Awake, O My Soul

Awake, O My Soul

“Awake, awake!”

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?

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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6 Comments

  1. Jennifer May 2, 2021

    Yes and Amen! What you’ve written is so similar to what I’ve heard God saying to me even today as I’ve been going through the retreat. Check out Martin Smith’s song “Awake, My Soul”, perhaps it will speak to you the way it has to me, given the words you’ve written.

    1. Corella Roberts May 3, 2021

      Thank you so much for the song recommendation, Jennifer! I love hearing that God has us on similar journeys right now. Blessings, sister!

  2. Danielle Wheeler May 6, 2021

    “the invitation for the refreshment and growth of my quiet season of Winter to become a source of refreshment to others” – Isn’t it astounding how our own winter season becomes a gift not only to ourselves but to others? “Other’s needs” are often what keep us resisting winter. So like God to turn it upside down. 🙂 Thank you, Corella, for sharing this. You are already being that source of refreshment to others. Blessings to you in the next beauties of spring.

    1. Corella Roberts May 7, 2021

      Yes, I love how God so often surprises us like that in his “upside-down” kingdom. Thank you for your encouragement, Danielle! And for all you’ve personally invested into Velvet Ashes!

  3. Bonita June 4, 2021

    Wow. I did a retreat just at the beginning of spring and also noticed how winter was not a useless time but time of rest. Perhaps that is what I need. It is natural for trees and plants to have a dormant time but it is not natural for me!

    1. Corella Roberts June 5, 2021

      Yes, I totally understand! It’s both hard and helpful to change our thinking from rest as useless to actually essential for growth. God bless you as you determine what season your soul is in right now!

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