To whoever is taking the time out of their busy day to read this blog, thank you! Thank you so much for your act of kindness and for connecting with me from thousands of miles away. I have been living in Guatemala for a month now, and already God has been blowing my mind and revealing himself to me in ways that I never imagined were possible. Just the other day, I read Hosea 14:5-7, and was reminded of the reason I named this blog, “A Fierce Flourishing.” The passage says, “I will be like the dew to Israel; He shall blossom like the lily; He shall take root like the trees of Lebanon; His shoots shall spread out; his beauty shall be like the olive, and his fragrance like Lebanon. They shall return and dwell beneath my shadow; they shall flourish like the grain; they shall blossom like the vine…” After reading those verses, God faithfully reminded me of a lesson he had taught me just three months prior to leaving the U.S. The season was finally transitioning from summer into fall. The grass lost it’s evergreen color, the trees shed their coats of crinkly, crackly leaves, and gloomy skies filled the air. It seemed as though the earth was mourning the loss of summer. But as nature sat wallowing, I arose rejoicing. I took heart and found comfort in a new transition of life. Though the leaves were dying, nature was hiding, and the earth was crying, the transition was simply beautiful. I marveled and sat in awe of the death and revival of God’s creation, each season sparking within my soul a different reason to sing, give thanks, and find joy. Joyfully, I realized that God is in the midst of every season. He sings through the birds, dances through the waves, proves his faithfulness in the rainbows, and shines brightly through the rays of light. His goodness is sprinkled about every season, every time of year. And isn’t this how God is through my season of life, through all of my transitions and adventures? He is there, always there. Right now, I am in the biggest season of change that I have ever experienced and I didn’t know it was coming until I was already in the middle of it. I remember reading the phrase: “Bloom where you are planted,” and it spoke volumes to my heart. That is the way I am supposed to live: willing and obedient to the purposes of God’s will, and wholly reliant upon the strength of Jesus. Not worrying about where he is taking me, what he is doing, and why he is pruning me of my branches and leaves, but simply blooming wherever he decides to plant me. It sounds so much easier than it actually is. It requires submission and it causes discomfort, but surely a tree must be stripped of all of it’s leaves in order to grow new ones, and the flowers must fade away in order to spring back up with vibrancy and life. I too must lose my leaves every once in a while. Pieces of who I am, must be cut away so that the glory of who God is, can shine through me. When I am stripped down to nothing, it reminds me that God is my everything. in order for beauty to spring forth and a heavenly blooming to take place, I must be deeply rooted in Jesus, firmly planted in his grace. God makes beautiful things out of the dust, and he causes a fruitless people to abound in his name, fiercely flourishing. Isn’t that just beautiful? I have never and will never know such great love. No matter what season you are in, may you bloom, blossom, and flourish on this earth. May people see that the Light of the World is shining upon you and transforming your heart from the inside out. May we welcome new seasons with open arms. May joy fill our hearts to overflow, at the thought of Jesus stooping down low and taking away pieces of us, to be fulfilled with the fullness of Him. God is faithful in and out of every season, may his love wash over you today.