Today feels like fall in Wisconsin. It’s barely in the 60s (Fahrenheit, for all my non-U.S. friends who may be reading this), which means I’m chilly and already crabby that summer will be officially over shortly. The kids are back in school soon or already are, which means all my teacher family and friends have crazy schedules again, and I’m terribly selfish and don’t like sharing them and their attention.
Summer is a season; it comes in a glorious burst with highs (vacations! sitting outside in shorts and t-shirts! festivals!) and lows (see above paragraph) and “meh” days, and before you know it, the calendar says September and the season is over.
While I’ve been enjoying summer, I’ve also been in the midst of a very different season for the past two or so months. This season has maybe been the most raw, beautiful, difficult, beautifully-in-over-my-head of my entire life.
This season has had days where I feel like my soul was parched and dry, wilting within me, and then there have been days where I feel I could burst from thankfulness and joy.
I don’t remember the last time I was this exposed, digging into issues with God that I didn’t even realize had been things bubbling up inside my heart all this time. It’s taken 27 years, but I feel as though I’m finally digging into who He wants me to be in Him and who He’s created me to be. It’s been a really rich time of discovering myself, flaws and all.
It all started while I was on my mission trip to Costa Rica. I could feel Him stirring up something, something new, in my soul. What that “something” is I don’t fully know yet, though. I just have little glimpses of it for now.
So I ended the trip on this high, ready to follow God in whatever, the great unknown. I was ready to shed everything holding me back and just do it. Watch out world, I was comin’ for ya.
And then, I re-entered my “normal life.”
It’s no secret (at least not to my immediate family) that I do not handle re-entry into the U.S. well after a mission trip. I’m basically as ungraceful about it as I could possibly be–and by that I mean I’m often incredibly self-centered and don’t extend the grace to my family and others the way I should.
After about a week or so of wallowing in self-pity (it was not pretty), I finally realized: I don’t like this. I came face-to-face with all the ugliness inside of me that was threatening to choke out all my joy and gratitude for my life in the States. I had a very distinct moment where I saw that I had one of two choices to make: strive after God and seek what He was trying to show me through all of my ups and downs, or I could turn and walk away from basically everything, particularly my relationship with Him.
I had to decide to fight for my relationship with Jesus. Whatever it took (and takes), I didn’t want to waste any time by NOT following and striving to grow in Him.
I had to and have to surrender.
I had to and have to learn to be faithful in what He’s given me now (Luke 16:10).
I had to and have to be willing to tackle the good and bad in my life.
I had to and have to spend time with Him daily.
I had to and have to open myself up and ask for accountability.
One of the most incredible things from this season of my life has been seeing who He’s divinely arranged for me to encounter. On top of the existing important, special people in my life, He’s brought in teammates from Costa Rica, people from my church, a friend from college whom I hadn’t seen in years, a friend I regrettably didn’t spend much time with when I was living in Texas, etc., to show me that He cares. He loves me so much to bless me with all these incredible people who daily send me encouraging texts, pray for me and keep me going when I just want to cry.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned (and still am learning) from this season, it’s this:
He is so faithful. SO FAITHFUL.
It’s so easy to take that fact for granted when things are normal and fine. Sometimes you (or at least I) need up to be down and down to become up to realize and fully appreciate His steadfastness. He’s never wavered in His love for me. I see His goodness continually in my life, and it would be crazy to take all the “random happenings” in my life and call them coincidences.
Because whether this season lasts for a long time or ends tomorrow, whether He reveals to me what this stirring is soon or far in the distance, He is still good.
And seasons may come and go, but He always remains the same.