Purpose | Dormant Seasons

IMG_1683 I feel I’ve been quiet a number of days because He has been settling my soul. A dormant season, like the winter months give way to spring, planting and new life. So this season has been a winter to my soul. Reading by firelight, wrapped in the comfort of His love, protected and sheltered from the harsher elements beyond me.

Don’t get me wrong, it has not been a season of inactivity. I’ve been quite active with a number of responsibilities related to my position at church.

I do continue to write the vision and make it plain in my “COME AWAY” journals. And God has given me revelation on such things as life, gifting and calling – He has opened doors of opportunity as well. My part:  obediently follow Him through this season.

For a number of years now, my earnest prayer and deepest heart’s desire has been to know God as I myself am known by Him. There is an aching in my soul for the beauty of His creation, the revelation of His Spirit, the fullness of His life within me.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NKJV*)  

Perhaps the blog has been quiet because I have not been able to define what it is I want to say. After all a dormant season is a time for resting, reflecting, and refreshing the land. I think of it like my internet browser on this computer. If I hit the refresh link in the action bar at the top of the page. A little wheel starts to turn and the page resets itself. As it does, anything new that has been added to the content for the designated site will be pulled up and made new on my screen. So it is with dormant seasons. When the refreshing comes, anything new that has been added to my life springs forth and becomes evident.

In Scripture, God commanded the Israelites to plant their lands and harvest them for six years, but in the seventh year they were to allow the ground to lay fallow – or to let the land rest. Replenish its nutrients and prepare for the next season of planting, growing and harvesting. God’s promise to the Israelites was that the if they honored Him by committing the seventh year of their land to Him that He would provide all that would be needed for the seventh year in the abundance of harvest received in the sixth year. (See Exodus 23, Leviticus 25:3-4)

My grandpa raised my daddy, his twin brother, Ned, elder brother Mickey and his sisters, Nancy Jane and Earnesteen on a small family farm in Owens, Texas until my father was a teenage. He worked the land religiously planning his life by the annual publication of the Farmer’s Almanac. The past week and a half I have spent time with my parents driving through America’s heartland and then headed for the mountains of Wyoming where we’ve been migrating southward since last weekend.

As we drove through the heartlands of Kansas and Nebraska we saw tons of farm land packed with crops neatly planted in rows. My dad IMG_3148would remark on the type of crop or how it was planted. And then we would see huge fields left bare. They may have been tilled, some had just been harvested while others had just been planted. Still, it was abundantly clear some of the land had been set aside to rest.

I asked my daddy if his father had observed the sabbath year of rest for his land when he had farmed in Owens. My daddy said, “No, of course not, he did what other farmers did. He fertilized.” The implication being, with five growing children and a homestead to support he could not “afford” to allow his land to rest.

This last year marks my seventh year of ministry since I stepped out by faith boldly following God and writing curriculum for the first time in obedience to His calling. And the year 2014 marked the seventh year of my “writing the vision and making it plain.” Perhaps that is why this ground has lay fallow for most of the last 18 months. I could not afford to not let it rest.

I am beginning to value rest in my relationship with God. To understand it is not an absence of activity, but it is a soul satisfied in God alone. That the Life He gives me and all He provides in it is enough for me. My cup truly overflows.

If a season of rest is not an absence of activity then what has my rest looked like?  I’ve pursued my personal relationship with God and taken on professional responsibilities at our church in Granbury, Texas. The touchstone of my youth is my parents’ hometown where my youth was spent alongside my family building a family home and growing up in a rural North Texas community. Scott and I relocated here after an upheaval in our life where God purged us in a painful way of things we were holding onto in place of Him. A journey that fills my heart with gratitude each new day.

Coronation Day - Pic 1Which brings me to the Come Away journal. I had begun journaling my quiet time, secret place experiences with God a year or so before I left my position on staff with Gateway. And last spring at a retreat hosted by my friend, Stacey, I received such revelation about my identity in Christ my heart overflowed. That day, the Lord gave me a new name: Coralee. The name means “maiden.” Which rings with purity and innocence which I have not known in more than 30 years.

A new season to grow and learn, to come into my identity and purpose. Just as Paul’s past required a new name, so did my own. So I began to write in a brown paper covered journal with no lines. (Inset Picture, top left). I would pick up things from the craft/hobby stores and put them on my journal, in my journal, mixing flowers, butterflies and beautiful things in

with the written expressions of my time with God. I pasted in Post Cards from art galleries I visited, the business cards of artists whose work I admired or met, and among them I pasted my own. You see, it has been easy to put the words “Inspired Artist & Communicator” on a business card. For $35.99 Vista Print can make you just about anything you have a notion to be. It is a much harder thing to live from an identity you feel the Lord has spoken over you.

Coronation Day - pic 2

I made the cards and wrote the title I felt God had given me in

obedience. I called myself an artist. I took on commissions and set up a studio in my home – but I still disqualified myself in my mind and sometimes in my words as an artist.

“I have a hard time defining myself as an artist.”

This statement could be heard anytime I talked about my work.

I’ve come to understand my artist qualities make me a “CREATIVE.” I am creative because I am in relationship with the Creator who is the author of creativity. My art, at its fullest, displays a vivid expression of His heart at work in me and His creativity expressed through my unique vision. An artist – that’s who I have been created and fashioned to be. An artist who reflects the image and glory of God.

I don’t know what the future holds but I intend to experience what is left of this life fully alive. Marking out every moment through the pages of Scripture and documenting those life experiences as fully as I can in words, pictures and journals to pass on to the next generation and their family after them. I am an inspired, creative communicator and artist created to express the glory and image of God.

JUST FOR YOU! As you reflect on today’s post, what is the Holy Spirit saying to you? Perhaps you find yourself in a dormant season as I have been. Is the Lord calling up life and purpose in you? How does He want you to respond? Take a moment to ask Him yourself and jot down anything you hear in your own journal. Begin marking out your life experience with Him on the pages of a journal and as you comb through Scripture calling up life in your bones… Write them down as well. 

“A journal should not be about the routine of my life, but it should rather be a record or document of my fullest experiences with God.” – Michelle Bentham, January 23, 2015

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*Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.                              Unless otherwise expressed: All intellectual property included on this blog including written, artistic or photographic materials are the sole possession of Michelle Bentham, (c) Michelle Bentham Creates (C) 2010-2015. All Rights Reserved. Email: michelle@michellebenthamcreates.com for use and permission rights.

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