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Writing this feels difficult right now because I'm actually at a loss for words. God you've done it again, went and left me speechless. And ironically I know I need to write this. I need to share this.

This is for all the people who too have been going through a storm. Maybe you feel like you are barely getting by most days? Maybe you're tired but can't seem to find complete rest? I ask these things because this has been me recently. I actually told someone the other day that I wish I could hibernate the rest of winter and wake up in the spring. For me spring represents everything I crave. Sunshine that warms the soul. Rain that seems to cleanse away everything that has built up inside. Flowers that smell like new life. And birds that buzz through the air screaming "you've been closed up for too long, it's time to spread your wings and fly."

Sounds pretty amazing doesn't it?

I long for this new season, but I have also tried so hard to accept that there is purpose in every season. Even in the darkest seasons God is working, but I know that many people struggle in the winter months. I have been struggling too. Struggling as I try to carry the burdens of the people I love. I'm deeply moved when I see others hurting. I am an empath, and I'm very in tune to the needs of others. Often more in tune than the person them self is. This is a blessing, but it is also something I have had to become deeply aware of in order to protect myself. I've had to accept the fact that I can't fix anyone, I can't save anyone, I can't be everything for everyone else. This was a hard pill to swallow but a very necessary one.

You see when I focus my attention solely on the needs of others I forget to think about my own needs. I convince myself that I am happier if others are happy. I put myself on the back burner and I deny the things that truly make my own heart and soul feel whole. God has been teaching me for a long time now that this is not my job. That it is okay to give it to Him. That boundaries are necessary and that I shouldn't feel guilty for using them. That it is not selfish to listen to my needs too.

Deep down I know these things, but sometimes when life becomes overwhelming or when I'm facing unexpected hardship, this knowledge begins to slip. When there is chaos in my world I try to be the calm. When there is sickness in someone I love I try to be the healer. When there is brokenness all around me I try to be the glue. I'm sure many people can relate to this too. Don't get me wrong, having this personality or these tendencies is not a bad thing. The problem appears when we cross over that fine line of helping others and begin neglecting ourselves. I walk in this tension nearly everyday. Some days are easier than others. And I've begun to realize that things usually feel easier when I am meeting my own needs first. When I am filling my heart and soul too. When I am doing the things I know will keep me grounded.

Which brings me to why I needed to write this today.

As I mentioned I've been struggling recently. Due to the hardships I've been facing I've been feeling so disconnected from my body, so out of alignment with my soul. I've been longing to hear or feel God but struggling to do so. I started thinking "what is wrong with me?" Anyone else relate?

A few years ago my spiritual journey began, but I hadn't met Jesus yet. It started because I was lost and I finally realized that I needed to start searching inside of myself instead of searching externally. I was longing to know myself better, longing to feel whole. All the outside noise was hurting me. This is when I started meditating. It started as short meditations before bed, and for the first time in a long time I was able to fall asleep quickly. I was able to feel my heart slowing and my mind opening. I was able to feel my soul waking up. This practice was my initial saving grace.

When I found my faith a couple years later, my spiritual world was forever wrecked. Wrecked in all the best ways and my spiritual practices began to change. I was more open to sharing my heart and soul with others, and my prayer life began to grow. God has truly taken a hold of my heart, but somewhere along the way I forgot what led me here in the first place. Meditation. I've heard and read many things about meditating on God's word, but for whatever reason I hadn't truly implemented this practice in my regular disciplines.

When things became hard this winter I reverted back to my old ways of being. I was giving too much of myself and I began realizing that my heart and soul were no longer in alignment. I was living in a state of stress again. And then it hit me. I wanted to go back to how I felt before, but in order to do so I needed to go back to what brought me here in the first place. I needed to meditate.

Last night I came across these spiritual meditations online without even searching for them and I thought, "I see you God." It was in that moment that something shifted. I finally knew what I needed to do. I woke up this morning excited to get back to me again. As I walked through the kitchen I was stopped as I saw this small rainbow shine across the wall. A reflection coming through the window. A reflection I had never seen before. Immediately I thought of Genesis 9 when God mentions the rainbow after the flood. He explains that when this rainbow appears it is a reminder of His covenant with every living thing. And He explains that floodwaters will never again destroy life. This is a sign of the covenant He was making with us (Genesis 9:12-16).

This is why I'm at a loss for words. This moment reassured me that even though I may be hit with a flood, these waters will not destroy what God has created. This rainbow reminds me that I am in covenant with Him. There will be clouds, storms, and floods, but there will also be rainbows. God is with us in the darkness, and He is never leaving. For anyone else that may be praying to wake up in the spring, just know that as you pray for it to end, I am praying for it to begin. Praying for new life. Praying that you too will fall back into alignment, as you begin to ride this tension with an awareness, a peace, that transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:7).

Kerstan Cooper

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