Have you ever been in the middle of something? You know, like the middle of a book, dinner, a movie, your family, or nowhere. What does it feel like to be in the middle? How do you know you are there? Will you ever make it out?
Great questions, huh?? I believe we all are in the middle of something. I am a middle child, middle-aged, and in the middle of a season of waiting and receiving. To sum it up, I am in the middle of renewal. A time of letting go and allowing God to work in and through me knowing the process never ends.
I spoke with a group of women this past weekend about “Why the Middle of Renewal Matters.” Before I could wrap my brain around what God wanted me to say, I needed to understand what renewal looks like as well as how I would describe the “middle” I was currently in.
My story is not pretty. There is no happy ending. It is messy and God has a way of pulling me through the hard, sometimes kicking and screaming.
Here’s what I do know. My story is not over. God redeems the messy and in this hard place, He has never left my side–not even once! I find myself in the middle often. It might be as simple as the middle of writing a post for this space and finding out the direction I thought I was going changes mid-sentence. Or it could be as hard as living through a season of pushing back because I thought I knew best. You can read more about that HERE.
God knows. Let me say it again. God already knew what was going to happen even before I did.
I say that more for myself than you. It is comforting to know that God is present and active in every single detail.
We are all in the middle of something.
One thing I am learning is that we are all in the middle of something. Many times we describe it as a season of life. Maybe you are raising young kids and you are barraged by a chorus of “noes” daily. It could look like facing the hard in a season of raising school-age kids who face the social pressure of just being in school. Maybe you find yourself in between jobs. Whatever your middle looks like God comes alongside you.
I am learning this the hard way. It’s all because the thought of giving up control is difficult for me to do. I’ve written about letting go before and the lessons of surrender continue. I imagine, knowing myself well, this will be the case for a long time.
As I stood before about twenty women, I saw recognition and connected hearts scattered throughout the room. It was a gift. My journey was not for nothing, even if it looked like sharing that it is not over and I know God will continue to work in and through me.
What I am Learning
I pray what I am learning helps you in your own journey of walking through middle seasons. God is teaching me that:
Renewal is ongoing and hard. To be made new is a process of refining and restoring and sometimes rescuing again and again.
Living in the middle is a place where I must foster patience and grace. My middle season is a time of fighting back against the lies that tried to steal my identity this past winter. I love that God is still growing me.
The middle of renewal matters because this is where the hard work happens. This is the place where you live in the tension of what is to come while trying to figure out how to let go of the past. God is in the middle. He knows what we need even before we do. He has a standing invitation for all of us to lean in and learn.
You might be thinking right now that life is good and you wouldn’t change a thing. Or maybe, life is exhausting and messy doesn’t even begin to describe all the moving parts you are trying to keep afloat. No matter your season, your heart posture, or your trek toward renewal in your life, God is with you.The middle of renewal matters because this is where the hard work happens and God never leaves your side. #TellHisStory #newpost #linkup #renewal Click To Tweet
I love writing these words as a reminder to myself. I pray something resonated with you and if so, will you share in the comments, share this post with others, or just message me to let me know. You are my people.
P.S. I am out of town next week. My yearly trip with my dear writing friends who are more like sisters at this point. My goal is to have a post ready before I go along with the linkup. If not, all the grace, please?!?
Photo by Erol Ahmed on Unsplash
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!Click here to enter
Join my mailing list!
Subscribers receive updates, newsletters, and FREE resources! Your information is safe and will never be shared.
If you're not receiving emails from me, check your spam folder and mark my emails as "not spam."
Mary, I so needed this message for the middle I’m in right now. Your words contain much wisdom and insight. Especially retate this and trying to remember it deep in my soul: “The middle of renewal matters because this is where the hard work happens. This is the place where you live in the tension of what is to come while trying to figure out how to let go of the past.”
Thank you for your kind words, Karen. I pray that during your own middle season you feel God in every step. Many blessings!
Thank you Mary, have a great time away.
I’m in the middle of “Being still!”
May you find such sweetness in your stillness and hear the voice of God in the midst. Blessings!
Mary, we’re all works in progress, aren’t we? I’m slowly learning that there’s always a beginning, middle and end to every season (even that final walk toward heaven), and God has gifts and lessons for us in every phase. I hope your trip is wonderful!
Yes to all you said. Lots of middles and seasons of life. Each one has its merits.
Praying for you right now in your middle. Thank you for sharing your struggles with us. laurensparks.net
Thank you, Lauren. I feel your prayers. Praying you feel God throughout the rest of your week.
The middle can make you feel like, “I’ve come so far, but there is still so far to go!” We know we have made progress, but it’s not finished and we’re tired by the time we get to the middle. But if we don’t get to the middle it’s impossible to get to the end. So it’s important when we are in the middle that we don’t lose heart. The Lord knows exactly where we are even if we don’t. And He knows where we are going. Sometimes things seem futile, our efforts to move on thwarted, but He knows that too, and is holding out His hand to take ours and to lead and accompany us on the journey through the middle to the victorious end. God bless you, Mary, and take you through the middle process and on to great things.
You say this so beautifully. We need the middle as the connector between the beginning and end. We also need God as we walk through all stages of life. May you feel God’s leading and presence in your own life.
I was just thinking as I was reading your response that the main problem in getting older is that yes, over those years we have gained so much knowledge, wisdom and experience, but that means there is so much of it that is negative and does need to be pruned away. 🙂 God bless you, Mary.
I remember when I was reading Lisa-Jo’s book that I said to her, “everyone is in the middle of something.” It’s true isn’t it? We get through it another something moves in…
It is true and Lisa Jo’s book really got me thinking more about what the middle looks like. Glad you are going through the middle with me.
The middle can be a difficult place to be, but it’s reassuring that God is always with us and that he knows how things will work out. I’m sure you were a blessing to the women you shared with and I hope you have an amazing time with your friends!
I love encouraging other women so the fact I had the opportunity to speak was such a gift. I am finding the middle isn’t so bad because the reality is that I am never alone. See you in a week.
I can so resonate with this, Mary – “Renewal is ongoing and hard. To be made new is a process of refining and restoring and sometimes rescuing again and again.” Thank you for the encouraging reminder that God is with us throughout this journey. Give yourself grace, Mary. No pressure about posting next week. Just enjoy your needed break with your friends. Love and blessings to you!
You’re welcome, Trudy! God is so good to speak to us with the words we need. Praying you feel God’s presence as you finish up your week.
I think I am perpetually in the messy middle. 🙂 But God is faithful and He is teaching me more and more to be patient and to trust Him. Blessings to you, Mary!
God is so faithful and loves being with us no matter what season we are in. Blessings to you too.
Aww..the messy middle! I know in some areas of my life I’m at the beginning, others at the end, and others in the middle season. I have a hard time defining places now, as this fiftieth decade is teaching me that what I thought is generally not what is at all! I hope you have a wonderful week with the gals. It sounds like it is an adventure you have been looking forward to!
I’m nearing the end of my fiftieth decade and feel I know more most days but other days God is doing the hard work of pruning. I’m looking forward to a great week away.
Love this, Mary! It’s so good to know that God is in the middle, right there with me!
Thank you, Jerralea. God is in every part of our lives.
What a precious gift that God gave to all of you in the retreat! And what perfect timing to be able to go on a personal retreat right afterward. May the Lord just continue the flowing of what He has been speaking. Thank you for these beautiful thoughts: the now and the not yet, it’s where I live daily also. God is so gracious to carry us through each step right here.
God does have perfect timing. It is a gift to be able to renew with dear friends and God for a week. I know your story has been difficult as of late. Please know I am praying for you.
Mary, I loved this good reminder that we are in the middle of something. Being in the middle of renewal is hard, but exciting in some ways. The fact that we are all in the middle of something reminds me to extend grace to others. Some of us are in the middle of something sad, difficult, or messy. The fact that we can reflect God’s love for us onto others is our way of advancing His work here on earth.
There is a perspective change when we learn there is always a middle and grace is a beautiful answer. Thank you for dropping in and reminding me that the overflow of GOd’s love in me is what I should share with others.
Amen! I think I/we struggle to rest and trust in the middle (no matter what middle we find ourselves in. The middle is the “not yet” beyond “what was”. You’ve expressed this well and I would say from looking in the rearview mirror that the middle is a place of growth that we never see until later.
Have a great time of reconnecting with writing friends. Praying the Lord will show up and bless all of you big time!!
I love how you say, “the middle is a place of growth that we never see until later.” That speaks the truth and adds another layer to what I am learning about the middle. I am excited about connecting with my dear friends. See you in a week!
I’m absolutely in the middle, trekking through. I think the word “through” is the key though for me. I’m in the middle of a hard season but I’m not stuck there. I am moving through it with God’s guidance and you said it so very right, God is with me with each step, guiding me along the way. He provides the good along with the hard and I’m so thankful!
You said this so beautifully. The best part of the middle is that we are still moving forward if we invite God to work in and through us each step along the way. Praying for you as you trek through your messy middle.
First enjoy your trip with your writing sisters!! Give my “Hello’s” to the group. When I think about our whole lives…we are living between the “Already done” (Christ’s dying for our cleansing salvation) and the “Not Yet” (Our glorious life in eternity with Him forever.) Meanwhile, we work through the hard stuff. When people say, “Life is good.” I change it up and say, “Life is hard, but God is good.” This fits more with my reality. We are being renewed every day. Thanks for the call to open ourselves up to what God would perform in us.
Blessings sweet friend,
I will say “hello” to the group for you. I love how you say we are living between “already done” and the “not yet.” That is the reason why I believe we are always in the middle. For me that is okay. If this is the place of hard work and growth, I say “bring it on.” You are a treasure, my friend.
You’ve got grace, Mary! Enjoy your trip with your dear sister in writing.
Thank you, Tiffiney! I am looking forward to it.
Mary … Enjoy every second with your friends! And yes, please give yourself grace and a well earned break from feeling like you’ve got to get a post up.
We’ll all be here when you come back!
Thank you for encouraging me to rest well. I am taking you up on this advice. See you in a week!!
Oh, Mary, how this post resonates with me.
Though our topics this week are different, I think they overlap. I am in the middle of raising teens. And some days, I wish they were grown, and living as happy adults. But God has challenged me to live in the middle of the messy, the hard, the joyful (when those moments come!). I’m living in the middle too. I loved what you said here:
“This is the place where you live in the tension of what is to come while trying to figure out how to let go of the past.”
I’ve been there too. Trying to let go of the past is sometimes a moment-by-moment decision, isn’t it? This is such a beautiful post, friend.
Dear Jeanne – Raising teen sons is messy and hard but the blessing is that God is by your side through it all. I truly believe we are all in the middle of something. And you are right that sometimes it looks joyful and other times it is plain hard. I’m praying for you as you work through this time of life with grace and God’s strength.
That’s so true–until we get to heaven, we’re always going to be part-way on a journey. Two of my adult children are in the middle of waiting on specific and needful answers to prayer. As a mom, I so want to fix it for them. Now! 🙂 But I have to trust God’s timing and rest in the fact that He has greater purposes than just the things they are praying for–He wants to do a work of faith in them as well.
Thank you for being here and sharing about your adult children. Oh, how I know that well. I am a fixer by nature so I understand what that looks like. I am praying for you and your children as they walk through a hard middle. God knows what He’s doing every time.
Good morning sister, “it wasn’t all for nothing”. I am thanking Jesus for using you and the story He is writing with your life. Praise God for the way He connected you and others of His daughters. Mary, you have grace from me and abundant grace from above if time does not allow a post next week. Have a beauty-full day. In Christ, Julie
Thank you for being my prayer warrior this weekend. I could feel the prayers wash over me. Thank you for the grace as I travel next week. Rest and renewal is good and I need both.
Yes! The middle is as important as it is hard. But we can trust God to be faithful. He has no middle. He is always the same.
And I hope you have a great time with your writing friends! What a special time for you!
There is so much growth that happens in the middle that if I think about it I’m okay being there. I love how you shared God has no middle. He is the same today, yesterday, and always.
So thankful those women at Renewal were given the gift of Mary.
And I have a feeling I know who you’re going to be visiting with next week, so I’m looking forward to GROUP PICTURES of the gang!!!
Thank you! It was an amazing weekend. I think you know this group of women. We will be posting pictures, I’m sure.