“Even in darkness light dawns for the upright.”
(Psalm 112:4a NIV).
“Fall is a time when old leaves are shed and trees are left bare for a while. In another season the trees will sprout new leaves again. In much the same way, we sometimes need to shed old ways in order to prepare us for new beginnings. These seasons leave us feeling bare and vulnerable, yet these times are necessary in order for the new ways to sprout.” These words come from our InScribe member, Melanie Fischer.
Melanie has touched on a topic we can all relate to: the unproductive times, the sometimes agonizing, soul-searching times in our lives.
Several years ago I faced a major winter season (both literally and symbolically). I was exhausted from an overly-busy summer, then my sister Karen passed away. We knew her time to meet the Lord was coming, but didn’t expect it so soon. I didn’t have time to grieve before going on a mission trip to Bolivia. It was a complex trip—a delayed flight which caused us to miss our connecting flight. Baggage left behind caused an extra delay. And so our time helping Quechua villagers high in the oxygen-depleted Andes Mountains was abbreviated. Shortly after returning home while driving at dusk, I hit a deer. Although I received no injuries, my car was a write-off—and the unfortunate deer lost its life.
All this left me physically and emotionally depleted.
For months writing was difficult and I couldn’t complete most of the items I had planned to submit. I faced the question: Did this mean THE END for my writing?
God brought across my path the exact meditation to answer that question. In her book, An Artist’s Book of Inspiration, author Astrid Fitzgerald said that these unproductive times are times to rest, reflect, and gather spiritual and emotional strength. “This withdrawl is no small thing and takes great courage and integrity,” she said. “The fear of ‘losing the edge,’ of never working again can be very frightening. There is a sense of doubt and loss…”
Looking back now, I see that God graciously gave me new treasures in the darkness of that winter: the gift of time to grieve, to rest and heal. To meditate on His Word. To trust Him for allI didn’t understand. To give me a deeper understanding of His sovereignty and care in all the events that happened. “(God) renews my strength” the Psalmist said (Psalm 23:3, NLT). He spoke encouragement, peace and promise.
God also infused me with confidence that He was renewing my writing and preparing me for something new. No, this time did not mean THE END. “I will show you the way,” the Holy Spirit softly whispered to me.
And God did show me the way. The next summer I felt as though my writing had taken a great leap as new ideas began to flow--words that brought a deeper message of peace and a more beautiful reflection of Christ’s work in our lives.
Now it’s your turn to answer Melanie Fischer’s question: “Have you had a time in your writing life when you felt that you were in a winter season, stripped bare? But in the end this time clearly led you into spring where you sprouted new leaves?”
We would love to hear your story.
(PS While reading through Grace Fox’ website in preparation for last month’s blog entry, I came across her “winter” experience. You can read it here. Anita Mathias also wrote encouraging words in her blog. Read it here.)