Thursday, December 31, 2015

Flourish: Winter

Winter

Winter by far is my least favorite season!  I count down the days until I see that little tiny green sprout coming up from the ground.  However, I’ve come to have a new appreciation for the season of Winter.
Yesterday, I left off with the season of Fall and the majority of my time spent in 2015 seems to have been a season of pruning.  I shared several things that God has been pruning back in my life and the last one that we felt God was guiding us to was to leave our church.  This church had been our church for 5 years and we had grown and experienced a lot there.  It took us almost the entire year to make this difficult decision.  I’m not going to go into a lot of details about the whys or how comes, because that isn’t really necessary.  What is necessary to say is that we love the people and will miss seeing everyone on a regular basis.  It would have been really easy to stay but then we wouldn’t be obeying what God was asking of us.  Our church was a fit for us for 5 great years, but God is stirring in our hearts to go somewhere else.  We aren’t completely sure where that somewhere else is yet.  This is a hard place for me to rest in.  Because, honestly I feel like asking God, “What are you doing?” And I’ve realized that this period of questioning is the season of Winter for me.
Winter is a season where things are dormant and it looks like not much is happening.  Often times, our lives feel just like that.  Is anything happening?  What are you doing God?  Is this season of waiting ever going to end?  Blah, blah, blah.  I dislike this season very much.  It’s hard.  Waiting isn’t easy.  It’s this season that stretches me the most and I often resist it the most because so much is out of my control.  But like I said, I have come to a new understanding of the season of Winter.
Today, if I took you for a walk through my garden you would be less than impressed! Nothing is growing, everything looks completely dead with no signs of life anywhere.  It makes me kind of sad in a way, but then I realize I can’t base my feeling on what I can only see at the surface.  Deep down under the surface, some of my favorite plants are still alive.  Buried under the dirt are some tiny plants resting and rejuvenating.  Although to my eyes it looks like nothing is happening, underneath the surface work is being done.  Rest and rejuvenation is a must for a plant to thrive in the upcoming season.  It is imperative that the plant have this time  and I’ve realized it is also imperative for me to take time for this season too.
Rest can sometimes be a struggle for me.  I see all the things I need or want to get done and I think there is no time for rest for me.  So, I push on and keep going.  But this year, I realized I was worn out.  I hadn’t embraced rest into my life.  I hadn’t made time to just rest.  And I needed it more than ever!  It was keeping me from flourishing. I felt God asking us to be intentional with the things we do, but also be intentional with what we don’t do and how rest fits into that.
Mid-year we started to implement rest into our lives. As a family, we decided that Sundays needed to be a time where we could rest and rejuvenate. The only thing that was permitted was going to church, but the rest of the day could be whatever was restful to each one of us. We don’t schedule things on Sundays, we limit technology, eat leftovers because I don’t want to cook, and I don’t do any planning or school prep. For each person in our family, rest looks different.  It may be taking a nap, reading a book, going for a walk, or doing something creative. One day of rest, sets the tone for the week to come. Giving myself time to rest and rejuvenate without feeling guilty has been the best thing for my weary soul! When I take time to rest, it also allows my mind to rest and gain some perspective.  Perspective is really what we all need when we are struggling with things! The decision to leave our church was a very hard one and we wanted to make sure we were correctly discerning what God was asking of us. Without time for rest, I’m not sure we would have been able to discern what God was telling us and how He was stirring things up in our hearts that were leading us in a new direction.
When I look back at this year, I can’t believe what has happened. There has been a lot of pruning, none of which has been easy. But, I’m so thankful that during the midst of it God laid the desire to be intentional about rest on our hearts. Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  Not only have we implemented rest into our weekly schedule, I’m continuing to rest in God’s truth and His direction for our family!
More to come tomorrow…

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