Necessary Seasons: Winter

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Winter is not my favorite:).

Sure, I love the blanket of glistening white snow on the ground, but I do not like to be cold. The environment comes to a standstill, hibernation takes place, the leafless trees look like dry sticks, and there seems to be nothing but barren land as far as the eye can see.

But…

Underneath all the icy flakes of snow, and below the hard, cold surface of the ground, that same barrenness is making room for new life. The earth gets replenished and the soil is restored in its rest. Fruit will one day reappear in mass volume because the vines and trees endured the time of cold stillness.

Friend, have you ever experienced a time when everything around you felt cold and lifeless? Have you discovered places in your heart that seem like they’ll never be revived? That your hopes and dreams will never really become reality? Me too.

So did Sarah.

Sarah was the wife of Abraham, and she had never been able to have a child. God promised Abraham and Sarah that Sarah would give birth to a son. Sarah…yes, ninety-year-old Sarah (who are we kidding- Abraham was very old too). It was almost laughable to Abraham. How can a woman of her age, who is barren, suddenly become pregnant? It was literally laughable to Sarah,

“She laughed to herself: “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I have delight?” (Genesis 18:12 CSB)

God’s reply: ” But The Lord asked Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying” Can I really have a baby when I’m old?’ Is anything impossible for The Lord? At the appointed time I will come back to you, and in about a year, she will have a son.” (Genesis 18:13-14 CSB)

Nope, there is nothing impossible for our God. A year went by, and barren Sarah became blessed Sarah with new life inside of her ready to be born.

“The Lord came to Sarah as He had said, and The Lord did for Sarah what he had promised . Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the appointed time God had told him. ” (Genesis 21:1-2 CSB)

Appointed time. Necessary time.

Friend, the warmth of Spring may feel far off, but the very real presence of God is close at hand. How kind that Our God lovingly brings lifeless things back to life. He does. At the appointed time, He allows that which felt lost to be found, in the right moment He gives us the patience to endure our season with hope for that which He has promised. Underneath all barrenness we may see around us, the lifelessness of relationships and friendships we wish could be brought back to life, and beneath the cold hardened areas of our own human hearts, Our God is at work:

Restoring.

Replenishing.

Reviving.

Rebuilding.

That’s where we will find the warmth of life-eternal that we are longing for in a cold harsh season…in His presence.

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Let’s Pray: Dear Heavenly Father, we will remember today that You have a time and season and purpose for everything in this life. Every season we walk through with You brings us closer to the promises You’ve given us. Even when it looks like hope is lost, even when our hearts feel too hardened, even when our thoughts wage war- You are able to meet us in that very moment. Lord, we want to draw close to You. So with hands lifted in surrender, we choose today to praise You because You are faithful – no matter  what we find ourselves walking through. Lord, help us to make time to draw close to the warmth of Your presence when our hearts feel cold. Help us to have eyes to see that you are working through the experiences we are facing. Lord we declare life where there seems to be no life, hope where hope seems lost, and peace where peace is needed. Lord we place our trust in the truth of Your Word and in the joy we find only in Your presence. Thank You for the faithful love You give us, thank you for helping us wait while You are working beneath the surface of our lives. We love You Lord, Amen.

peace-liz:)

Go The Extra Mile: Check out the new song “Isaac” from Hollyn! Very fitting since we talked about Abraham & Sarah! This song has been an encouragement to me on more than one occasion and I pray it encourages you as well:).

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy thanksgiving to you dear readers! Thank you so much for being part of my own story this past year, and for your continued support! I’m so thankful for your encouraging words, your comments and ideas for the blog and for each time you join me on a new series!

From my family to yours, we pray you have a blessed day with loved ones. Whether you are reading this from the USA, India, UK, Ireland, Indonesia, Trinidad & Tobago, Croatia, Romania, Or from any other amazing country …we see you, we acknowledge you, and we are so thankful for you!!!

Have a blessed holiday!

Peace-liz & family

Necessary Seasons: Fall

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Fall is my absolute favorite:). Crisp Autumn air, crunchy colorful leaves…all of Fall is my favorite. While some lament the end of Summer fun, I embrace Fall with all of its bright colors and bountiful harvest. Insert virtual cornucopia here! Horns of plenty, tables filled with place settings and pumpkins, and spices filling the air with intoxicating nostalgic aromas.  For instance, when I smell cinnamon, I instantly think of my mom’s pumpkin pie. If you have ever met my mom, you know she is famous for her pies and a bunch of other yummy treats too:). The tiniest waft of cinnamon in the air takes me back to a small apartment in my hometown where my mom would make pies for Thanksgiving. I remember waking up early on Thanksgiving Day to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and my mom would let me have a slice to eat for breakfast- completely covered in whipped cream. Because that my friends, is how you properly enjoy a slice of pumpkin pie:).

Fall comes with an almost immediate gravitation to change. Warm days turn into cold days. Green leaves change into shades of gold and red. Wardrobes switch out from tank tops and flip-flops to sweaters and boots. Change that happens in stages throughout the inside of our homes as well as the outside environment and we are reminded, that change is taking place and Fall is taking over.

design (7) Maybe your current season feels a lot like Fall: Ever-changing with the anticipation that something more is up ahead. I think of Fall as Earth’s holding pattern; a time when the world around us quiets and makes way for stillness.

Now, I am not one who is good at being still. But with a personal season like Fall, I think we can take note of creation’s response to change and take time to be still, and wait for guidance from Our God. During Fall, things around us are slowing down; trees embrace frost and release their colorful leaves, and the grass withers and flower petals fade. Because that is what they do. They give way to change, which eventually gives way to life again.

We can be still before Our God in the midst of an ever changing season. It will take much effort on our part, especially when we live in a world that is marketing faster, immediate, and in-a-hurry. Could this season in our lives be a time when God is asking us to draw near to Him? The changing season might be a reminder that Our God remains the same and continues to be faithful, even when everything else around us is falling and changing or maybe even fading away. We can find Him the the quiet places of our lives when we slow down and pause. We can navigate changes when we seek Him first and allow Him to guide us with His Holy Spirit. We can remain at peace when have to release dreams and deadlines to His trustworthy hands and timing. And we can praise Him in the midst of it all. We can friend.

img_3643You know, Thanksgiving comes at a beautiful time in our calendar year. Smack -dab in the Fall:). While we are preparing to gather around tables with friends and family, I challenge you to look around and notice the people in your gathering. Each one is experiencing a season all their own, or maybe even experiencing a season that you have walked through. Each member you gather with is a part of your story, and you are a part of theirs. As you notice them give thanks, I encourage you to link arms or hold hands, or even embrace them to remind them that you are near in friendship and solidarity- we do not have to walk through these seasons alone. Together, lifting up each other in prayer, encouraging each other with the truth of God’s Word, and at times shedding blood, sweat, and tears…let’s walk through these seasons to grow and mature together.

img_3639Let’s Pray:

Dear Heavenly Father, we choose to remember today that although our seasons may include lots of change, we can hold onto You because You are unchanging. You are faithful and merciful and promise to walk with us through it all. Thank You God, for holding us perfectly in Your hands. Thank You for offering us a place to come and be still in Your presence-no matter what our life looks like or what we’ve been through. No matter how fast-paced this world may be, help us to recognize when You are calling us to slow down and listen for You. You provide us the strength we need to release all that we are holding onto so that we can make room for all that You have for us up ahead. God, you desire to see us grow and develop and make way for new life. Lord, help us to choose to learn and grow through these seasons. Thank You Lord for remaining faithful in every one of our seasons. Amen.

Go The Extra Mile: Listen to the song “Times” below. This song has become a main staple in my playlist. So much so, that I even made my doctors play it while in surgery with my son:). Tenth Avenue North is one of my favorites!

Necessary Seasons: Summer

img_3571Summer is not my favorite season:). I’m not a fan of heat and I’m not too fond of being uncomfortable in the scorching sun, but I am a fan of the sweet things that Summer brings: Kids on Summer break, day trips to explore our new area, and sweet Palisade Peaches. This valley is known for its peaches; juicy and sweet, as big as softballs, and perfect for peach smoothies and cobblers…with ice cream of course:).

There is a sweet spot over the course of several weeks (near the end of Summer) when it is the best time to pick peaches. Their season takes time to develop their unique flavor and fragrance. Trust me, if you stand in the middle of a peach orchard, it is intoxicating, the likes of which no candle company can replicate. The Summer months full of scorching heat and sunny skies are needed to ensure a good harvest of choice fruit.

Necessary time. Necessary heat. Necessary light. All a part of Summer. If Summer only had 75 degree weather and a cool breeze everyday, I might be a bigger fan:).

You see, sometimes we find ourselves in a season that feels a lot like Summer without air-conditioning: hot and uncomfortable. These particular seasons can make us feel as if we could melt at any moment. Friend, have you encountered a season where there seemed to be no relief from the heat of life’s battles? Can you recall a time where you felt exposed to the elements, with no coverage or shade to run to?

Our seasons help to develop the uniqueness of our gifts and how we can use those aspects of our character to impact those around us. We usually don’t know how long these uncomfortable seasons or situations will last. But in the midst of them, there are lessons to be learned and, we can be sure that God is at work. He is not trying to melt us into a mess- He is trying to mold us and shape us into the image of Christ. He is actively working to develop our remembrance of His goodness and faithfulness in our lives, despite how we may feel. David speaks about this very feeling in the Psalms:

“God, you are my God; I eagerly seek you.

I thirst for you;

my body faints for you

in a land that is dry, desolate, and without water.

So I gaze on you in the sanctuary

to see your strength and your glory.

My lips will glorify you

because your faithful love is better than life.

So I will bless you as long as I live;

at your name, I will lift up my hands.” (Psalm 63:1-4 CSB)

This passage doesn’t scream “easy and comfortable season” to me. David shows us an example of deep resolve while walking through a difficult season- He states what he is experiencing and then declares what he will do.

“I eagerly seek You, I thirst for you…So I will bless You as long as I live;”

Friend, if your season feels as if no relief is in sight, let’s remember we get to choose our response. We get to determine how we will let our season affect us.

Will we choose to complain when our life feels dry? Will we melt with fear when the situations of life get uncomfortable? Will we choose to isolate ourselves from community when our season feels like it’s too much for others to handle?

Again, we get to choose. God help us to choose wisely; help me to choose wisely.

May we allow the light of Christ to shine on us (warts and all), to reveal the areas of our character that He want to refine, and may we let Him.

May we choose to eagerly seek God in the midst of our seasons and hold onto His promises while we learn the lessons that are being taught to us.

May we audibly glorify His Name for everyone to hear about of His faithful love because He is completely faithful.

May we lift up our hands in worship today, just as David did, and praise Him for sustaining us in the midst of these seasons of life.

May we choose to follow closely after God and hold onto Him through each season with our complete trust placed in Him, because Our God will use even these seasons to grow us and shape us into who we are meant to be.

He is developing us friend. You and me. We are in this together:)

Here is a truth to meditate on today:

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Let’s Pray:

Dear Heavenly Father, we take comfort today knowing that our seasons have a purpose. Just like the seasons throughout agricultural life- there is a time and place for each season. As Summer gives way to the season that follows, may our hearts give way to what you are trying to accomplish in us so that we can be prepared for the seasons ahead. We want to be molded and shaped by Your hands alone. We desire to take each season as it comes, and learn from it in order to walk steadily into the next, equipped with wisdom and joy. God, You are so kind to not just see us in the midst of our current struggles or battle, but You are also able to see the future victories won all at the same time. Help us to remember that the season we find ourselves in will not last forever- it will change. Lord help us to grow, change, and mature with it. Thank you for sustaining us and for loving us. We praise You today, Amen.

Go The Extra Mile: Check out this song today from one of my ultimate favorite voices, Audrey Assad ! This is a favorite on my worship & prayer playlist. Enjoy and be encouraged!

New Series: Necessary Seasons

img_3559Life has an interesting way of changing seasons before we feel ready for the change itself. We live in a really hot area (super warm in Summer), and the warmth of Summer had me yearning for the colors and crispness of Fall. I just wanted to wear a sweater and cozy up with a blanket on the couch. Ok, for real- I just wanted to take a nap.

However, when the first frosty morning arrived this Fall, I felt unprepared.
Much like most of my days.
Much like most of my life.

If you’ve been following my posts for any amount of time, you’ll know that I am not a big fan of being out of control or feeling unprepared. Sudden change doesn’t always bring a smile to my face. I like timelines and order; routine and schedules. I like knowing what’s ahead.

With all the leaves changing, and the chill of the wind whipping briskly, I’m reminded that some seasons in our lives change quickly, while some linger on. Our hearts may beg for our season to be over with, just like I was begging for Summer to end (cut me some slack- this was our first Summer here on the Western Slope and it was a hot one!). Our present circumstances or challenges ahead could even be the season we are fretting over. We may be begging God to just take it all away; to end the season of struggle or uncertainty so we can have our own personal “Spring”, of things starting brand new and fresh like, the vibrant and fragrant flowers we see beautifully burst open in Springtime.

Friend, I want to tell you that even in the middle of your season, God sees you and will use those times of struggle, strain, refining fiery times, even the joyous seasons, to prepare you for the next season, and the next season, and all the seasons there after.

In this new series, we are going to discuss the seasons we walk through and how we can draw truth from God’s Word, as we place our hope in Him and in His promises. So whether you are currently begging for the season you are in to end, feeling unprepared for the season at hand or up ahead, or maybe even celebrating all the goodness you are experiencing within your season, I hope you’ll join me in this series. My hope is that we will remember this truth throughout our time together:

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Let’s Pray as we begin this journey together:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for being a constant source of hope and love in our lives, even when our current season tries to hide Your goodness and faithfulness . Let us not forget the lessons we’ve learned or the strength we’ve gained while walking through the process of each seasons in this life. Lord, help us not to hold so tightly to the season we are in, that we lose the desire to grow through the other seasons up ahead of us. We choose to remember today that You are in control of our days, and our best efforts to try and control our own seasons will only leave us frustrated. You are God, and we know that You are good, and You have our best interest in mind as You shape and mold us through each experience that we encounter. Lord, help our attitudes to reflect the hope we have in You. Help our hearts to be drawn closer to You as we embrace the seasons we are in. You are doing a work behind the scenes and we trust You with every detail-because You were there before the beginning of time, You are here with us now, and You promise to never leave us or forsake us in the future. Thank You God for Your kindness towards us in every season of our lives. Amen.

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Go The Extra Mile: Check out this very real and encouraging song from Blanca! I hope it brighten’s up your day like it did mine!