Spring signifies new life.
After the cold, dark winter we’ve collectively experienced – what new growth are you longing for in your heart?
I know for me, after this past year of pandemic life – I’m longing for continued new growth in me. This COVID-winter-season revealed a lot…
The pressure of uncertainty and fear brought out parts of me that I didn’t like and I felt like Paul in Scripture when he says, “15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I despise.” (Romans 7, ESV). I didn’t like how I snapped at my kids and husband when I felt out-of-control and afraid. And I didn’t enjoy how feeling powerless triggered my recovering-control-freak-self to act out and over-control whatever she could get it her hands on. Not to mention how sometimes feeling sad made me withdraw, when all I craved was connection.
And yet at the same time, the stripping away of “all that was” opened up space for me to reconnect with parts of myself I had long forgotten. Parts that had been drowned out by the noise, busyness and hustle of my pre-lock-down pace of life. It was a sweet homecoming of sorts but more on that in another post:)
Both the darkness of my shadows and the new light of my self-discovery were gifts, but I must say that at first, seeing my shadows up close felt more like a burden than a present. They weighed me down because I felt disappointed and even embarrassed as I observed myself in action. It caused me to ride a rollercoaster of being mad at me, then feeling justified for me and then trying so hard to have grace for me. Brené Brown helped me find grace when she described the pandemic as an FFT. (Worth a listen!)
Bottom line, was as the impurities continued to rise, it stirred up a deep longing in me to not stay stuck. But that felt hard and in the moments when all I wanted was to throw parts of myself away, God caught me with open arms. I saw it more this Easter than I ever have before. As I gazed on the cross this year, I was overwhelmed by Jesus hanging there, with arms stretched wide – as if He were reaching to hold me and all the parts of my messy self and this messy world.
From the cross, Jesus shows us that there is no place in the human condition He has not been. He entered into suffering so we don’t have to stay there. It’s as if His open arms say, “hand me your brokenness and what is weighing you down. Let me hold it. I’m no stranger to it. My love has the power to bring dead things to life.”
It was as if this winter was “grace school,” and as spring semester begins, I can look back and see where God was inviting me to grow; like any good teacher does. Where I was longing to change, God was longing to love me into a fuller version of myself that reflects more of His image and makes me more whole. And to prove His sincerity, He sent His son to help.
Jesus reaches for us in the spaces where we want to throw ourselves away. Christ meets us in love, right where we feel the most unlovable. He offers the light of His mercy to see a new way through and His grace to get up, and try again. It’s not about throwing out our humanness but instead trusting Christ’s love to lead us in it. God did not intend for us to be human alone. We don’t have to stay stuck. For in His light, we see light. And in His love we grow in love.
So this Spring, will you continue with me in this “grace school” we call life?
One thing I learned this winter is that God reveals what He is ready to heal.
What if the longing to change ourselves and respond to things differently is actually God longing to love us into a fuller life?
What if all God longs for is that we would know how fully we are loved?
This is the furious longing of God.
It’s never-ceasing, all-surrounding and ever-loving. It’s enough to transform us.
on the furious longing of God (based on Brennan Manning’s book) where we will move our understanding of God’s love from our head to our heart and allow God to love us to life!
Blessings of compassion and grace,