Friday, May 05, 2017

Guest Post - Why I Love Spring


From time to time I have asked other folks to share a guest post here on the blog and this week I've asked Jenni Baier to share an update on something that's going on in her life. 

Jenni has been part of the Christian Challenge staff since 2008 and has served in many capacities, including creative director, worship team member, VBS director, special events coordinator, technology specialist, mission trip leader, and the list goes on and on and on! She's been a great blessing to our ministry and it's with a mixed heart that we announce she is moving soon to Baton Rouge to be a part of Resurrection Life, an inner-city church we support there.I know she's going to be a tremendous blessing to them as well!

Jenni shared a guest post back in January on "Overcoming Insecurity" and it touched a lot of people, especially those who know her story of God making her whole in areas of insecurity, anxiety and panic attacks. It's truly a miracle that we rejoice over! The impetus for the healing came the same week that I wrote a blog post entitled "Why I Love Fall" so she's entitled this guest post "Why I Love Spring." I know you'll enjoy!

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OK, so I don’t really love spring. A more accurate description would be to say that I have a love-hate relationship with spring.

I love seeing the trees turn green and show signs of new growth.
But I’m not a fan of the tree pollen and the allergies that it brings!
I love seeing flowers bloom.
But I don’t like the wasps and other stinging insects that come out!
I love how a spring rain can make everything smell fresh and clean.
Not so much a fan of the severe weather that often comes this time of year.
I love it when the temperature is perfect to have the windows & doors open.
But I hate knowing that extreme summer heat and humidity are just around the corner!

Spring is a time of new beginnings. It’s a time of change… and sometimes, those changes can be very sudden and dramatic. One day, you can barely make out the green buds on the ends of the tree branches… and the next time you look, it’s almost in full leaf. The grass is neatly cut one minute… then it rains and suddenly seems to grow half a foot overnight!

Right now, I’m kinda in the middle of one of those times of rapid change. It certainly feels very sudden to me. But through this experience, I’ve been learning a couple of things.

Things often aren’t as sudden as they seem

That burst of new life that appears in the spring that seems to come out of nowhere… it doesn’t. It seems to come out of nowhere because I can’t see what was happening below the surface for months ahead of time. The buds open suddenly in the spring, but often, the buds themselves began to form the previous summer!

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.  This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” (Hebrews 11:1-3 NIV)

Things feel sudden to me. But the more I learn to trust what I can’t see, the more He shows me how He’s been working everything behind the scenes to lead to exactly this place and this time. He’s been at work, even in the seemingly dormant seasons of my life.

I’m grateful for this spring-like season in my life, even if that means dealing with allergies and mosquitoes and storms and heat! Each season brings its own mix of blessings and difficulties, and each one contributes its own part to God’s purpose and plan for us.

Nothing is sudden to God

Just because I wasn’t planning on things turning out this way, that doesn’t mean that God wasn’t orchestrating it all along. So even when something comes out of nowhere (or seems to from our perspective), God isn’t surprised.

“We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” (Proverbs 16:9, NLT)

“You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.” (Proverbs 19:21 NLT)

I’m learning that I’d rather have God’s purpose than my plans any day! I’ve always been a planner… I want clear goals and objectives, I like to know what I’m doing and when, and I like to have backup plans for when the originals don’t work out. Good planning can be a very good thing – but if I’m not willing to submit my plans to God, I’m not really a planner… I’m a control freak!

If nothing is sudden to God, then there’s absolutely no reason not to trust Him completely. And that’s been one of the biggest lessons I’m (still) learning in this season.

It’s so much better to surrender control to the only One Who has the master plan… for all seasons!

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I hope you've enjoyed this post. It's been an amazing journey to watch God work in Jenni's life over these past 9 years that she's been with us. Last Sunday our elders laid hands on her and commissioned her for the new calling and season of her life. A part of our heart goes with her and we wish her all God's best in this new chapter. God bless you, Jenni!
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