Let’s fear the Lord our God, who provides rain in autumn and spring and who assures us of a harvest in its season. – Jeremiah 5:24 (CEB)
2013 has been a really bad year.
No, I am not writing this so fifty people will come on here and try to bolster me up with an emotional cheerleading session. Don’t get me wrong, some great things have happened. Some incredible, glorious, only could be God things have happened. I rejoice in what God has done. I rejoice in what God is doing. I rejoice in what God will do.
Yeah, but…2013 has been a really hard year.
I’m not the only one who thinks so. It seems like everyone I talk to has a 2013 story. Whether illness, difficult people, broken relationships, constant obstacles, constant lack of funds, disappointment, frustration, depression, or other issues, it’s like 2013 has been a year we all will be glad to see depart, nor will we miss it in the least.
I don’t know that the good outweighs the bad, or that good is meant to outweigh bad, or vice versa. I think good and bad are two separate things and trying to find a silver lining all the time ignores the realities that are often right in front of us, demanding that we make change, shifting into change. When I got back from Europe in April, I realized I was beginning a new season. When I came to this realization, I had no idea how hard it was going to be. Sure, I’ve been in new seasons before, but somehow, this time seems different. It seems like the “new season” planting, sowing, watering, sprouting is arduous beyond belief. I run into the feeling that sometimes this new season field thing is just going to remain hard, cold ground that doesn’t want to cooperate.
This year (and mind you, as I write this, it is only September, which means we still have three months of it left to go) I have seen people I was once deeply connected to fade into the background, become elusive, or just disappear all together. I have dealt with intense witchcraft attacks, individuals who saw fit to damage my reputation (yes, I do know when you are talking about me behind my back, even if I never say anything), and attack and betrayal even from my own leader. My long-standing best friend and one of the most important people in my life became at odds with me as a result of her behavior, and the situation has yet to mend. After going on what seemed to be an arduous trip overseas, I started having migraine headaches again, which persisted for months. For the first time in my life, I had trouble writing. A long and stressful move surrounded by financial decisions, people running their mouths in gossip, and a general feeling at times like ministry just keeps veering off course in the wrong direction makes me wake up some days, shake my head, and wonder…where is all this going?
The good news: 2013 will come to an end, and we will have the option to, when the new year comes in, start again. Something about that passing from December 31 to January 1 helps us to reset our inward resolve and press again for the new year. I am aware, though, that right now, an awful lot of us need to reset our Holy Ghost buttons and start over, right now. What God is progressively showing me is the need for a new start. As I stand, looking out over the field that is this season, I am uniquely able to see the harvest, even if it is only by faith. The changes that are here are necessary, even though some of them have been hard and, at times, even painful. In the midst of the shifting, the change, the ends, there are also new beginnings. In this new season, God is giving me the opportunity to start over…and not just me, but many others in this shift, as well.
I think a lot of us in the church have been “going along” for some time now with a certain status quo. Some of us have taken opposition to it, but haven’t known how to turn the tide. Some of us were all right for awhile, but now suddenly are not all right, as if it snuck up on us all at once. Right now, at this time, God is giving us the opportunity to start over. We are being given the opportunity to change direction and go in the way in which He would have us go – a way that is right, and assured, and without spot or blemish. This year of opposition represents the changing paradigm, and the sad fact that not everyone is coming along with us for this shift. Those of us who have been pushed need to step back and look at why. We need to regroup and push in even harder as the attacks come when we know we are coming into a place of breakthrough and empowerment as we watch the progress form for this new time.
We often hear about starting over or starting again in an upbeat context. In truth, it is something we should be excited about. We hear about how we get to do a new thing and be at the beginning of something…but we don’t hear about the other side of starting again. Starting again means something else is over, and it may quickly mean those who have not seen fit to keep up or maintain aren’t coming with you. It means letting the chips fall where they may. Sometimes we have to accept the hard facts that some things will be left unresolved, some people will turn and betray, and others will simply distance themselves unto a permanent silence. In the struggle to move forward, we have to accept that starting over means things will never be the same again.
I wish I could tell you all where the new season will take us. I’m an apostle; I am not a prophet. I know that we all need to turn our attention to our re-start; to reset our buttons with our inward repentances and our focus to get back on track. Beyond that, I don’t know where all of us will wind up, how many will fall to the wayside, how long the season will last, or what the upshot of it is. I do know that I want to remain in God’s will, and this new start is in His perfect timing. I don’t have to wait until January 1 to reset; I can do it right now.
In the meantime, I start over…I watch…I wait…I pray…I rejoice in what is good…and I trust God for whatever resolution is to come out of the difficult time others and I have all had thus far in 2013.
I will give them and those around my hill a blessing by sending the rain in its season. They will be rains of blessing. – Ezekiel 34:26 (CEB)
(c) 2013 Lee Ann B. Marino. All rights reserved.