I’ve been surprised by it, yet there has been no mistaking it at the same time. The word that God has been proclaiming over me these past few weeks has been the word “flourish.” And as I’ve been in the midst of a giant move–packing up my whole life in California and leaving so much behind that I never wanted to say goodbye to, I clung onto what I thought that word meant. That Him calling me to this new place and life in Maryland would be abundant. And I’m not saying that it won’t be, but I was hoping that as soon as I got here, my life here would just start taking shape. That community would come quickly and this big stepping out in faith would be one of so much fruit bearing.
And still, it might be. I’m sure it will be. But at the same time, I’ve had it all wrong.
Oh, God is still proclaiming that word over me. Flourish. But it doesn’t mean what I thought it meant. Because you can’t get to that part of your story where you are flourishing without allowing yourself to be planted into the depths of the soil first. Flourishing starts with a death. With allowing yourself to be a tiny little seedling left in the solitude of the dark earth. A tiny, vulnerable little seed but still so completely seen and known by God. And through HIS nourishing of our souls, eventually that little seed will sprout and push up from the ground.
Flourishing doesn’t happen without first being planted. And that is where I am right now. That is where God has me.
October has always been a notoriously difficult month for me. I’ve always been so attuned to the changing of the seasons, and how they seem to reflect so much of what is going on in the heart. I’ve walked through many hard seasons in the fall, and try as I might as summer comes to an end each year to proclaim that this next fall will be different, those old familiar feelings still start to creep in. But there is a necessary part to fall as well. And here I am on the east coast getting to see with my own eyes something that Californians only yearn for–the changing of the leaves. How they become brilliant shades of wonder as they prepare to die. And there is something so beautiful about that. About how they have been so rooted and fed as they have clung to their branches and the beauty of it shows as their lives come to an end.
Fall is a necessary part of our lives. We all have those places within us that need to become dormant or need to die in order for fruit to grow. It is a season that often feels overwhelming in its slowness, especially after the quick pace of summer. But maybe the fall is really a gift. Maybe this slower pace is preparing us for a rest that our souls so deeply need. The winter seasons of our lives that are meant to be a rest and reprieve.
That is what God is calling me to during this season. That is what He is asking of me. To consent to be a seed. To be planted deep in the fold of His glory and nourished on His truth and His presence and His awareness of me as my outside circumstances are slow and sometimes lonely. I’m now in a place where I don’t have a community of friends yet and I don’t have places to go and things to do to sink my teeth into. In many ways it feels like my world has come to a slow halt, but I don’t want to lament that like I have in seasons in the past where God has called me to simply be silent and to wait and to rest. Because this is a gift. The quiet is overwhelming at times, but maybe it is the kind of quiet that is meant to draw me closer to Him. To hear Him in the silence of these darker months. A seed that is so reliant on the Gardener to be fed and nourished in order to grow. And what a blessedly amazing thing it is to be planted in the garden of the Lord!
He is calling me to rest in the slow rhythms of His grace. To sit in the very quiet that He has led me into, and just allowing myself to be there without trying to fill it with noise and hustle. To allow myself to just be a tiny seed right now nestled in the earth, my only job being to simply allow myself to be poured into by the Mighty Gardener.
That is something that I love so much about the fall. That even as the leaves fall down and the trees become bare, their roots are still planted so deeply below. They are alive and flourishing below the surface even when we can’t see it with our eyes. And that is exactly how God takes care of our hearts. Sometimes He calls us into quiet seasons of rest that are meant to be a gift but we view it as a time of disfavor as our worlds seem to come to standstill. But maybe it is just about allowing ourselves to be fed. To be nourished. To be held in the arms of our God and King.
Oh yes, flourish. It is still what He is proclaiming over me in this season. And it starts right now by just being a little seed completely in need of His care. By allowing Him to nourish me just right so that roots one day begin to be planted so deeply here in a place that is so new. Of course my time here starts with a quiet season of planting after my whole life was just uprooted. It is a planting that takes place within–the places our eyes are not meant to see just yet. A planting that will lead to shoots springing up from the ground in just the right moment. One day growing tall and healthy and mightily and bearing abundant fruit.
He wants me and He wants you to flourish in His garden. To be a mighty tree planted in His goodness and righteousness. And we’ll grow all the taller and bear all the more fruit–we’ll flourish more deeply–if we allow ourselves to consent to first being planted. To being a tiny seed down in the deep.
I know that I’m not the only one who struggles this time of year and who is also going through a massive life transition. But I encourage you to just allow yourself to rest in Him during this season–and it is something we have to allow. So many of us fight against the quiet and the rest as if it is something foreign and wrong. But it is a gift. A gift of knowing our God more than we ever have before. Of roots being planted even more deeply in His purpose. A time to turn off the noise from the outside and simply listen and be ministered to. To be held. Friend, allow yourself to be held in the mighty arms of your Father! A season of rest is just another preparation for growth.
Let’s be seeds together. Seeds planted by the Source of Life Himself. Let’s flourish together in His purpose and His love and His sovereignty by being children that faithfully embrace the quiet.
[PS, my friend Gretchen of Life Lived Beautifully sent me this sweet, sweet gift of her new Bible study. It was waiting for me when I got to my new house. Check out what it’s called. ONLY GOD, am I right?! You can get a copy here!]