I heard it first in the playlist I randomly chose as background music called “Awake, My Soul.” And there it was again in the worship lyrics of the very first song sung at the Velvet Ashes retreat.
Hm, that’s interesting, Lord, I thought. Are you highlighting that phrase specifically for me?
I jotted it in my journal, opened my Bible to find a scripture that came to mind from the Autumn video, and found my eyes caught instead on Isaiah 51. “Awake, awake!” jumped off the page in two different places, one a cry out to the Lord, the other a beckoning to God’s people.
Jesus had my attention now.
You see, six months ago I walked with Him into the Winter. This was a new experience, entering a quiet season of waiting and release intentionally. The Autumn that preceded it included some serious letting go of responsibilities, dreams, and plans. Some of this I chose, but much was simply plucked away, leaving me feeling barren.
But in this distinct season of death, I heard His invitation to rest. Trust the work He was doing in the quiet. And simply wait.
Not so easy for this eager, production-oriented girl.
Winter was coming, a needed reprieve after a flourishing Spring and Summer. I could enter it with frustration or joy, but I couldn’t avoid it. This much my tired soul knew. So, for the first time in my life, I took His hand and willingly stepped into a season of dormancy.
Only it hasn’t been dormant at all in the sense of being frozen. Much has been growing, unseen, beneath the surface.
During the Velvet Ashes “Here I Am” Unplugged Retreat last October, I took a walk around the beautiful hotel property where I stayed in Northern Thailand. As I paused to admire a massive tree with an umbrella-like canopy, the Lord gave me a mental picture of its equally spreading root system. There was no way that tree could withstand the gusty tropical storms of this area without toppling unless its roots ran deep and strong.
I long to be a tree like that, providing shade for the weary and pointing to the glory of its Maker, but I sensed the Lord reminding me how I needed to be rooted and established in His love first. Foremost. Always.
God continued the analogy of nature with spiritual life when I planted several new rose bushes in front of our house. These bushes need both water and pruning. In time, they will bear beautiful flowers if I cut them back so their energy can go into establishing strong roots.
Again, I saw myself. Pruned back from outward fruitfulness so that I might bear even more when the time comes.
But when will that time be, Lord? How will I know when it’s time to move out of this quiet season and into a more outward focused life again?
“Awake, awake!” He called to me the first night of the retreat. And something deep within began to stir.
Toward the end of my retreat time, God led me to Isaiah 32.
In this Messianic chapter, not only does the King rule in righteousness, but those who rule with Him become “like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert…” (v. 2)
And I heard it—the invitation for the refreshment and growth of my quiet season of Winter to become a source of refreshment to others.
As Jesus comes as the righteous King, He calls me to bring justice with Him. He stirs me from slumber, pours out His Spirit on me, and turns my desert into a fertile field. He turns me into a stream of water in the wilderness.
It’s time. What has been growing unseen is about to burst forth. My soul is awakening into Spring!
Did you sense an awakening in your spirit during the retreat? What dormant dreams might God be bringing back to life in you?