Savouring Every Season

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Everyone said it would be over in the blink of an eye: this insane, hard, glorious season of having little ones. Little ones are everywhere—underfoot in the kitchen, in the bed in the middle of the night, in the potty when others of us (ahem!) need to use it.

This season of small children has nearly put me over the edge of sanity. Almost every day, I feel like I am at full capacity, nearing my threshold, overwhelmed. Everywhere I turn, there is need and roiling emotion and sin—and that’s just in my own heart, forget the six other people who live under my roof! After baby number five was born in 2015, I said, “I need a break from having babies! Maybe forever.” And so, we have been in a blissful season of recovery.

I have been having babies for nearly the last decade. My oldest turns nine in December and we have four more besides. I am weary. My mind is constantly multi-tasking; my body has nourished and grown and birthed five children approximately every two years; and my heart is full to bursting and very undone by trying to parent all these little individuals. There have been many days over the past eight years that I have wanted all of the mess of small children to hurry up and get along, to move on out, to get going to the next season. People told me to enjoy this season—the days are long, but the years are short, they said. And intellectually, I believed them, but under the ocean of being overwhelmed, it seemed like the end could not come too soon.

Then my baby turned one in April and suddenly, she is past the halfway mark, closer to little girl than baby. I wonder at what all of the children can do for themselves now, and for each other, without me. I marvel at their independence and how quickly it appeared—like the fiery edge of dawn that comes pouring over the horizon just when the night feels endlessly dark and cold and lonely. It came almost without warning. And while the break, the breath, the beauty of the sunrise are all welcome, I find myself longing for the middle of the night feedings, for the babes that crawled and cooed not that long ago.

Of course my home is still chaos embodied. Of course five children eight-and-under still feels like a LOT of little ones. But the other night I glanced at a photo with my two little girls lying side-by-side, one two years old and one who is about six months and I thought, “Is this season really ending? Is it almost over?”

This season that once seemed nearly endless, now nearly gone. Why do I cry when I write that? In the midst of it, it seemed like all I did was kick against the goads embodied in my children.

I am reading a short collection of poetry by Sarah Dunning Park entitled, What it is is beautiful: honest poems for mothers of small children. I like the poems, but more than anything, I like the perspective: What it is is beautiful. It has re-centered my soul in the truth that even in the hard, even in the ugly, even in the dark, whatever our gracious God pours over my life is beautiful. Each season, though often weighty and maybe difficult, also bears up a unique beauty that will be there only for that particular space and time.

How can I learn to sit in it, to sit with it, to lean into the beauty and see it in the moment, not just after it is over? I am practicing thanksgiving and stillness in the final days of the only season I have ever really known with my children: crazy-overwhelmed. And I pray each successive season will find me more aware of how precious and beautiful it is.

Photo Credit : Unsplash

Winter: A Season of Rest

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Winter is my favourite season. Now, the reasons that make me long for winter here in Delhi are many. Our summer is long and stifling with no end in sight. Our spring is a blur, and by the time you recognize that it’s here, it has actually left. Autumn is a sorry picture and is mostly spent in anticipation of winter. But there’s more to winter’s joys than just being the best of what Delhi has been dealt.

Though there may be cons like sickness, travel delays, smog and a light wallet, I like being able to turn on the warm yellow lights at home and wear cosy winter clothes. Sip mug after mug of tea and bake my heart out. Make fun plans with friends and family and travel. I’ve written a bit about this season in my post Looking Forwardbut apart from that festive air that tags along with winter, it’s also the quietness and rest post-festivities that I have started to enjoy. It’s easy to mistake this quietness as the lull after the hustle and bustle, but I have come to recognise it as a much needed respite for my body, mind and soul.

A time for Sabbath

Winter’s rest echoes  the way God designed the Sabbath for us — and those who work for us — to rest and replenish our strength. Even the land was given rest every seven years. It can be a time to slow down and recover from the busyness and the packed calendar, to revive and rejuvenate and even subconsciously prepare for the harsh seasons ahead.

Unfortunately, we live in a time where busyness seems to be the mark of success in career or ministry or even parenting. Even kids are expected to be enrolled in every possible activity and their weeks are kept packed. God’s design of rest seems to be a fading trend. Of course, there may be some who have no choice in the matter;  busyness may be their portion, or season, shall I say.

Choosing to rest

The last few months have been a kind of winter for me both spiritually, emotionally and physically. There have been busy spells but there has been plenty of rest and time to just be and enjoy the people around me. There’s often been the temptation to look for busyness, but I have been constantly reminded through the Word to be still and know that He is God. To make the right choices even though there is always this creeping longing to do more, to be more. Thankfully, God has enabled me to use this time to build myself, and a few others around me, spiritually and physically.  If I allow my spiritual and physical well-being to be taken care of by the right Source, I find that my emotional well-being is an automatic by-product.

Sometimes the winters seem to last forever. You seem to be waiting for something to happen which shows no sign of happening. Or you long to be able to do something that you can’t right now. Or something that was going great suddenly isn’t anymore. God may seem distant, uninterested, silent. But that’s when we need to remember God’s promise to His people in Exodus 33:14 “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” That’s the time we ought to trust in His eternal love and His perfect timing and focus our energies in the roles He has placed us in for the moment. And do it joyfully, as unto the Lord.

And so even though my winter might stretch a bit longer, God’s Word constantly reminds me to make the most of it by enjoying the time given to me. Investing myself in the right areas, keeping the focus on my Redeemer, the giver and fulfiller of my dreams. Being thankful for this time of good health and rest, before being plunged into the unknown summer to come.

And He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.” Mark 6:31

Photo Credit : Unsplash 

For Everything There is a Season

A photo by davide ragusa. unsplash.com/photos/4jcFu1byopQ

I have an early morning flight to catch tomorrow as my husband has planned a six day vacation for my 30th birthday. Over the last three years of my marriage, I have been fortunate enough to travel to five countries and explore multiple cities. I have loved every bit of it. Meeting new people, trying different cuisines, experiencing different cultures – all the while making plans for where we could travel to next. I am grateful to the Lord who has given us the time, means and health to be able to travel. However, I am also grateful for a season in my life where even stepping out of my house was a challenge, let alone travelling the world.

It was the year 2010. I had just graduated from my Masters program and was ready to take on the world. Then one day I got a call to leave Bangalore and return to my hometown Kochi. My father had met with a serious accident in the Middle East, which required my mother to leave my ailing grandmother and an unfinished house to rush to aid my dad. My parents would not have considered their 23 year old daughter the best fit to take on the responsibility of finishing a half built house and care for my bedridden grandmother, but they had no choice.

As much as I would like to say that I humbly accepted this as the Lord’s doing and purpose for me at that time, in reality I was mentally kicking and screaming for having to come back to Kerala and to have to put my ambitions, career and my social life on hold. Once I got back home, I reluctantly got into the grind of things. I missed my church, my circle of friends and the city I had called home for the last seven years. Except for a handful of family and church friends, I had none of my close friends around me. Between looking over contracts, conversations with the plumber and midnight runs to my grandmother’s bedside, I did not have the time or energy for anything else.

As weeks turned to months, I was determined to finish the task and return to Bangalore. My whole family was supportive of it. My father was recovering well and my mother returned from the Middle East, so that her daughter could go back to Bangalore to pursue her dreams. But within two weeks my mother was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer.

As I look back on the months following my mother’s diagnosis, it is a blur of hospital visits, surgeries, sleepless nights and hours on my knees in prayer. Going back to Bangalore didn’t matter, pursuing a career didn’t matter, having an active social life didn’t matter. We moved to an apartment with a family friend and I remember literally not stepping foot outside for months together unless it was a hospital run. I remember learning to cut my own hair because I couldn’t afford to leave my mother’s side to go get one. Being the ultra-extrovert that I am, I did struggle with not being with my friends, not being able to just hang out or simply being outside the house. Months on months passed with mother’s treatment and recovery. In the mean time the house got built, we planned and celebrated my brother’s wedding and my grandmother held on through all this chaos.

It has been over five years since all this unfolded. That season of my life is done with. My life today is a much different picture from those days. I have the time to (binge) watch Netflix, coffee with a friend is just phone call away and yes I go to the salon to get my hair done. This is a happier and much easier season of life. However, if the Lord gave me a choice to completely erase that period of life from my memory, I would choose not to. As hard as those days were, it was in that storm that I held on closest to Him as my anchor. It was during those dark nights that I would see His greater purposes in the light of His Word. It was in that bitter season that there was a hope for a sweeter tomorrow.

I know today that I am in that “sweeter tomorrow” and I know that as a family we will face our challenges down the lane. My prayer and my hope is that when that day comes I would have the wisdom to recollect His faithfulness from the past and trust Him to use us for His greater purpose.

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: A time to weep and a time to laugh” Ecclesiastes 3: 1,4

 

Photo Credit: Unsplash

A Time to Bloom

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Not too long ago, we finally had a family move into the flat across us. After a few days of settling in, they lined their balcony with a number of different plants. The row began with a tall plant crowned by beautiful little yellow flowers. Next came orange flowers, with long petals, resembling a fancy floppy hat, followed by other green plants. Shortly, however, our neighbours had to travel, leaving behind the plants to fend for themselves. Within a matter of days, each plant withered. It was the right season for these plants to grow and flower, but here they lay dead because they were not getting what they needed. The time was right, but the care absent.

One morning, as I glanced at the gloomy and lifeless flowers, I felt an unexpected affinity towards them. On more days than I’d like to admit, I’d been feeling a lot like those plants; utterly exhausted, grouchy, and barely in control of the day’s demands. But I was trying to push on, trying my best to make my house look presentable, failing; trying to throw a Pinterest worthy first birthday party for my daughter, succeeding, and then wondering if it was worth it at all.

I was neglecting things truly important to me; my physical, emotional, and spiritual health. I explained away my tiredness and my failure to be on top of things as a natural part of being a new mom. But as I saw those withered plants, I felt God telling me, “Freda, you can bloom right now. It’s not the wrong season. You’re just not taking care of yourself.” The message made me uncomfortable. Change, even when for our good, is unsettling. I asked God what I needed to change. Here’s what I got: Give up perfectionism.

I am a perfectionist. During my school years I realised that teachers (not all), generally, have favourites from two categories – either the ones excelling in studies or the very good looking students. By the time I was in grade eleven, I was studying subjects I liked, and my grades reflected my increased interest. It was clearly visible that teachers were also increasingly noticing me. I went on to lose weight and suddenly the opposite sex was also more interested in me. I liked the attention, but it bothered me because I was the same person inside. The ball of perfectionism was set in motion. The message was clear: people like you when you’re perfect.

Perfectionism placed an unnatural amount of pressure on me. I made up excuses to get out of writing a couple of exams because I did not want to disappoint the teacher who had her hopes pinned on my outstanding success. But, I am not the only one who crumbles under perfectionism. If you observe nature, you will notice that flowers bloom gradually. You can notice when a bud appears, when it opens a wee bit, right up until it’s in full bloom. Applied to trees, perfectionism would mean that a little sapling insists on being a large oak within a week or die trying. Despite its best efforts, the little sapling is headed for disappointment. Though if it just relaxed and trusted the process God set in place, it would one day grow into a mighty oak.

Perfectionism, at its root, is a coping mechanism. If I feel ‘not good enough’, I will try to be better in order to gain people’s approval. Perfectionism robs us of the joy of living, of relishing moments flying by, and prevents us from truly accepting self and others. After all, if I can’t accept myself the way I am, how will I accept you? But we don’t have to live this  way. The moment we choose to break loose from the shackles of perfection, we experience the freedom we crave. And in God, our Creator, we find One who is perfectly able to mould us into our best design for His glory (Eph. 1:3-6).

God, unlike the people we try to please, does not wait for us to get our act together before lavishing us with love; it’s continuously poured over us in abundance (1 John 3:1). As we journey with God, He transforms us into the likeness of His Son and our life reflects the fruit of the Holy Spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control (2 Cor. 3:18, Gal. 5:22). We abound with joy irrespective of the circumstances in which we find ourselves; what a glorious state of being!

Just yesterday we had invited guests over for dinner. As soon as the food was ready, my brother-in-law called everyone to dig in. But the table was not yet laid out to my liking! The spaghetti was still resting in a colander on top of the big dish in which it had been boiled; horror! But, instead of shooing away the people, I let them serve themselves from the imperfect table. And we all had a perfectly dandy time.

I am new in this journey of letting go of perfectionism. I am moving towards embracing myself and life the way it is, as I begin to further embrace God for who He is. And so, yes God, I am willing to drop off my obsession with perfectionism. I no longer want to wither under pressure and fear. I am up for re-investing my time in projects which have long been neglected due to fear of failing. I am ready to grow!

What is keeping you from growth in your current season of life? Are you ready for the unsettling yet rewarding process of change? Let’s journey together in living the life God created for us; A life marked with love and no fear!

 

Photo Credit : Flickr

Changing Seasons, Unchanging God

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Seasons come, seasons go.

Change is incessant.

The only unchanging thing in life is change itself.

They may seem like trite, clichéd statements, but over these past few months, they have slapped me in the face, up close and personal. Our family has moved three cities,  packed up and left our furniture in storage, currently live out of three suitcases and two holdalls, with  no income, and no home to call our own. I’ve struggled with the inability to make comprehensive plans (which, for an inveterate organiser, is anathema!). I’ve questioned God’s seemingly erratic leading. I’ve wondered what our future holds.

And I have no answers.

But here’s the one fact that has continually encouraged and strengthened me: our God never changes. I’m learning to appreciate this anew in this season of change. We worship an unchanging God. He loves us regardless of our vacillating faith, crippling fears, and imperfect obedience. He is the same. He is constant. And He is in complete control. My view of Him may falter; I may blame Him when I ought to be thanking Him; but that doesn’t change who He is. He remains – Yahweh – the all-powerful, all-knowing, ever-present, eternal One.

What a comfort for souls that are being tossed up and down by life’s stormy waves.

I’d like to share some of the lessons that I’m learning through these seasons of change.

Personality: Seasons of change help mould my character, emptying the selfishness and pride and filling me with love and compassion. These struggles are good because they chisel away at my rock-like heart until the image of Christ is revealed.

To my surprise, I found having to live on the kindness and generosity of others to be a humbling experience. I’ve always enjoyed being the magnanimous benefactor; reality began to pinch my ego when I found myself at the receiving end. Crucifying the self then became a daily challenge, if not an hourly one!

Priority: Seasons of change show me who I really am – what my true priorities are and where my allegiance lies. I’d always believed that I wasn’t a materialistic person – I was never one for the latest fads in fashion or furniture; my house always looked homely, never glamorously styled with matching décor. My choice in clothes can only be described as comfortable, never trendy. Hence the misguided, self-righteous belief mentioned above.

It was a rude shock to suddenly find myself bereft of my bookcases and books. I actually miss them, and my greatest fear is that the moving guys will either break the cases or destroy the books (I have an over-active imagination that specialises in worst-case scenarios!). As ridiculous as that example may seem, it showed me that I could never have responded as Job did after he lost everything. “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord,” he says in Job 1:21.

Perspective: As I said at the beginning, seasons come and go. They aren’t permanent; that is their very nature. I’m learning to step back and see the big picture. I’ve begun to appreciate the small things, value the simple things and be grateful for everything. I am able to enjoy my toddler’s growing vocabulary and hilarious mannerisms more today than I did before. What I saw as a chore, is now fun. I’m realising that I can live without a lot of “stuff”. I’m learning to trust God and not make my own plans. After all, since He knows what the future holds, why worry?

As I learn to see God like I’ve never seen Him before, I’m finally beginning to understand that this life on earth is not about me at all. When we see God in even a fraction of His splendour, it can only humble us and bring us to our knees. For this awesome High King longs for us, sings over us, and calls us His beloved children! What a privilege.

The well-known words from a familiar song remind of what remains true in this fleeting, inconstant life.

Your promises remain

Forever and ever

You won’t fade away

You never, You never change

You’re unchanging God

You will never change

You’re unchanging God

 

Photo Credit : Annie Spratt

Looking for the Mangoes

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If you’ve ever lived through an Indian summer, you know that it’s often hotter than a sizzler doused in hot sauce served in hell’s kitchen. Your head feels like a wet mop that can never be wrung out. You towel off after a shower only to realise it’s a somewhat pointless routine. You have to peel yourself off plastic chairs thanks to the sweat that glues you down to porous surfaces.

Yeah, no points for guessing that summer is so not my favourite time of year.

But if there’s one redeeming factor about summer in India, it’s the mangoes. They make everything better. Scientific fact.

Pyramids of golden deliciousness call out to me from street carts. I happily substitute meals with mangoes. I make sure not an evening goes by where my family is not elbow deep in sweet goodness (unless of course there’s only one mango left in the fruit bowl, in which case mama always calls dibs.) It must be a genetically inherited love affair as my 8-year-old, who was born and raised in the US, proved.

“We should move back to America,” he said between slurp-bites of Alphonso. “After the mango season is over.”

Mangoes, it seems, are summer’s apology to those of us living close to the equator. When the monsoons begin, mangoes bid us adieu, as if to say, “You don’t need our help anymore.”

That made me think of different seasons in our lives – especially the not-so-pleasant ones. The Indian summers of our lives where the blistering heat may wear us down. Seasons when the hours are sluggishly unproductive, but we’re still depleted at the end of the day. Seasons when life is frantic and we’re working up a sweat just trying to keep pace with it all.

This may not be the world’s most conventional piece of wisdom, but here goes: in those seasons, are we enjoying the mangoes?

The Bible tells us in 1 Thessalonians to “give thanks in all circumstances.”

If we’re being honest, though,  we often respond with a, “Really God?! Give thanks? For this?”

But God reminds us that while we don’t have to be thankful for the situation, we do have to give thanks in all circumstances.

We don’t have to pretend we’re thankful for the job loss or the broken arm or the bed bugs. But we can give thanks in all circumstances because God is still on the throne – and He sprinkles our lives with “you-can-get-through-this” moments.

We get to thank Him for the little things that get us through the sticky, wet-mop-hair days. We get to thank Him for coffee and conversations that follow seasons of loneliness. We get to thank Him for Saturday morning snuggles and chocolate chip pancakes after a will-this-week-ever-end? We get to thank Him for a sense of humour that transforms the bothersome into the bearable.

Every bona fide desi knows that to enjoy your mango, you really need to get down and dirty. It means ditching the spoons and knives. It means getting elbow deep in your blessings. We’ve somehow assumed that we need to be timid about life’s sweet surprises, acting like we should be all ascetic and not allow chocolate to mend a broken heart, or a good cry over a book to get us through a funk. But the little things add up. Don’t take my word for it. I have it on good authority from none other than Winnie-the-Pooh who says, “Sometimes, the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”

Let’s open our hearts to notice the little blessings. Let’s look for the mangoes and enjoy them in spite of what else is happening this season.

 

Photo Credit : Flickr 

Passing Clouds 

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The acapella team I was part of in college decided to do a song called “I Can See Clearly Now,” which went:

“I can see clearly now the rain is gone
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s gonna be a bright
Bright sunshiny day”

When we sang the song, I didn’t quite understand what the singer meant.

I moved to Mumbai in July 2013, and July in Mumbai means one thing – the monsoon. Every year I have a fond memory of the monsoon showers.

Within a few weeks of moving to Mumbai, my husband (who I was courting then), took me to Kanheri Caves, which are these caves on a cliff, carved out of rocks that are situated within a National Park in Mumbai.

I remember we had to climb the slippery moss filled stones with passing streams to reach the top of the cliff. Finally, when we reached the top, we took a break and sat on top of the cliff on some steps carved out of the rocks, holding our umbrellas over us to shield ourselves from the rain. As we sat there, I saw clouds come towards us, and pass us by. When the clouds passed us it was grey and raining heavily. The moment the clouds passed us, the sun was out and shining brightly. That was the first time I understood the song “I can see clearly now.” Once the clouds passed us by we could see the city horizon in front of us covered by the forests of the Nation Park before us. It was a beautiful sight!

Each year, I look forward to the monsoons in Mumbai. Except for the clothes that take a little longer to dry, and the mustiness that follows, it is the best time to be in Mumbai.  The colourful umbrellas on the street, the cozy weather to sip Chai (tea), and for me, sharing an umbrella with my husband. But what I enjoy the most is how this city does not let passing clouds stop their routine.

Regardless of the rains, people carry on to work. Even when they do get stranded or asked to work from home, they’re back at work the first chance they get. My husband and I often go for a walk/run to Marine Drive, and the rains don’t stop the runners/joggers there! I love that this city won’t let even a flood stop it from functioning.

Earlier this year I had the chance to visit Nepal on work. We had decided to drive to a little place called Dhuli Hill, in the hopes of catching a glimpse of the Himalayan Mountain range. However, due to the bad weather, the clouds blocked our view, and we couldn’t see the mountains. Feeling a little dejected, we headed back. But later that day while on the flight back, we passed the Himalayan range, and I remember staring at the grandeur of the mountains standing majestically in a row, with their snow peaks shining bright.

It’s amazing how a cloud, which is essentially water vapour, can hide the grandeur of the mountains, hide the horizon beyond and basically block one’s vision.

Clouds reminds me of seasons of uncertainty where you can’t see the future, and the grandeur of what’s ahead is hidden by what looks like fluffy puffs of cotton. But when these clouds pass, “I can see clearly now the rain has gone.”

I often get caught up in the frustration of not being able to look ahead, instead of enjoying the weather! I then remember the people of this beautiful city I live in, who keep moving regardless of the weather. Whether it’s flooding, or it’s the sunniest day in May, they keep working and moving forward.

I have to tell myself that even when I am waiting for the clouds to pass me by in life, keep walking. Troop ahead, because after the clouds pass, “it’s going to be a bright sunshiny day.”

 

Photo Credit : Flickr 

 

On Pruning the Shrubbery and a Fresh Look

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You will instantly notice, if you’ve been around here at all, the new look and feel of the blog. One of our regular contributors, Christy, redesigned the logo to give this space a distinctly Indian feel. We are all swooning over what she’s created and love the new colors and the incorporation of paisley into the graphics. It feels like a fresh start.

Small changes, at times, make us feel as if something “new” is before us. Even if it really is the same space, only redone, in this case. What was once needed and useful and good, is put aside to make space for something fresh, exciting, and perhaps inspiring. At least that is the hope.

And while we are only talking about graphics on a blog in this instance, I find that often-times good things have to fall away in our lives to make space for better things to emerge. To give us space to say “yes” to something else God is leading us towards, a “no” must come before– even if we feel the pangs of loss deeply.

Pruning my rose bushes tonight, I thought about this as I cut off some flowers that were still in bloom because the branches had become unwieldy. The entire front area of shrubbery at our home was in sore need of reshaping and trimming. Left unmanaged for a while, sparse growth was happening, but my plants had lost their beauty and were not producing as many roses because I had not trimmed the dead areas away. So tonight, I snipped and snipped until order had been restored, to some degree (the drought here is not helping either!). Trimming away at both good and unhealthy branches to make way for even fuller blooms in a later season.

Our lives are much like this. As women, we often have plenty of opportunities to be a part of good things, and often stretch ourselves too thin and as a result we begin to feel rundown, less vibrant, and unhealthy.

I have had to pause lately and admit my own limitations, though my pride often makes this quite difficult to do. I like to believe that I have endless energy and resources and that I can accomplish everything that I need to whilst also having time for a book and cup of tea at the end of the day. But for quite some time now, it has been painfully obvious that between parenting, marriage, work, writing (not much of that lately!), and settling into a new home and new city, I have stretched myself beyond capacity. And no matter how I slice it, if I want the rose bushes of my life to bear full, beautiful blooms, some pruning has needed to happen.

But pruning is painful as we watch pieces of ourselves fall away, but we are not without hope that there is a plan and a reason. When God wants to move us into deeper waters with Him, to show us more of His glory, and create a greater hunger in us for Him, we often find ourselves in a time of pruning. This could look like enduring a tremendous loss, facing an unexpected change, feeling a deep rejection, sensing a burden is lessening in one area, but increasing in another. Or it could be something entirely different as God uses the circumstances of our lives and the Holy Spirit to speak to us. Whether we pause to listen is entirely another story.

I haven’t been so good at pausing lately. Maybe you can relate?

 

Sometimes I get to be a part of the pruning process and sometimes pruning happens whether I like it or not. I’ve had a bit of both in my life. I imagine you have as well.

I am sad to admit that I have had to have things ripped right out of my tight grasp because that was the only way I would let go of them. I’m stubborn that way. And other times, I have begun to sense God is leading me slowly in a new direction, but not exactly sure what direction I needed to go in, so I step forward slowly, cautiously. I’m always terrified of making a mistake or traveling down the wrong path.

Letting go of something good feels risky and wrong. Walking into the unknown is frightening and I worry I will miss out on something great by walking in a new direction.

I have felt that way with this blog. I love IndiAanya. I love the ladies who write here, even the ones I’ve never met in person. I love the journey and how it was born with fear and trepidation in my bones, but I walked forward anyway and have been blessed by the relationships and women who share their hearts here. I have been afraid to let go even though I’ve known that it was inevitable and necessary.

And now, with this new beginning, I sense that it’s time to step back and let the wonderful team we have assembled run ahead and for me to get out of the way. We have amazingly strong women who are bold and wise and godly and passionate about their place and their people. It’s a pleasure to watch. But cutting back this branch is hard, even if it is the right thing to do this season.

Pruning is certainly bittersweet.

But there is much to be excited about the months ahead. About the audience that’s building and about what God can do through women who are yielded– women who are willing to be pruned so they can bloom fuller, brighter, and healthier. I’m excited about the willingness of women to share bits of their lives and where they are right now to connect with other women facing the same things.

He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. – John 15:2

Are there things you sense God is leading you to cut away to make space in your life for something else? How do you respond to pruning in your life?

 

Photo Credit: Unsplash

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