(This is an excerpt from the project I'm working on. In this project I'm examining the concept that so much of life is made up of different seasons. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the story. Enjoy!)
Because of all our ministry travels, we’ve stayed in some incredible accommodations. Always appreciated. Always interesting. Almost always clean. But one spot illustrated, for me, a vitally important life lesson........
Frank and I had finished a church service once years ago and were taken to a lovely condo overlooking a golf course. We had been traveling extensively for weeks and this was a perfect spot for us. Because we were there during the “off” season, the golf course was almost completely abandoned and quiet. We were able to sit in high backed rockers on the veranda and listen to all the sounds of nature; feel the breeze; smell the rain; experience the peace.
We just happened to be there over the weekend of our wedding anniversary. So the condo became, for us, a haven of rest. Our hosts had stocked the small kitchen with an assortment of snacks and breakfast items. We had our own transportation and were able to move at a luxuriously slow pace. It was nothing short of resplendent.
However, our scheduled time at the condo came to an end all too soon. When we were finally packed and set to leave, I asked Frank if I could sit on the porch for just a few minutes longer while he put our bags in the car. Sitting there all alone, looking out over the pristine greens, enjoying the different bird songs, I suddenly began to cry.
The wave of emotion caught me completely off-guard and it took me a couple of minutes to regain my composure. “I don’t want to go,” I whispered while brushing away tears. “This is such a perfect spot, Father. Can’t we stay?” I found myself asking God to let us stay in this peaceful place just a little longer.
The truth was, I was physically and emotionally exhausted by the schedule we’d been keeping and my heart was crying out for more than just a break. In the secret depths of my soul, I wanted to be finished with evangelistic travel. I wanted to find a little place with a porch and a view and a lot more serenity than my life was offering at that time. In essence, I was requesting a new assignment.
Our Heavenly Father is so tender when we are broken hearted. The response I sensed from Him was gentle and filled with compassion. “Sheri, you must move on. I have other places for you to experience. If you stop here, you’ll miss what I have in store.” In the same moment I was reminded of Psalm 23, “….he leads beside still waters. He restores my soul.”
I knew the Lord was urging me to walk on in confidence; to not give up before experiencing all He had planned. There would be other times of refreshing but for now, I needed to get up (emotionally) and find joy in this part of my journey.
I took a deep breath and marked that moment for myself. It’s important that we treat promises and personal moments with the Father as great treasure. Luke says Mary (the mother of Jesus) was our example. “…Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19 NIV)
My response to the Lord’s urging came from the deepest recesses of my heart. “Alright, Lord. If you’re saying this season isn’t over, I say, ‘Let’s Keep Going!’”
About that time, my dear husband stepped out onto the porch and sat down in the rocker beside me. He sensed I was having a conversation with the Father and simply took my hand in support. No words were needed. It was several days later before I shared with him my thoughts. He understood perfectly.
And I can tell you that after all these years, I’m still experiencing some amazing rest stops on this journey. I’m so glad I got up and kept moving even though it wasn’t what I wanted at the time. I’m especially glad when I think of all the adventures and beautiful people I would have missed.
In the Disney movie, Pocohantas the lovely young heroine asks multiple times, “What is it that’s waiting for me just around the river bend?” And I guess I understand her song of anticipation because that’s what my life has reflected. While there are lessons to be learned and clear purposes for this season, there’s always something to look forward to in the next.
Understanding this truth keeps us moving during the times we’d prefer to stay right where we are. Walk on, dear friend. Be encouraged in Christ. Look forward with eager anticipation. This is a journey and there is much yet for you to experience.
You are SUCH a gifted writer. You have the ability to use your words to invite your reader straight into your experiences and straight into the lessons you've learned. I never get to the end of one of your posts without feeling like I have learned something, or that my heart has been lifted or changed in some way.
I especially loved your words about marking those special moments for ourselves. Those are words I need to take to heart.
I'm so proud of you and excited to see how God is going to use your gift for words and your heart for people in greater and greater ways.
Thanks, Becky. Your encouragement is always so helpful! Love you, Friend!Delete
Thank you for sharing this post--it really resonated with me. We have been in a very difficult, stressful season and though it has gotten better is some ways, there are still parts of it that remain. I find myself feeling fearful of walking into a new season because I'm afraid of what it will bring. This last one hit us broadside--what other nasty surprises wait around the bend? I envy the trust you seem to have in God and your ability to find peace in that. Thank you for your words here--they give me much to think on.ReplyDelete
Oh Debbie, I have such compassion for you and this season. Thank you for sharing honestly. His grace is sufficient for us all!Delete
Thank you for this post. I stress fairly easily, and I do NOT like change. I wonder how many beautiful surprises God has had planned for me that I've missed because I wanted to stay where I was? I'm going to try to remember your lovely lesson!ReplyDelete
Angela, I'm so glad this post was encouraging for you. I'm sure there are countless surprises still ahead for us all. Blessings!Delete
Sheri As usual you have reached right into my heart and mind and planted new seed for thought. For that I thank you. I have been in "caregiver" for aging mother for the past 4 years along with still working full time and I needed to read this today. Blessings to you and those you love BeckyReplyDelete
What a GIFT you're giving to your mom. Praying God's strength and courage carry you on during this "season". Blessings!
This is just what I needed today. Thank you Sheri!ReplyDelete
Glad it was an encouragement, LeeAnne. Bless you!Delete