I’ve always been a wife and mama first, and writer second. The frequency and regularity of my blog postings have attested to this. But this year I have placed writing further down on my list than ever before. This year, my laundry takes priority over writing things that others may read, and when laundry takes priority in my house, you know that things are moving in a different direction. (Rest assured, however, our socks remain unmatched.)
2017 has been my year of “Rest, Quiet, Still”. Usually, I pray about and focus on one word for the year, but God knew I needed a whole vision of what this year needed and so it was a three-in-one kind of year. Fitting, I think.
Anyways, part of my rest-focused year has been to post less and to spend less time thinking about my words and more time resting in God’s provision, promises, and plans. That sentence makes this process sound much more peaceful and restful than it really has been. Just like in the year where “Trust” was my word, the focus isn’t necessarily that I’ve reached a place of mastery of this quality, more accurately it is a focus because God is bringing me through things that will require me to lean into Him in that way specifically. This rest year has been no different.
But here I am writing (and my laundry is still on the couch waiting to be folded) and it is because I am excited to share with you that I read an amazing book this past month that is due to be released in just a few days. Its message is beautiful and unexpected in today’s world of social media and insta-sharing.
I read Sara Hagerty’s book Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet a few years back and her message struck right into my heart. This is the book where I first learned about Adoration and I can’t believe that I never (never!) heard of this word (Adoration) and learned of this discipline before. I was incredibly excited when I heard that Sara would be releasing a new book this fall.
In her newest book Unseen, Sara continues sharing the passion she has for God’s Word and His work in the world and in our hearts. She shares her own heart and story and how God can use our unseen moments to not only grow us but show us that He sees us and that being seen and known by Him is what our hearts really crave.
Through story and Scripture, Sara shares how we can challenge the perspective that the unseen parts of our stories are wasted, and see them instead as an invitation to draw nearer to the One who “made us in secret” (Psalm 139:15).
I finished reading Unseen this past month, and I know that I will come back to it again and again. It was simple (in the best kind of way-like how Jesus simply met the woman at the well and yet changed her whole life trajectory) and complex (I loved how Sara didn’t shy away from the mysterious parts of God).
I am still processing much of what I read, but here are three things I am taking away from her book right now:
- We all have unseen parts of our lives and live out unseen stories. I can think of at least a handful of other women that I would love to share this message with in person and dig deeper into what God wants to do with this in our hearts. I also want to use this as a reminder when I am engaging with others; we all have parts of our stories that are only seen by Jesus. This can act as a reminder for me to choose compassion over judgment, to help others over helping myself, and to be content with only Him knowing the unseen parts of my story.
- I LOVE the passion that Sara has on every page of her book about God’s word. Seriously, she has given me words to a new prayer; that I would see His Word anew, to light up His Word in my heart so that it seems less ordinary, less familiar and more of the crazy-amazing Truth that it is.
- My year of “Rest, Quiet, Still” has also been a very difficult year in terms of connecting with God. While reading her book, and especially while opening His Word with new perspective, I realized that the deafening silence in response to so many of my prayers (most of which are seeking out specific answers to things that we have been battling for years) has very little to do with me having been in a time of “wilderness and wandering”, but because I have been approaching God all wrong. Not that there is a method or formula for approaching God-it was just that I was seeking answers and relief, not necessarily HIM. This method was wrong for my heart at this time in my life and God knew this (of course). This way of approach would not “dig roots deep” but would have been just a quick fix of a much deeper problem. God is not interested in quick fixes. He is interested in a relationship (!). He has been waiting for me to seek friendship, not “answers”.
My prayer is that the message of leaning into God through the unseen will continue to permeate my heart and life and that the Truth about what God says in His Word about the unseen places (of my days, my life and my heart) would become deeply rooted within.
I pray this for you, today, also.
Ephesians 3:14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.