Stretching Seasons

by Carolyn Hope

I do not say that I have already won the race or have already reached perfection. But I am pressing on, striving to lay hold of the prize for which also Christ has laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not imagine that I have yet laid hold of it. But this one thing I do—forgetting everything which is past and stretching forward to what lies in front of me, with my eyes fixed on the goal I push on to secure the prize of God’s heavenward call in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14)

When you’re in a stretching season, God is doing just that: stretching you. He’s pushing and pulling you into more than you thought you could be. This will often be shown by getting an unexpected promotion, or taking on more ministry and/or work than before. You’ll suddenly find yourself in a position you don’t feel qualified for, or a role you’ve never had experience playing. These seasons often feel somewhat chaotic and stressful as you struggle to balance everything and still find time to be refreshed.

Stretching seasons will remind you that you’re not perfect, and you have in no way “arrived” at full maturity in Christ. You’ll be forced to choose if you will depend solely on yourself (and most likely fail in the process of doing so), or if you will rely on Jesus to sustain you in the areas you don’t have a full handle on. Times of stretching are uncomfortable and even painful, but they teach you to trust the Lord and let Him guide you.

I want to remind you today that stretching seasons are for a purpose. That purpose is not to break you. Think about a rubber band; before it has been stretched out, it can hold some things, but after it’s been stretched again and again, it is able to hold far more. When God stretches you, it is because He wants to give you more to carry. He has something greater for you to do, and in order to accomplish that vision, He will stretch you in different ways to prepare you for what’s coming.

Don’t be discouraged if you feel stretched beyond your limits. Holy Spirit is with you, and He will cover you and supply you with all you need. Hold onto hope. There’s more waiting for you.

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Still Seasons

by Carolyn Hope

So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. (Hebrews 10:35-36)

There are seasons in life where everything seems to be still. It feels like you’re not moving forward or going anywhere. From all appearances, nothing is happening. You may even feel stuck.

These times can be very frustrating, especially when you want to use your gifts and talents where you are. Often times in still seasons, however, your days will seem mundane and perhaps even meaningless.

If you’re in a season of stillness, hang in there. Don’t give up. Be patient. Whether or not you can see it, God is moving in your life. He hasn’t forgotten about you. Let Him develop you in character during this time. Let Him move deeply in your heart. This season will not be wasted.

Sometimes, the most beautiful revelations and the most intimate works are produced by still seasons. Don’t underestimate this time. God has a purpose for it, a purpose that is good and hopeful.

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