These are the words that chose me back in January. These are the words that would eventually push me through the seasons of doubt, fear and anxiety that this year has ushered in. These are the words that I cling to. This is my life verse.
I didn’t choose it, mind you. When I was asked to choose my word, I tried to choose love. Love is like the Little Black Dress of all scripture words, isn’t it? It’s fabulous, flattering, and easy. Who doesn’t want their 2017 to be about love? Clearly Satan, but other than that I’m drawing a blank.
But despite my faith at that time being at an all-time low, despite the stubborness and blindness that characterized that season of my life, God pressed these words on my heart. He pressed them into me with such weight and urgency that I couldn’t refuse. Even if I wanted to. Even if I didn’t really feel that any plan could help, that anything could be better. I was ok with surviving. It had become the norm. What plan could possibly exist to change that?
But God’s funny like that, isn’t he? He knew exactly what season I was in when those words were given to me. He knew exactly what I was thinking, feeling, and doing. And he still loved me enough to push me to step out in faith and trust Him. Letting Him guide just this one small choice, something so seemingly insignificant as a verse, opened the floodgate of grace into my life. With those words in place I have made big life changes. I have faced major life obstacles. I have made mistakes, faced heartache, and stared uncertainty in the face. And those words, just like a mustard seed, they grew. They took root in my heart and grew. Through those words, my faith began to reemerge. To strengthen. I began to understand that there was something greater than just me and my personal happiness at stake here. That there is more to this life than just me.
The fact that it took me 38 freaking years to figure this out is mortifying.
And what I’ve learned through all of this is that God loves you through all of the seasons of your life. He loves you through the “oh Lord, what have I done” seasons and He also loves you through the “Oh Lord, what have you done” seasons. His love doesn’t fail. It doesn’t give up on us, even when we give up on Him.
Because life isn’t always pretty. There’s a lot to work through down here. It can feel like a boxing match sometimes and the world is a flawed, scary place.
In my bible study we’ve been praying for a precious 3 year old that has cancer. Her little body has been beaten up with treatments and we’ve been praying for a miracle. And as her family has been holding out hope, they just learned that the cancer is back. There is no cure. They will probably lose their baby girl.
Oh Lord, what have you done?
Cling to these words with all of your might.
My life has changed so very drastically in the past six months, and I’m still reeling. I question daily the choices that I made and the wisdom of trading in security for uncertainty and doubt and fear. And I’m scared.
Oh Lord, what have I done?
Hold on to those words.
And we all go through these seasons. Seasons of doubt. Seasons of fear. But the beauty of life is that those seasons are just that….they’re seasons. Meant to be transient. Meant to change. And just like winter grows into spring, doubt can grow into faith and fear can grow into something beautiful. If you let it.
So trust in the plans. No matter how hard it seems. No matter how much you don’t want to. Because if you do, your season could change. And it could be beautiful.
Unless you live in Texas. And it’s fall. Then it’s just going to be hot and you’re going to complain. Because you can’t wear pants yet, flannel is out of the question, and it’s too brutal to enjoy your pumpkin spice latte unless it’s over ice. Then you have to wait until winter for the season to be beautiful. Sorry. It’s just the truth.
But you can enjoy this fall-ish pasta to try and entice cooler weather to come stay. I know that some of my more traditional and less adventuresome readers are going to walk away in disgust when they consider pairing pumpkin with pasta. But please, stick with me here. Just try it. It’s rich, It’s velvety. And it’s oh so good. I originally found this recipe in the Rachel Ray magazine a few years back, so I can’t take credit for it completely. I altered it just a bit to make it healthier (subbing coconut milk for heavy cream) but truthfully, she’s a better cook than I am so I didn’t have to do much.
Enjoy this for dinner. Thank God for whatever season you’re in. Let me know if you want to chat through it. Life is hard, but it’s not meant to be lived alone.
Rachel Ray's Pumpkin Pasta
- 1 pound Penne Pasta
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 3 shallots, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, grated
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 15 oz can pf pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk (alternatively--heavy cream)
- 1 tsp hot pepper sauce
- 2 pinches cinnamon
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- 7 fresh sage leaves thinly sliced, plus more for topping
- Grated Parmesan
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain.
While the pasta is cooking, heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth, pumpkin and cream. Add hot sauce, cinnamon and nutmeg; season with salt and pepper. Lower the heat and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the sage..
Toss the pasta with the sauce and pass around the table with the Parm to top.
Be sure to taste after each addition of seasoning. Salt brings out the flavors of this sauce, so be sure to balance the sweet of the pumpkin accordingly.