Finding My Invincible Summer
While reading, listen to Let It Matter by Johnnyswim.
I love the season that I am in.
Season. It’s a little bit of a Christianese word. I’m not sure that the rest of the world uses it in any other way than to describe the actual changes we see in nature throughout the year. Christianese it may be, but I find it to be helpful language. Understanding my life within seasons not only helps me identify what God is teaching me right now, but also helps me understand the purpose of those lessons.
Right now, our church is in a sermon series titled, Seasons. Its focus is identifying God’s hand in whatever we’re going through and how to really get the most out of the circumstances we find ourselves in. Each week, we’re looking at a different season (i.e. Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall) to see what parallels can be drawn between nature’s process and our own. It’s only been two weeks, and I have already learned so much. How can one really look at nature and tell me there’s no Creator? His intentionality, care, and attention to detail is everywhere we look! What’s even more marvelous is that what’s happening outside our window is often what is happening within our own hearts. During discussion this past Sunday, we were asked this question: What season in nature would you relate your life to currently? Why?
I was surprised by my answer. Immediately, I knew.
If you know me, you know that Fall is my favorite season. You can tell this by just taking a quick look around the blog. The colors of the leaves, weather, fashion, etc., center me after a busy Summer, and get me excited for time at home with family. My apartment is currently filled with little white and orange pumpkins, Halloween themed Children’s books on my bookcase, and yummy Pumpkin Spiced candles in each room. I can’t help myself! Second to Fall is Winter, for one reason, and one reason only: Christmas. All things Christmas. Third, is Spring. I love the rain, spring cleaning, blossoming trees, and my birthday is in March. Which leaves, Summer. Don’t get me wrong, I love the rhythms of Summer, but it just doesn’t stack up against the rest!
So why do I find myself in a Summer season? Easy. Right now, in my life, I am seeing so much fruit. Again, a Christianese term, but let me explain. In Scripture, when the word “fruit” is used in a parable or Proverb to teach a principle, it could be synonymous with proof.
Fruit = proof of a life connected to the Holy Spirit. When a tree produces a lot of healthy, vibrant fruit...that speaks to the tree’s root system and overall growth. It’s the same with the believer: when I am connected to the Holy Spirit, and when growth and health are a priority, you will see the proof of that in my life. Everything changes when my root system is solid...I can hear God above the noise of my life, I can love people who are hard to love, I can see God’s perspective for whatever situation I am in, I can accept my strengths and flaws, I can receive criticism and not have it rock me to my core, and I can make my life about investing in others - without becoming empty. It’s a beautiful thing, and it’s the only thing that will sustain us.
After a few years of serious self-doubt, I find that I finally believe in myself. More than that, I believe in the power of God through me. I am more convinced than ever that God can be trusted with your wants, dreams, and desires. He knows what he is doing with us, and whatever he is focusing on right now should capture our attention, because he is purposeful. God doesn’t waste time or a single season!
I remember going to college to study Biblical Studies, but in the deep, quiet parts of my heart, I wanted to write. All I wanted was to tell stories...stories of people, adventure, spirituality, and love. I wanted to devote all of my time to building this gift and passion, and had no idea how I could do that while studying The Bible. I remember the panic I felt, wondering if I had made the wrong college decision. What did it mean to follow my dreams but also live with an open hand, and follow God’s call? Thankfully, I left space to listen, and God spoke. He said, “I am not in the business of putting pieces of you on a shelf to gather dust. I will use your gifts, I only ask that you trust me with the process.” So for the next three years, I studied Biblical Studies, and it breathed more meaning and purpose into my life than I could have ever hoped. He is faithful. After graduating, he outdid himself and gave my husband and I the dream gig in the Bay Area, doing ministry with family.
Throughout this time, I wrote. I journaled, I blogged, I read more books than ever. I freed this passion for writing to become a hobby, not a job. I became comfortable with my voice and I wrote for fun. I slowly crafted a blog (where you are now!), and I launched it, knowing that my life had the capacity for it, and that Jesus was in it.
Here’s the crazy part. It has been only two months since Victoria, Truthfully. was born, and I have been contacted with several professional writing opportunities. These are opportunities that I couldn’t have forced if I tried. I could have barrelled down these doors to write years ago, but God knew what he was doing. He was more focused on my root system, my trust in Him...and he knew that the fruit would come. He saw what I didn’t: the value of writing with no pressure - to grow in my craft and in my confidence. I am now writing more than ever, loving every minute, and gifted with opportunities to work with wonderful people along the way.
When I look outside, I see Fall placing its cozy, colorful touch on my neighborhood. But when I look within, into my heart and what God is doing there, I see Summer. I see trees full of oranges, sun bright in the sky, no daunting schedule before me, but freedom. Freedom to believe in myself. Freedom to step out and take risks. Freedom to say, “Yes!” Freedom to be the me I was trying to rush, but God was intent on teaching.
Friend, fruit does not come quick. It takes waiting, it takes a lot of work, and it takes a lot of doing your part and leaving the rest to God. It also takes looking yourself in the mirror and speaking truth, not giving into fear. What season do you find yourself in? Take a minute to really look at your life and see what God is doing. Whatever he is teaching you, embrace it. Whatever is hard about right now, know that it isn’t forever. Dig deep roots, and stay obedient. And whatever you are loving, let yourself. Let no one steal the joy from where you stand. What was a mystery to me, was known by God. What felt impossible to me, has been made possible in His time. That is the beautiful thing about seasons...each one prepares the way for the next.