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The Winter Is Past

I just experienced the perfect moment.  I am sitting on a rock literally a foot away from a rushing river.  Every once in a while, the water jumps up and splashes me.  The thundering of the stream on the rocks is so loud, yet somehow comforting.  I was so ready to start back home, a little disappointed, but I decided to take one more drive.  I landed here.
 

Throughout the past few weeks I have been struggling with something that has never been an issue for me before:  the silence of God.  Throughout my entire life, His voice has been so clear to me.  I could feel myself losing perspective and rearranging priorities that I knew needed to stay the same.  This has been a difficult thing for me because feeling close to God and having clear direction have perhaps been things that were so easy that I have taken them for granted.  I decided rather spontaneously to get away this weekend and take a trip to the Appalachian Mountains to hopefully hear from God.

Yesterday, God brought a couple verses to my attention that have increasingly become the theme of this trip (Song of Songs 2:10-12):

“My lover spoke and said to me,
‘Arise, my darling,
my beautiful one, and come with me.
See!  The winter is past;
the rains are gone.
Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come.’”

This morning I had a very moving time with God.  I started praying through my past, about all that I am involved with now, the things that I struggle with, my fears, and the future.  I began to realize that the more I am in His presence, the smaller my problems become.  When I had said my peace, God had me make two lists:  one with the things from my past and present that are holding me back, and the other of my greatest desires and dreams.  I then gathered dead leaves and wrote each item on a leaf.  There were several things I wrote; some were the names of people from past relationships or friendships that went sour.  Others were my struggle with self-esteem and depression.  There were several leaves dedicated to my fear:  fear of failure, fear of not being good enough, and fear of being a disappointment.  I dedicated a leaf to my illness that I have battled for nearly a decade.  I began to realize that using dead leaves was fitting, because all that had been holding me back was truly dead as well.  There was nothing life-giving or beautiful about these things.  I had given them so much power over me as I allowed them a place in my life.

My dreams and desires were written on dead leaves as well, because without the Source of life, that is all they will be.  I needed to surrender those things, knowing that God may or may not give them back to me one day.  There were only three:  my desire to be married, my dream of writing, and my passion to work with orphans.  Through this experience, I determined that either way, I would praise my Creator and serve Him alone for the rest of my life.

I have imagined the Kingdom of God like a rushing river:  powerful and beautiful and pure.  I have come to find that following Christ is less about what we do for Him and more about jumping into the flow of His Spirit.  In this river we are washed clean and His grace carries us to the places that God desires us to be.  This water is life-giving, and all who taste will find life.  It is never about us, but all about the Giver of life.  I want to be what Psalm 1:3 describes as God’s righteous follower:  “He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.  Whatever he does prospers.”

I took my withered leaves and climbed down the bank to the water’s edge.  Standing on a rock in the rushing stream, I one by one dropped the leaves into the water and watched them be swept away by the current.  I cried and prayed through each leaf as I tossed them, “God, I give you my issues with my self-esteem…God, I give you my fear.”  I prayed that He would help me to no longer allow these things power in my life.  Lost in the flow of His grace and will, I one by one let go of the things that had been holding me back from following Him and believing the truth that He has spoken into my life.

I then took my three dreams and one by one tossed them into the river of His will.  I gave Him my writing ability and my dreams to do a great many things with that.  I gave Him my desire to care for orphans, knowing that if His will should call me that direction, the flow of His Spirit that I had entered would take me there.  Finally, I stood on the edge of the river holding the final leaf that represented my desire to be married.  I prayed that God would give me strength to place that in His will, that I would still praise Him if He were to take that from me.  I prayed for my future husband, as I have prayed for him every day for years, that God would bless him and protect his heart.  I prayed that if God were to allow me this honor of marriage, that I would be a blessing, an encouragement, and a fulfillment of His purpose in the life of the man that God might bring my way.  With those words, I placed the leaf in the river and watched it as it was carried away.

The verses from Song of Songs kept coming to mind throughout the day, and it was almost like I could feel God take my hand and whisper, “Arise my darling…and come with me.  See!  The winter is past.”  For so many years I have seemed to go from heartache to heartache, and I have often found myself asking God when this season of sorrow would end.  At last the time has come, as the trees are beginning to sprout new leaves and the forest is awakening with new life.  My God has spoken:  the winter is past!  I pulled my car alongside the rushing river as the song “Amazing Grace” came on by Chris Tomlin.

God has brought me through many dangers, toils, and snares.  His amazing grace has saved this hopeless one, once lost in despair but now found.  As the leaves were flowing farther and farther downstream, I smiled.  “My chains are gone!  I’ve been set free!  My God, my Savior has ransomed me!  And like a flood, His mercy rains unending love, amazing grace.”

I don’t think that I could ever get tired of watching the water rush past me, flowing over rocks and out of sight.  The thundering sound that it creates, yet loud it is so peaceful.  Where do I go from here?  Well, I am going to get in my car and drive back to Nashville, trusting that my God and my Love will honor these desires of my heart.  May He capture me and carry me in the flow of His Spirit as He leads me on in this great adventure of life.

You Lead
Jamie Grace
I’ve got waves that are tossin’ me,
Crashin’ all over my beliefs,
And in all sincerity, Lord,
I wanna be yours,
So pull me out of this mess I’m in,
Cause I know I’m wanderin’
Lead my soul back home again,
I’ve always been yours,

And this world may push, may pull,
But your love it never fails,

You lead, I’ll follow, Your hands hold my tomorrow,
Your grip, Your grace, You know the way,
You guide me tenderly,
When you lead, I’ll follow,
Just light the way and I’ll go,
Cause I know what you got for me is more than I can see,
So lead me on, on, on and on,
Just lead me on, on, on and on,

As a child I heard your voice,
But as a girl I made my choice,
There is no other way for me,
I’m devoted to you,
You’re my peace on the heavy days,
You’re the warmth of an autumn blaze,
Your love carries me away,
And it’s never too soon, no…

And this world may push, may pull,
But your mercy never fails,

You lead, I’ll follow, Your hands hold my tomorrow,
Your grip, Your grace, You know the way,
You guide me tenderly, yeah,
When you lead, I’ll follow,
Just light the way and I’ll go,
Cause I know what you got for me is more than I can see,
So lead me on, on, on and on,
Just lead me on, on, on and on,

Sometimes when I wake up, I don’t wanna rise up, Out of my bed, too many thoughts in my head,
Don’t wanna be who I used to be,
Gonna take the back seat and let you lead,
And I…
Need to stop, need to stop,
Cause I’m going too fast,
And I…
Know my God is still God, And you got my back,

You lead, I’ll follow, Your hands hold my tomorrow,
Your grip, Your grace, You know the way,
You guide me tenderly, yeah,
When you lead, I’ll follow,
Just light the way and I’ll go,
Cause I know what you got for me is more then I can see,
So lead me on…
Lead me on…

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About the author chelseamaxine

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