Rewind > Reflect > Learn > Grow
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I jot down notes for these reflections as the thoughts come - a few thoughts one week, a few about something else another week - and it opens my eyes to see an overarching truth God is teaching me in this season. This Spring, for me, it was about the power of words.
It is my hope that upon reading my rewind, you'll be inspired to think back about your last three months, or maybe even your last week, and jot down a note or two. If you don't have a pen, do what I do: grab your phone and send an email to yourself. (I get emails from this girl named Candace ALL. THE. TIME.) Point is: reflect, write it down, and ask God to teach you something about the different circumstances you're walking through. It's been my experience, that's a prayer He always answers.
Without further ado, here are ten things (not all the things but ten things) I've learned this last season.
1. Words from above are the best kind.
So, I'm officially on "peony watch" these days and I couldn't be happier about it. The leaves with morning dew remind me of a conversation my sister and cousin shared the other day. They were talking about motherhood and how hard it can be some days. My cousin with a newborn asked my sister, who has three kids, "How do you do it?"
She said, "Sometimes you go to bed thinking, 'Lord, I can't do it. I'm tired.' And then, you wake up the next day and He says, 'Yes, you can!'"
Whatever it is for you, know God's mercy is like the dew: new every morning.
2. Words from a friend (which they received from above) are the next best kind.
As a friend reminded me, our days may be full but God also fills us so we can do what He has set before us.
With this Spring filled with wedding festivities and planning, returning to the office at work, a podcast that is growing (...praise the Lord!), and oh, add home selling and home shopping to the list... it's fair to say, this season has revealed a new spelling to the word, full: W-H-I-R-L-W-I-N-D. Whirlwind, but the best kind!
In the midst of one of our craziest 48 hours, Will jokingly texted, "Hey, how about we buy a dog tomorrow?" Needless to say, God has filled us with what we need - even humor and a good dose of perspective to see this whirlwind as a twirl in our dance together, and God's grace has held us steady as we take it one day at a time.
3. From God's perspective, words from us lifted above are like a precious perfume.
With room just for my bowl, I found a small spot at the corner of the kitchen table to eat dinner. Joining me was the littering of items which were waiting here while the butcher countertops were being sanded, re-stained and sealed. Within an arm's reach from my seat was my couch. Yep, my couch. The couch and my bedside table and lamp were temporarily in the kitchen since my carpets would be getting cleaned the next day. (You're getting more color into the "fullness" I spoke of before.)
Sitting here, I was taken back to when I first purchased this home six and a half years ago when we did all the renovations to make this little house a home. Memories flooded my mind like slides in a 90s View Master toy. Tears welled up inside and streamed down my face into my bowl of pasta. My tears said more than my words, but my words lifted up that evening were soaked in awe-inspired gratitude. I looked to the sign on the wall which says, "Grow," a gift from a class of kindergarteners I taught my first year in Oklahoma. This home is where I have grown - more into who God has made me to be and more in love with Him. My prayer six and a half years ago was for God to use this home in ways bigger than myself and He has been so faithful to do so.
4. ...Especially lifted on behalf of another.
Truth is, the carpets being cleaned was a sigh of relief. The whirlwind of the 48 hours of "to-do's" had passed. Things like power-wash the porches, clean the windows, rearrange furniture, take things to Goodwill, and lay fresh mulch in the flowerbeds. Yet, it was during that last one when I experienced a heart change.
Laying mulch, I saw the hydrangea, now enormous and standing taller than I, which my mom had given as a house-warming gift all those years ago. The magnolias I have adored. The peony I have waited for over three years to bloom. Having so much invested in this little peony, I had thought about taking it with me wherever Will and I would land, but laying mulch around it that night, something different came to mind. I wasn't preparing the flower beds for my enjoyment this time but for another's. On my knees spreading this mulch, it's as if my soul knew this position all too well. The position of prayer. I prayed for the new owners to feel God's love in this home and for God to lead them to grow more into who He has created them to be and more in love with Him. May He continue to use this home in ways bigger than themselves.
5. Words can be used to uplift and encourage.
One way I felt this was through a kind co-worker of mine. As I walked by to say hi, he was taken back and said, "Candace, you are SHINING!!!" Since English is not his native language, he said "shining" instead of "glowing." The word choice made this comment stand out and stay with me. I smiled and thanked him, knowing the joy God has placed in both mine and Will's hearts is shining through our faces. It's undeniable.
Though walking through the end of this engagement season with Will has been like skipping through a wonderland with the sweetest emotions upon every corner, I can't say every moment has tasted like gumdrops and lollipops. In these times, I've asked God to protect our joy and He has been so faithful. I think that's why my co-worker's words meant so much. It was an unexpected gift - proof of answered prayer.
The joy God has given us, God has protected. And it's not happiness, though there is that. It is joy because joy withstands the highs and lows of it all.
6. The words we choose to say matters.
My morning walks, as you know, are my intentional time with God. In prayer I shared how disheartened I was about a situation. The night before I had prayed for God to give me a higher perspective, asking, "What does this look like to You, God?" I fell asleep that night with no response but also a peaceful assurance it would come.
The next morning as I walked with Him, He reminded my heart of how He saw this situation and of a command I began to cling to: "Be still and watch what I will do."
Be still my heart.
Be still my emotions.
Be still, yes, especially, my tongue.
In the days to come, God led us to use our words to build a bridge in our relationships. In doing so, I learned my own words had caused others confusion and pain, of which I needed to apologize and seek forgiveness.
I'm keeping this question in my back pocket and I encourage you to do the same. Whatever difficult situation is in your path today, talk to God first. Ask Him, "What does this look like to You?" God wants to give us spiritual eyes to see so we can walk in His grace and truth with one another.
7. Words can be used to strengthen our faith.
I've sung these words from Cory Asbury's The Father's House" countless times, but this time, it stopped me in my tracks. I realized when we invite God into our difficult situations, we can cling to this promise:
Love - the most powerful force in the world - is on the move.
In the same way darkness cannot overcome light, hate cannot overcome love. Love always wins. When the space around us feels broken, we don't have to "fix" it. Instead, we invite God into these places in prayer and let His love heal the hurts and deep wounds and fears - those places we can't see which are the root of the emotional reactions we're feeling within and seeing around us.
8. Writing down words can help others.
When we invite God into the difficult situations we face, we're not just inviting God to work in the situation but to work in us. This Spring, I'm learning this Love that's on the move is also patient as it moves in us. God leads us to truth and holds us as we wrestle with it, as we wrestle with Him.
This time, truth was shared through the experiences of another. In Joanna Gaines' book, The Stories We Tell, she writes:
Letting go helps us see what our arms are meant to carry. - Joanna Gaines, The Stories We Tell
What I have had to work through and let go of may be very different than what is coming to mind for you right now, but I do believe we carry more than we're meant to bear and we all have some letting go we need to do.
Letting go is hard. Thankfully, God inspired someone else to write down some words in the form of a serenity prayer to help us along. And, it's important to note these words alone don't have the power to do anything. It's only when we pray these to God and ask for His power to be made known that we are changed.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
9. Simple words often hold profound truth.
As scripture tells us, flowers are here today and gone tomorrow. For this reason, my one date request from Will was for a tulip date. He was so kind to oblige. I packed our picnic blanket and a book. Will also brought a book ...and his crazy hat and new Pit Viper sunnies. Turns out, I missed the dress code memo but Will was on point! He blended in so well, you'd think it was a modern-day Where's Waldo? photo.
We recharged at our favorite spot, soaking in the sunshine alongside the tulips. And I soaked in time with my favorite person. How sweet it is to just be with him - no agenda, no plan, nothing pressing to chat about - just be with him.
I think that's what God longs for, too. For us to "just be with Him." May we carve out space, even in the whirlwindiest times, for this. As we do, I believe it will shift from a "should do" to a "want to."
10. Words in the form of puns are some of my favorite kind.
April showers bring May flowers and May flowers make for...
...A lovely June wedding!!! Ah, it's finally here! In our last season rewind, I shared how Will and I were referring to this Spring as our "our party season" and ohhhhhmyyyygoodnessss, what a party it has been!
We have been showered tsunami-style by family and friends and we are humbled and so grateful for every gift and every word of kindness and of growth. Whether it's a swimsuit for the honeymoon or a hammock for the back porch, one of the new dishes we'll use for dinner in our home together or even the bike rack or one of the other thoughtful gifts we've received, I know Will and I will think of the giver as we enjoy each and lift up a simple prayer on their behalf. How has God showered you with His loving kindness and undeserved grace this Spring? What words has He brought to you to help you along?
Looking back helps us gain perspective as we look forward. Now, shifting our gaze forward...
It's time! The big finale of this "party season" is here! Will and I will share the most important words we'll ever say to one another, our wedding vows. And goodness, we cannot wait!
Then, throughout this summer, I'm so excited to invite you to join me and some friends as we spend our second Summer in the Psalms together. In this, we'll talk about lots of different emotions we feel and where we can turn to in these moments.
I'm learning where we turn - more specifically, who we turn to, determines how we respond. May we practice turning to God now so we will choose to turn to God first when it's hard and our emotions are wanting to take over the driver's seat.
I'll be kicking it off with a personal reflection 15 years in the making. You won't want to miss it! Let's spend a summer together being refreshed by the living and active Word of God!
Now, it's your turn. What have you learned through this last season?
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Let's find strength knowing we do not endure these seasons alone. Let's find joy knowing there is purpose for each season we walk. Let's find peace in reflecting on the lessons learned and accepting these circumstances, much like seasons, as temporary. Let's find rest as we cling to the eternal.
The good life, well it starts with a good day. Then another. Then another. Let's choose to live #TheGoodDay one day at a time.
I love hearing from you, so go ahead. Leave a comment. Be brave. Maybe your comment will speak life into someone else!
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