Spring Cleaning and the Next Step

So I’ve landed. Now what?

The last year has felt like a crazy, floundering mess. I kind of picture my soul (mind, will, emotions) as three gears that fit together. My gears had gotten bent out of shape and needed some retooling. They had gotten coated in layer upon layer of gunk and were no longer turning smoothly. Allowing those parts to be pulled, examined, scraped, and hammered was definitely hard and messy work. But, in the grand scheme of things, not much harder than living stuck, and definitely worth the effort.

I’ve entered into spring with a renewed spring in my step. Excited to move forward into the next assignment. Which is…completely unknown. Ack!! I have found myself almost obsessively asking for a glimpse of the next step, just a tiny sliver of insight. I wanted to believe I was doing that out of diligence, until the Lord showed me otherwise in a sweet but very clear moment. I’ve been asking out of a desire to control my little world and, really, out of a lack of trust. He asked me to surrender the whole idea of “the next step”. It was like he had his arms wide open and said, “Step into THIS! Your next steps will be born here.” Gives a whole new meaning to baby steps!

See, I am doing something new!
    Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
Isaiah 43:19

I look outside at the trees and flowers budding into new life, and they are tangible expressions of this concept for me. It’s pretty simple – they need water, air, and sunshine. Not a step-by-step plan of their next season.

“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow.”
~Jesus, Matthew 6:30-34 (The Message version)

I love that he didn’t tell me to stop moving…but instead redirected my steps and my eyes back where they needed to be: into and onto him. Because we are going further. This is just the beginning of a new season, and it’s going to be a good one.

spring

Battlements of Rubies

Take away the dross from the silver, and the smith has material for a vessel.
Proverbs 25:4

This has been a year of refinement for me. Round after round of being melted down so that a few more impurities can be skimmed off. It’s been hard. It’s been humbling.

I have felt so small, so confused, so powerless, so out of control. Those are the scariest feelings in the world for me! But he is teaching me patience, and trust. He is showing me my courage.

It takes a lot of courage to walk willingly into the refiner’s fire.

Each one of those beautiful awful meltings has left me a little clearer, but it’s taken a good 15 rounds to breathe deeper (must be some kind of super-metal). In my last post, I mentioned feeling like I had jumped across a canyon and hadn’t landed yet. Today I am sitting here wide-eyed and smiling as I realize…I have landed…? Yes oh my gosh. I have landed!!

God-hugs are my favorite. This past week I have felt wrapped in an extra special one, with a heartbeat constant whisper of “You are mine. You are mine. You are mine.”

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name; you are Mine!
Isaiah 43:1

He isn’t just saying that I belong to him, that he is trustworthy, or that he is protecting me…although those are very comforting realities. He is simultaneously reading and declaring a truth about ME and MY heart that I needed to be reminded of. My heart has chosen him. I am his! I am his! I am his! And he is mine.

I am my beloved’s,
And my beloved is mine.
Song of Solomon 6:3

Throughout this journey, I’ve been encouraged with story after story of endurance, patience, protection, and victory. In Isaiah, the Lord promises a rare and magnificent new creation.

I will rebuild you with stones of turquoise,
    your foundations with lapis lazuli.
I will make your battlements of rubies,
    your gates of sparkling jewels,
    and all your walls of precious stones.
Isaiah 54:11-12

Even in this stunning new city, there are walls, gates, and battlements. We are not finished by any stretch of the imagination, but I am not afraid. Thanks to this year spent in the fire, I know who is with me and that he is good. That he does not leave, and (somehow even more encouraging to me) neither will I. That he really is stronger than everything. That he is infinitely patient and will let me learn at my own pace, but continues to invite me deeper.

I’m excited to see what this next level has in store. He makes me brave.

When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched,
Nor will the flame burn you.
Isaiah 43:2b