Just Another Walk Around the Block

Have you ever just looked up one day and suddenly been awed by your surroundings?

This is something I’ve dealt with for years, and to be honest, the cycle itself can be very discouraging. Learning to find my joy in the consistent character of Jesus, when all I want to do is crawl in my bed and hibernate until spring, is no walk in the park. But thanks to the grace of Christ, a lot of lessons in truth, and some amazing God-given relationships, I have seen a great deal of victory in this area over time.

That’s me.  A girl in process.  Aren’t we all?

I take a lot of walks now.  Not only to help with my mood, but also because it clears my head and helps me connect with God.  At least a few times a week I walk around our neighborhood, getting acquainted with the sights and sounds.  I do the same loop every time, passing by the same houses, the same trees, same sidewalk cracks.  The consistency of it all is refreshing to me.  We just moved to the Detroit area last fall from the other side of the state, and it’s just now starting to feel familiar.

One morning a couple of weeks ago, I decided to take a walk after church.  I put on my tennis shoes, grabbed my sunglasses and headphones and headed out to do the same loop I always do. Something was different this time, though.  As I walked around the block I found myself staring at all the trees.  The branches that had once been bare, now had new buds blooming on them.  I stopped, looked up, and realized just how green everything was all of a sudden!  I mean everything!  It seemed like this all just happened overnight!  Just a few days ago it was cold and windy and I hadn’t even noticed the trees.  But today, I couldn’t help but see them.

For me, winter always feels way too long.  And this year winter was particularly challenging.  Newly married, my husband and I found ourselves living far away from family and friends, starting new jobs, trying to find community in a place we never saw ourselves living, and figuring out what it married life looks like.  Not to mention, I had spent the last 3 months battling a nasty intestinal infection that left me laying on the couch most days feeling nauseous and very alone.  Not gonna lie, winter just plain sucked for us.  My heart was tired and ready for a change.

That morning after church was like a breath of fresh air (literally!). As I stared at the beauty around me and thanked God for this gorgeous new life He had created, He showed me something.  He said to me, “I’ve been creating this life for a long time.  What once looked dead, I was using to cultivate, create, and build a place for newness to flourish.”  That’s it.  That’s when it hit me.Winter is not wasted time.God has been at work this whole time.  He’s been using this season to grow my faith, change my heart, and produce new life in me.  That’s the beauty of the Gospel, isn’t it?  That while we were dead, we were given a way to have new life in Christ? That when all things seemed hopeless, dead, without purpose, Christ was at work creating, growing, redeeming.  That this work he began in us is beautiful, and will be completed by him.

“This is what the LORD says – he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters….Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”  (Isaiah 43:18-19, NIV)

To perceive means, “to become conscious of something, to realize and understand it.”  Jesus encouraged us many times to have “eyes that see, and ears that hear”.  Sounds redundant right?  Of course that’s what eyes and ears are for…  Maybe Jesus wants more for us that just simply “seeing” and “hearing”.  Maybe He wants our eyes opened to become more conscious of what he’s doing, and our understanding of His character deepened.   For our hearts to be transformed and our relationship with Him to become more and more intimate as He reveals more of Himself to us.

Today I thought, “What if I would have missed this?”  “What if my eyes hadn’t been opened to ‘see’ what was going on around me?” It would have been just another walk around the block…

But God met me there on the sidewalk that day and reminded my weary heart of who He is. He is not wasteful.  He uses every season we’re in to accomplish His purposes, even though we may not be able to see it at the time.  If you feel far away, tired, purposeless… take courage my friend. God is at work, and His creating power is stronger than any circumstance you may be in.He is creating life in you.  He is making streams in the wasteland.

May the Lord continually open our eyes to really see the greater work He’s doing in, through, and around us.  And may He deepen our knowledge and understanding of His character everyday, so we can enjoy the sweet abundance of an intimate relationship with Him.

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