There’s a lot of life out there.

ImageMy Ugandan Sunday morning started with this word from a friend. I wrote it down in my journal, not thinking much of it, but taking it as encouragement nonetheless. 

I met Joanna in the lobby an hour early and we headed out to Monica’s village. She wanted to come to church with us. We walked a lot of miles that day looking for her. After the first thirty minutes, I became more and more irritated with every step I took. Every winding dirt path that led to another grass roof hut that looked exactly like the last one we thought might have been hers … I felt like I was running up the down escalator, never quite reaching the place I actually needed to go.

And I thought it was peculiar how I kept seeing this strange pattern. A hen with baby chicks. A momma duck with ducklings. A dog with puppies. In retrospect I realized that all along that seemingly pointless wandering to find Monica, God was heralding the coming of new life. 

“Press on, child. What you see in these living parables along your path now, you’ll see in the Spirit next.”

But of course in the moment this isn’t what I’m hearing. Because I was hot and tired, and we were missing worship. I was ready to give up. We couldn’t get a hold of Monica on her phone, and we were lost in her village. 

Joanna, though, steadfast as she is — she wasn’t giving up.

“We have to get her to church. We’re not leaving without her.” She was preaching perseverance and my flesh was too thick between my ears and my heart to really receive it…

…but, well, I wasn’t going to cross her. So we waited some more. Minutes that felt like hours later, a phone call finally went through. Monica was on her way. She finally made it to where we were, and we walked about 20 minutes in the wrong direction plus 20 more minutes back before finally catching a bota to church. I was certain we’d missed it all by now. 

Wrong again. It was kind of starting to hurt.

Of course we made it just at the right time. We found Monica’s friend Doreen, who we’d also met in the market that week. Somehow (or not-so-somehow but by the grace of God) she made it, too. Despite us not being able to reach her all week.

And these two women, whom Joanna had led to Jesus earlier that week, both raised their hands to be baptized the following week. 

The chicks, ducklings and puppies suddenly fled back into my mind. Newness of life. Of course God knew.

Later that afternoon, as I sat down to write all this down, the clouds were rolling in. And I thought, “How timely. Of course the rain is coming.”

Because God always brings the rain to the sun-scorched land when we ask, and when it rains, it pours. Grace, grace, grace … and I was reminded of a word from a friend earlier that week: this trip will be marked by an ocean of grace. And let’s be honest, my heart needed cleansing that day.

So I stopped, and I looked out over the plains and watched the clouds, awaiting the rain. 

And I take a deep breath. There really is a lot of life out there today.

The season of singing has come!

Today is the first day of spring. A signaling of one of my favorite times of the year — the Spring Equinox. Today there are an equal amount of daylight hours as there will be night. And after today, the days start getting longer. After today light starts winning over dark.

Certainly there is a purpose for every season. A time for life and a time for death. (Ecclesiastes 3) And as one of my favorite worship songs says, “all of my life, in every season, you are still God, I have a reason to sing.” (Desert Song) But there is something so sweet about the spring time. Something happens in my spirit when creation comes back to life. Something in me begins to come back to life when the weather warms and the trees turn green and the flowers bloom.

Our souls experience winter just like the earth does. God leaves parallels all around us all the time for us to look and see that everything He created — everything that has life — goes through this same cycle. We go through seasons of stripping and barrenness and then we grow back more full of life and more beautiful than we were before. (You may remember my post about these stripping seasons from November)

One of my favorite scriptures that brings to life the process of spring time is Song of Songs 2:10-13:

“Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me. See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me.”

Oh, the fragrance of spring time! The sounds of birds singing. The vision of flowers appearing on the earth. The sweet invitation from God to come away and see what He is doing. 

It’s a new thing He’s doing. A new day.

Two years ago, I had a friend who needed to hear this message. She’d been struggling with depression and longing for God to pull her out of the darkness she was in. Longing for spring time in her soul. So Noland and I wrote this song, and God used it to bring her to deliverance. Two years later, it’s still one of my favorite things God has ever inspired me to write. 

Cheers to a new season. A season of life springing up again. May it be a reminder that He makes all things new, and whatever season your soul may be in right now, would the words of this song be an invitation from your Beloved to come away and see that He is doing a new thing. A promise from God that spring is coming for you. Because that’s what He does — He brings things to life.