*Drum Roll….* A new free resource is coming to Hope Perch, releasing May 1st.
When The Heavens Are Silent is a scripture based study for gaining a better understanding of why we experience seasons where God feels distant. It includes seven ways to not only survive, but to also thrive in the “dry” seasons. Everyone who signs up to receive this devotional study will be personally invited to participate in an interactive Bible study through a private Facebook group that runs from May 3rd-June 21st.
I’ve been wrestling with the completion of this guide for far longer than I intended. My newsletter subscribers got the inside scoop yesterday to why the words I expected to flow smoothly stuttered their way along for a while. And for everyone today, as a lead-in to the new release, I wanted to take a moment and share part of my personal experience with spiritual dry seasons, and how it changed my faith.
I was reminded last night why this guide is so important to me. I thought it would be fun to create some graphics with inspiring quotes to use on social media to spread the word about my new release. I came across exactly one quote about feeling like God is distant. It was used over and over again. A pithy statement.
If God feels far away, guess who moved? Hint: It wasn’t God
*Cue my momma bear growl in response*
No! No! NO!!! Well, maybe. Could be, but it is a stark oversimplification. A short-sighted answer that perpetuates false guilt and self-condemnation. What if nobody moved? What if it is a different thing entirely? What then? Shall I beat myself up just because I am in a different, and dare I say it, important season of faith?
Here’s a little bit about my personal experience.
During my senior year of high school, I began to experience my faith in an entirely new way. I had been a Christian since I was 5 years old, but had never really understood the concept of growing spiritually. Suddenly, a hunger and thirst had woken, and I was growing in my faith at an exponential rate. I was 17 years old and discovering a whole new world. I felt God’s presence in a way that left me breathless. It was fun, exciting, and maybe a little terrifying.
Cue Bible college, second semester: I moved across the country. Everything familiar is gone. A shy southern girl transplanted to New England. I’m at a vocational ministry focused school. So, I am surrounded by future pastors and missionaries. It should be amazing. But suddenly God seems so quiet amongst all the praise.
I’m surrounded by people who are experiencing the presence of God in chapel services that extend hours long. You know what I feel? Like I am praising a brick wall. Emptiness. The question begins to beg, “What is wrong with me? How am I lacking and insufficient that in the presence of God I feel like a blank slate with no chalk in sight?”
Why? Had I moved? I knew in my head that God had not moved, but He felt so far away. It must be my fault. I began to secretly resent those long chapel services. Not that I admitted that to myself. They became a reminder that I wasn’t “getting it right.”
There was a part of me that knew this wasn’t accurate. Our feelings, while they do give important information, don’t necessarily communicate actuality.
The fact was, God had not moved. I had not moved. Life had moved. There was a lot going on inside of me. I was pursuing God and his plan for my life. At the same time, I was learning what it was to be an adult. To some degree I was struggling with nonclinical depression and anxiety related to a change hating girl going through many changes at once. I wasn’t struggling because I had stepped back or because I was pursuing God less. I was struggling because I was being stretched to trust him in a new way with new things that I had never been presented with before.
I was GROWING in faith. One day while doing devotions with my then boyfriend, now husband, we read Psalms 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.” Be still and know.
Be still. It was time to still my heart and and stop my fretting. I wasn’t going backwards. I didn’t need to worry if I was getting it right. If I was pursuing Christ, I was on the right track no matter what I was feeling. He is a big enough God to show my seeking heart any places He needed to correct.
And Know. I had known God for most of my life. I had begun to experience God on an emotional level, but then that seemed to cease. This stretching of faith brought me back to the fact that while experiencing Him on an emotional level is important, the simple fact of knowing Him was more than enough.
I went through years. Yes, years, where I didn’t feel the nearness of God. The knowledge of His nearness had to be enough for me. During the time that felt so dry, I grew. My roots went deep. My faith found a steadiness and a solidness that kept me strong through many rocky seasons that came later in life. He stretched me to trust him in the quiet. I began to learn who I was.
This new resource is dear to my heart, readers. In it I talk about instances in scripture where God seemed to be quiet, and the incredible things that came out of the silence. I break down the aspects of our being: body, mind, emotions, and spirit, and how those contribute to whether or not we experience emotional connection to God. I discuss the importance of that emotional connection. Because it is important, and should not be either overvalued or undervalued. And for these dry seasons, I give you seven practical ways to promote growth.
If you would like to receive this free resource, look for it on May 1st. Under my Free Resources menu tab there will be a button to sign-up to have it delivered to your e-mail inbox. Why do I do it this way rather than post it on the blog? If it goes to your inbox, you have it to keep, and you can go back to it as needed. You don’t have to sort through my blog archives to access it. It’s yours.
Do you know someone who is struggling with a dry season in their faith walk? Share this post!
While you wait for the new resource, click here to read Shattered Defenses, a short allegorical tale about a huge moment of breakthrough in my faith.
Go to Free Resources and get a preview of what’s coming!