Kristin Schmucker » Equipping Women in the Word

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Weathering Seasons

I can’t be the only one who has an existential struggle with winter year after year. It’s nice for the month of December, when there’s reminders of the joy of Christ’s birth at every turn, but when the tree comes down, and the Christmas lights turn off, suddenly everything seems bleak. The days are short, the cold is inescapable, and all the songbirds that cheer us on from spring through fall have wisely chosen to go somewhere tropical. For me, winter is the hardest season.

But there’s always something isn’t there? We hate the Spring in the moment because our allergies ail us. The Summer time is hot, too hot. And Fall is when all of the lush greenery comes to screeching halt. When the days are lengthy, we yearn for dark, cool evenings. When the days are short, we crave more sunshine. We always look forward to the next season, thinking that perhaps this time around it could fulfill our aching hearts. But nothing will pacify our insatiable displeasure like the Gospel and the Truth of Scripture.

We’re finite creatures sustained by the infinite God. When the miracle of salvation takes place in an individual, there’s suddenly a shift in how we view time. Death is no longer the end. This life is penultimate. However, during this soul-shift of perspective, we are still creatures of habit; we still long for the next thing—the best thing.

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The Grace in Muddled Days

God’s sufficiency is the constant rhythm beating in our lives as believers, yet for some reason we get so stuck in the muddled days that we can’t lift our gaze out of the mire to see the glory we were made for. We can’t fathom being in a better place than the stressed work environment stealing our joy, or the relationship devoid of reciprocated love, or life marred by our own sin. We all have the days where such circumstances leave us unable to walk to higher ground, stiff-legged by what’s surrounding us.

Why the Mire?

The quintessential question mankind has poked against God since the fall — why God? Why have you let this happen to me? Why the bad? Yet we can rest in the Seed of Jesse, long-awaited Messiah that was given to us — the God-Man Jesus Christ that has reconciled us to the Father for the praise of his glorious grace (Ephesians 1:6).

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Committing to Act and Uphold

Exodus 17 tells a story of Israel defeating Amalek against all odds. Thus far in the book of Exodus, God has a history of asking strange gestures of Moses, and then working miracles through it. A staff turns into a serpent. Water spills out from a rock. Manna falls from heaven. But in verses 8-14, things get a little more dire:

“Then Amalek came and fought with Israel at Rephidim. So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose for us men, and go out and fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword.”

There’s so much to be seen in these few verses, so much to grow our understanding of who God is and so much instruction to glean. But I want to revel in three distinct precepts we can garner from this passage of Scripture. Precepts that will instruct us in the sanctification of our souls.

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Learning to be Deeply Rooted

A few weeks ago my 4-year-old daughter came home from school and asked if we could plant a flower. She had learned that day about how plants grow and was beyond excited to watch one grow herself. We went to the store, and I found an extra small pot with a couple of sunflower seeds included. So we brought it home, planted the seed, and began to wait. My daughter became frustrated when the seeds we had planted did not immediately grow before her eyes and became disinterested – until several days later when we could see a tiny sprout start to emerge from the dirt. After growing a few inches, it was time to transplant into a bigger pot. The roots had run out of room, and it needed space to grow.

What I didn’t expect through this ordinary process is that God met me while watching this tiny plant. He used a tiny sunflower sprout to show me areas where I needed to change and grow.

Something God showed me about myself is that I am scared of being deeply rooted. I’ve made friends, I’ve invested time and energy, but it’s always been easy for me to pick up and leave. It’s almost comforting to me to think of moving away and starting over. Staying still means someone might know me too well. Someone might see the ugly parts of my soul. Someone might notice my shortcomings and failures. They might see who I really am. I romanticize the idea of moving far away and meeting new people and reinventing myself. I want these perfect relationships and communities, and when it doesn’t look exactly the way I want, I tend to run and get disinterested. Just like my daughter did when she saw no growth in her sunflower.

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Fruitless yet Faithful Labor

A verse found me yesterday. God, in His loving kindness and steadfast faithfulness, sought me out on my twitter feed. I know that sounds silly and unpoetic, but I had already decided that day that I didn’t want to be joyful. I had already decided that my weakness couldn’t be perfected by His strength. I had given-up before I had even gotten out of bed.

Thankfully, in my ever-growing walk with the Lord, seasons of doubt have generally gotten weaker and shorter, and seasons of confidence in God have grown longer and more robust. Unfortunately, doubt and sorrow have gotten sneakier and stealthier to accommodate such fluctuations, or so it seems.

But in my mindless scrolling-through-social-media (aka my ineffective and unnecessary attempt to not look to God), Desiring God’s account had tweeted-out a verse. It stuck out like the sorest thumb. I started my day not wanting to think about God’s Word. Nevertheless, it found me.

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