By Carol Park
Here in the east coast the seasons are changing and in New Jersey that means lots of trees changing colors, people going apple picking, and pictures of bright orange pumpkins. School is somewhat in full swing and my family is settling into a new rhythm. This means a controlled chaos for my family, with many of my kids extra activities scheduled in our calendar. I know that during this particular change of seasons, there is something called Seasonal Affective Disorder. It is a type of depression that comes as the seasons change. My husband at times has been affected by this disorder on a very mild spectrum, and it is actually very well known in my Korean culture.
Having this understanding makes this change of summer to autumn particularly different as there has been a sense of renewed hope for me. With this hope comes a surge of strength and purpose that I have not felt in a long time. Where did this hope come from and what did I do to incur this energy that I feel? Honestly I have no idea and I actually feel like I did nothing to deserve this new surge in me. I did not spend hours of time in fasting and prayer throughout the year. Nor did I spend long hours of time in the Word.
My Husband and I were part of the pastoral staff who had said we were family and yet turned around and looked out for themselves, leaving us with feelings of deep betrayal from people we trusted the most. They being the top leadership of the church with the inability to reconcile, plunged me into deep despair. This was where I was. All I could muster was a short devotional here and a prayer under my breath there. I just did not have the strength to try to strengthen myself in the Lord. So this hope can only be attested to God and his grace. It truly is His mercy to me.
A WORD IN SEASON
A couple months back, I was watching a Facebook Live video of a well known woman preacher. She spoke of how God was moving in the “RE” words. And she began to list so many words that started with “RE”: Restore, Recompense, Resurrect, Redefine, Reconcile, Restart, Release, Realign, Remain, etc. She encouraged us to ask the Lord what “RE” words the Lord was moving on in our own lives. So I simply asked the Lord. In all honesty it had felt like a long time where I had not “heard” a fresh word from Him. It had been a season of trusting God for what I knew of Him and what I believed to be true of Him.
So when I heard His voice, I knew it was Him. He was speaking to me. It was in a very small whisper: “Remember”, He said. He wanted me to remember my calling. That was the core of my struggle at that time. So that is what I tried to do; simply remember that God had called me to ministry and that God wanted me to minister to people. As the lies of the enemy crept in to discourage me to give up on my call, I simply obeyed God and remembered as the Lord had asked me. This actually was a day to day, week by week effort disciplining myself to remember. In the beginning it was sometimes speaking to myself out loud, “you have a calling.”
RESILIENCY COMES FROM OBEDIENCE
As the days progressed, my remembering transformed into a looking back on my history with God. Even examining the markers God had set for me along the way. Like those pile of rocks and altars God wanted His people to set up for Him in the Old Testament. Those markers are a means of God’s grace, helping us remember those special times when the Lord is so very real to us! Whether it was a healing, a miraculous job offer, or even a marker for the darkest of times, they show the reality of His presence. All of these were the altars marking the work of God in my life. This remembering then progressed into somewhat of a resolve for me. As I remembered, it solidified again God’s heart for me: that He cares and provides and will provide. A resolve to fight and push through even though my calling, I was asked to remember, did not look like anything tangible at the moment.
And slowly as my resolve grew, it transformed into resilience. It grew resilient towards the nay saying thoughts, resilient to fight for my calling, resilient to hold on to the things and promises that God had spoken to me; despite what I see or don’t see in the natural. Now as I look, I realize why things take time and why small steps are often what take you to where you want to go. Our resilience is built. And it is built through one step of obedience at a time.
God is so good in knowing all that we can handle. I could only at that time handle “remember”. How about you? What one word is God speaking to you about? What one thing is God asking you to obey? Resiliency comes from obeying. Resiliency comes from the small victories. One piece of thread is not nearly as strong as many pieces together. So obey one step at a time and pile all your small victories together. Not one is insignificant. Gather them all, for what a Good Father we have. He knows how to build this in us, for He is resilient towards us.