations in this new season of hope and reach out for support.