Today we welcome Stephanie to the blog! Let’s step into her season..
Describe the season you currently find yourself in.
I am currently a senior music education major in college. I am student teaching and will graduate in exactly one month from today. This past semester has been a season of change and uncertainty for me. Each day at the schools I am teaching at is so very different. I never know what exciting events may unfold. And with graduation around the corner, I am constantly being asked and forced to think about what will happen after I walk across that stage and earn that diploma. The unknown of these next few months tends to get overwhelming.
What is God teaching you/revealing to you during this season?
At the beginning of my student teaching, I was in complete shock. I had recently moved home, did not see my friends or professors every day like I had grown accustomed to, and the majority of conversations I had took place with people under 4 ft. tall. There were many days I would cry on my way to and from school. It was during this time that Jesus began to open my eyes to the intentionality He shows towards His children. For this season, He chose to purposefully give me the gift of loneliness.
With this gift came the chance to see a side of Jesus I had never seen before: a patient and constant Love. Jesus was showing me, through my loneliness, the extent to which He would go to demonstrate His love and goodness to me, in spite of the emotions and feelings I had.
It was not long after my second session of student teaching began, that Jesus decided to teach me something even greater. I had come to accept the fact that Jesus was good, but that I was not worthy or suitable to receive any goodness or blessings. Some prayers were just too big to pray and some desires too selfish to ask for. Shortly after my 22nd birthday Jesus began to challenge that thinking. He opened doors and started answering big prayers of mine in clear and vivid ways. It was here that Jesus opened my eyes to a bigger view of His goodness.
In a book I was reading, “Every Bitter Thing is Sweet”, Sara Hagerty explains that Jesus is no more “good” when we are receiving answers to prayers and blessings than when our lives don’t make sense and days are dark. Jesus is always good and gives His children good things in both the “winters” and “springs” of our life. He is constantly teaching, redeeming, and preparing us.
How have you/are you changing during this season?
In this season of change, I am learning how to view my circumstances and those around me through the lenses of grace. Jesus is creating in me a heart that is vulnerable to Him and the places He may take me. He is also changing my heart to accept change and instability as a venue to see His goodness in all things. Jesus is proving Himself faithful, even when my eyes cannot see.
He is constantly challenging me to pray bold prayers; not because I am entitles to blessings or expectant of “things”, but because when we seek HIM with our whole heart we are sure to find HIM. Kristene DiMarco from Bethel Music puts it beautifully, “When we are so in love with God and grounded in who He is, no matter what happens, we can say, “it is well with my soul,” just because of Who He is. “
What encouragement would you like to share with someone who is in a similar season?
For those who may be walking in a season of loneliness, lean in and ask Jesus to show you more of who He is. When we are obedient in the seeking, He is faithful to respond with a love that patiently pursues.
For those with prayers that seem too big to even put into words, don’t give up. Pray without ceasing. One of the boldest, scariest prayers I ever worded to my Father was not seen answered until a good 2 years later. It was during that process, that I saw more of Who Jesus is and how He loves those who seek Him.
For those who are going through a season of uncertainty and change, pray for courage to trust a God who is faithful and constant. Seasons are guaranteed to begin and end. Our God is never ending and longs to show us more of Who He is.
A Prayer for Stephanie
Faithful Father, Thank You for Stephanie. Thank You for the season You have her in. Thank You for being aware of her and with her during this season as You teach her more about You. Thank You for the gifts and passions You’ve given her, and for using teaching as an outlet for those. May she always remember her ability to teach comes from You, Teacher. Thank You for the gift of loneliness which has opened up more room for her wanting You, only You. Thank You that when we feel lonely, we are never alone, for You never leave or forsake. Thank You for satisfying her with Your love, making it safe for her to love others. Thank You for hearing her prayers, thank You for changing her heart during the process, thank You for responding. Thank You for her time in college, the impact she has made, and the impact the experience has made on her. May the celebration be grand for this graduate!
As she is faced with the uncertainty of tomorrow, may she look back and remember Your faithfulness before, and be encouraged. May she seek You more than she seeks answers of where You want her to be. As she is faced with many choices upon graduation, may she not be fearful of making the “wrong” or “right” decision, but may she know these are left or right decisions, both good. May she accept the fact that she must choose. Grant her discernment. May You help her surrender her heart to obedience and be assured that You will go with her, whatever the route she chooses, guiding her each step of the way, even when the path seems unclear, scary, tough, or a “mistake.”
We thank You that even as seasons begin and end, You are Alpha and Omega, Begging and End, and You are constant in our ever changing lives.
In Your Faithful Name, Amen.