"There is a time for everything,
And a season for every activity under the heavens"
2019 was a year full of many things for us, many hard things.
Transition, loss, abrupt evacuations, and many unknowns.
God used every single instance of uncertainty to grow and mold us to rely more on Him. He continuously shows us there is a time for everything under the sun.
"... a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot"
Reflecting on 2019 is only the beginning and honestly one of the hardest parts of laying foundations for this next year is to look back on all that we have experienced and know that God is good through it all.
There, I said it. It is still extremely hard to remember God exists outside of circumstance. He exists even when my world seemed to be falling apart, this is the best way He can hold us together. We planted roots and beliefs through 2017 and 2018. There was a time for planting and 2019 was the year where God said it was time to uproot. Dreams were born and some had died but there was a time for that too.
"...a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build"
Last year was a time to destroy lies we believed, tear down walls around our hearts. God used a few instances that were difficult to tear down the Jericho walls we have developed on our hearts: A sweet, sweet boy who became a weekend visitor, a boy (who found himself almost a man) facing tough decisions, a young woman who was on her own for the first time, a mom who loved her boy so much she wanted to give him a chance, a father fighting the monster known as poverty...
God used these stories to show us more of the Father's heart for discipleship in Haiti. To remind us of Himself, the Good Shepherd leaving the ninety-nine for the ONE. So we let the walls be torn down and now we watch as God builds away at our vision ONE person at a time. Through this trusting God process we find Him to provide a time to heal.
"...a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance"
Mourning and weeping were no strangers to us last year- we grieved many losses from the beginning of the year to the end. Friends moved away, movements to adopt fell through, and we even experienced the heaviest grief- loss. We lost a baby last year, unexpectedly my grandpa, and even a friend. So much loss in just the twelve months of 2019.
Also many times, despite the gripping sorrow, found us full of laughter and dancing. Times where regardless of the sadness, you could find us joyful. That could only be the power of God in our hearts working by His abilities not our own. We learned to lean into God in all things ugly and beautiful. Not everything under the sun is easy, but you can almost always find a moment to dance.
"... a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing"
Many people may not understand why or where you are scattering your stones- if the Lord is calling you scatter instead of gather, take the time to un-embrace what the world says. We learned a lot this year about embracing and refraining from embracing. Embrace only what the Lord calls you to- and I can almost guarantee you He is not calling you to embrace the opinions of others or what is popular. Do the hard thing and do it fearlessly because if God calls you to it- no matter if it is time to scatter or gather, He will lead you forward and there will be a time for everything under the sun. Embrace Him.
"... a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away"
Giving up, throwing away- sometimes God calls us into these seasons. Often they are uncomfortable, sometimes they are lonely but God is in those places too. He leads you forward with grace and gentleness. He shows you when it is time and He is with you while you make that toss or exhale and surrender. Then there are the times God calls you to search and to keep. The times where fighting forward makes all the difference, He is in all these moments under the sun. He is in everything and is good, merciful, and just in all things beautiful and difficult.
"... a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak"
There is a time for everything under the sun. No matter where you find yourself in the verses, it is always time for God to use what is going on around you for His glory. In the year two-thousand-and-twenty I hope that you are able to see God is in the details. He is the big picture. The hard days are saturated with mercy and the breezy days are dripping with joy.
"... a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace."
In every season under the sun, God can be found along with His grace abundant grace.
Kristen & Alex Bradshaw