A Season of Rest

Today and tomorrow are the first SNOW DAYS of the school year....oh how I suddenly love being a teacher!!! Such a gift to have an unexpected, cozy, quiet, and restful day at home.

Our dog Chai loves the snow! I tried to "play" with him in it today, but that was less than successful. It's not like we can go sledding, build a snowman, or drink hot chocolate together, but I still think I get points as a good dog mom! And of course he looks as cute as ever anyway. :)

Watching the beautiful snow fall today made me think of how much I love God's creativity in the changing seasons. It is fascinating to understand how and why it all works the way it does. Winter is the season of rest. Everything is quiet, seemingly hidden, and it seems as though there is little life to be found in nature. Yet it's this very rest that allows for the new growth and life that is to come.

Last year at this time I was certainly not writing a blog about how I had just turned 28 and had found a new resolve to live life to the fullest. I was still recovering and healing from the drama of a crazy, intense, accelerated yet blessed season of falling in love, making a million life changing choices in record time, setting out on a new adventure in a new city, and getting married. It was crazy and I couldn't process it fast enough to come out on the other side the same. Last year was hard. I missed my brother and living with him in his house. I missed my church and the powerful ways I grew while I was there. I missed my friends, my Bible Study, my favorite coffee house, the kids I babysat for 8 years and practically grew up with. I missed the simple joy of knowing people in every corner of Cincinnati. I missed the adrenaline of the full life that had been built there. Now in this new life, I felt alone in a very foreign place, away from anything familiar, and less busy then I have ever been in my life. It seemed like the life I had known suddenly stopped and became very quiet. A dear friend and mentor told me that God was giving me a time of rest. She encouraged me to embrace the season rather than second guess its timing.

Only recently have I truly begun to once again look forward rather than dwelling deeply in the past. I have obsessed over imperfections, choices, and missteps that I've made, and I have grieved over so much that has felt lost. I have grieved over just letting go of a special season in my life, and accepting the great change that is present in this one. I know in my head all that has been gained, and God is drawing me close to Him so that my heart may delight in it all as well. My husband has been so gracious in letting me grieve, not always understanding my moments of deep sadness, but loving me and holding me close, trusting in the divine adventure God has brought us together for. I trust in it too.

God gives nature a time of rest. He allows great change and from that change He produces great fruit. This rest allows for a harvest that is plentiful. From my own experience I am learning to let myself and others rest. In a world where we base so much on performance and product, happiness and health, it is so important to allow one another to rest. So many times we fill moments that should be silent with words. We neglect to provide a safe place for powerful emotions to be released. Psalm 30:5 says, "Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning." Who in your life do you need to let rest? Who is trying to find peace that passes all understanding, perhaps as a result of a tragedy or change? Who do you know that feels like they are in a dark time and just need a safe place to grieve or get out some serious weeping? Let them. Very often answers and advice are more harmful than helpful. We need the freedom to feel. Jesus himself wept. He was referred to as a man of many sorrows. He and His father know a lot about some serious grief. If you are the person that needs to grieve or rest, please do. God can handle whatever you have for Him. I pray that you would feel free to offer it. This was the beautiful view from our back door today, and I love the following song written by Hillsong.

This is my prayer in the desert
When all that's within me feels dry
This is my prayer in my hunger and need
My God is the God who provides

This is my prayer in the fire
In weakness or trial or pain
There is a faith proved of more worth than gold
So refine me Lord through the flame

I will bring praise, I will bring praise
No weapon formed against me shall remain
I will rejoice, I will declare
God is my victory and He is here

This is my prayer in the battle
When triumph is still on its way
I am conqueror and co- heir with Christ
So firm on His promise I'll stand

I will bring praise, I will bring praise
No weapon formed against me shall remain
I will rejoice, I will declare
God is my victory and He is here

All of my life in every season
You are still God,
I have a reason to sing,
I have a reason to worship

I will bring praise, I will bring praise
No weapon formed against me shall remain
I will rejoice, I will declare
God is my victory and He is here

This is my prayer in the harvest
When favor and providence flow
I know I'm filled to be emptied again
The seed I received I will sow

"Thank you Lord for letting us grieve and for remaining the same in every season of our lives. Thank you for promising to fill us when we are empty, be near to us when we are brokenhearted, and renew us when we are weary. I will rejoice, I will declare God is my victory and He is here."

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