winter

Today is October 23rd, the heart of autumn. Nearly harvest time. Typically my favorite part of the year. I love this season. Lately, God’s been showing me, however, the significance of spiritual seasons as well as the physical, revealing to me that the two aren’t always the same. My body is in the midst of autumn—but every other part of me is in the middle of a winter.

In winter, everything is quiet. Still. There is a sacred silence, a holy tranquility. On the surface, nothing seems alive. The trees are bare. All the flowers have wilted. The ground is buried beneath heavy blankets of ice and snow. Everything appears barren. Desolate. Unfruitful. 

But what we don’t see is that there are stirrings underground, even in the dead of winter. As the artist Andrew Wyeth so beautifully phrases it: “something waits beneath it. The whole story doesn’t show.” What seems to be dead is not really dead at all. When the time is right and the soil is ready, life will shoot up again. But until then—winter.

Winter typically isn’t a time of much activity. As I reflect on my life as of late, I see that this is absolutely true for me in this season. Like a bear, I’ve gone into deep hibernation. I’ve heard the Spirit whisper that this is my time to settle down in Him, to curl up and hide myself away in His warmth and intimacy. To rest. To reflect. To remain. To reform. Regenerate. To prepare.

My inclination has always been to resist a spiritual winter. It’s cold. Often dark. Uncomfortable. Sometimes hopeless. It’s a long, long night, and I ache for the morning. I want the warmth and the light. I want to see and bear fruit. I want to do and not be, to be active in ministry and not just…existing. Everything within me typically struggles against the winter. But not this time.

Something is different about this winter. He has helped me understand its necessity, how essential this season is for my spirit and my heart. As I stop fighting against it, I find that I actually begin to welcome it, start allowing myself to melt into this season of motionlessness. This winter is bringing out a reverence in me, a deep and rich adoration for the One who makes all things new…in due season.

spent the last week traveling around Washington state with my Orphan Relief and Rescue family. 

highlights:
breathtaking beauty at Hurricane Ridge, laughing at the trek through the rainforest, hearing God speak, catching up with old friends, purple starfish at the pier, the vivid teal of Crescent Lake, ice cream at night, coffee galore, praying for each other, authentic worship, sunlight on my face, communion and community.

the list could go on forever. life is sweet. and i am so humbled and thankful. 

a turn of events

In my last post, just a few short weeks ago, I filled you all in on the latest news from my crazy-busy life. In it, I mentioned that I was working two jobs and thinking about a possible move to Virginia.

Three weeks from now, I will be working one job and living in Seattle.

Crazy, right? But that’s just how God works sometimes. Not long after I last blogged, I received a phone call, giving me the opportunity to move out to Washington and work in the Orphan Relief and Rescue stateside office before my return to Liberia (which will likely be next year). Honestly, at first, I had no idea what to say. I was shocked and completely caught off-guard. But the more I mulled it over, the more peace I felt. And I started thinking that this actually could be a really great thing. It may not have been what I thought I wanted at the time, but I’m okay with that.

The prophet Jeremiah once prayed, “I know, O Lord, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his [own] steps” (10:23). As I ready for this next chapter, next phase, next adventure and next season, I can only hope to honestly echo his words with acceptance and trust.

a few weeks ago A.B., my Liberian best friend, called me “to say ‘ello”. our two-minute conversation went something like this:

A.B.: “i really missing you!”
me: “myself, i’m missing you too!”
A.B.: “ehh, Elena. i can miss you plenty! every day, i pray for you small-small.”
(cue lots of laughing—from both of us)
A.B.: “okay, Elena. bye bye.”

then, just a few days ago, the infamous Momo decided he wanted to say ‘ello too!

Momo: “Leena! how everything?”
me: “everything all right, Momo.”
Momo: “how your family, your ma?
me: “everyone’s doing well. what about you? how the Passawe family? how’s Liberia?”
(short pause)
Momo: “ehh, man. we still here. Liberia still here. it not easy but tank God.”
me: “sorry, yeah? i’m missing you all, and i’m praying for you, all right?”
Momo: “yeah, man. alright-o. tell America ‘ello! later on.”

is it any wonder i miss the crazy ridiculousness of Liberian life?!