I actually shared this in my weekly newsletter that goes out every Wednesday morning, and was so blown away by the responses that I receive today from so many people that just resonated with these words, that I wanted to share them with you here as well…
This is the first time since I was a kid that I have been living in a place where the winter season is actually real, and I’ve been feeling the heartbeat of it completely. The gloomy and cloudy days. The slow pace. I feel like everything that is happening in the world around me is the same as everything that has been going on in my heart. A slow season. A time to embrace the quiet and slow down and just rest. Granted, I grate against it with everything that is within me because I just am so not good at the whole rest thing, but I’m learning. I am absolutely learning.
I know we’re into February now, but I still can’t stop thinking about the meaning of this all. Do you pick a word for the year? I know so many do! They pick a word to pray over for the year, or to focus on or learn about. As each year comes to a close, God always lays a word on my heart for the coming year. It is not something that I force, because there have been times when that word has changed throughout the year. It is more like a word for a season, but I look forward to it.
My word for this year is flourish.
And I love everything about what I envision that to mean. So much growth. And abundance. Yet as I have been sitting here in this winter season, I’ve also been reminded that our times of flourishing are ones that start small.
It has been such a wonder to be able to truly see the seasons change. To see the leaves turn all sorts of colors and fall to the ground, and now everything looks barren. Winter is a time of slumber. Of rest. A time of calm in preparation for spring to come. Everything may look barren and bleak in the world around us, but there is so much life surging underground. These trees that have lost all their leaves also have roots that go so deep that are coursing with life, and that is meant to be the same with us.
I’ve been thinking on that deeply this winter season, and it is part of what has led to so much silence. I’m trying to embrace a true winter season in my heart. It doesn’t mean that things aren’t going forward. It doesn’t mean that God isn’t at work. It just simply means it is a time of soul-rest. Because nothing in our lives can flourish and grow without being tended to, and without being planted to begin with. And that means down in the soil, covered in dirt. But still there is life there. The true Gardener is tending to our souls and preparing us for growth. So much life is happening underneath, and just because we cannot see it yet doesn’t mean it is not there.
Do you ever feel that way? Do you ever get caught up in dry seasons where it feels like nothing is moving forward and you feel stuck? As if this period of waiting will never end, and you can’t figure out what God is doing with it all, let alone where He is?
I think those times are meant to be times of simply resting in His greater purpose and plan. Of taking on faith that He says He will fulfill His purpose for us (Psalm 138:8) and allowing our hearts to be cared for by Him. And that can be so, so hard. As a person who loves to take control, it can be hard to fully surrender and give this life completely to God. But worth it, absolutely.
So friend, I just want to encourage you today. If you feel like you are stuck in your circumstances right now, if you feel like God is silent or that this has been a season that has just felt stale, there is still so much life coursing underneath. This may be a winter season of your life, but winter is filled with so much purpose. We see that displayed so much in the outside world. It’s a time of rest that prepares the world for spring. For growth and bloom and absolute flourishing.
This season that you are in, whatever it may be, it has purpose. God is using it, whether it feels like a time of plenty or a time of complete lack. He has you where you are for a reason, and even if He feels so very far away, He is nearer than you can possibly imagine. He promises abundance in our lives, but sometimes that true growth can’t happen without these times of soul-pause that we experience in these winter seasons of our lives. Without these moments in the wilderness. Sometimes what we are most meant to do is simply be a seed planted in the ground that is meant to do nothing more than receive the nourishment that only the Master Gardener can give.
Flourish–it is a word that I am praying over myself this year, but also one that I am taking on faith as a promise from God. And this is how it all begins. By simply being in a place to allow that growth to happen. And I am praying the same for you, friend. Wherever these words find you today, I am praying for abundant fruit to grow in your life, for the glory of God.
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