By Kara Miller
Exhaustion (n.) 1. a state of extreme physical or mental fatigue. 2. the action or state of using something up or of being used up completely.
After two years of unknowns and change due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us can probably relate to the definition above. We have all had moments of exhaustion where we have reached a level of depletion that is hard to pull ourselves out of. In those times, we desperately seek for renewal and strength. We want to be replenished and ready for the day that is coming. Yet when our view is blocked by the current troubles we’re facing, what can we do? Where do we turn?
As we gathered for NYAC 2021, our theme spoke to these questions. This idea of “Unfolding Grace” is one that brought awareness to the ways God works through these hard times. In the next few days, we explored the steps in which we can identify how grace is unfolding in each of our lives.
We started by “Returning to Center,” to who we are. In finding ourselves, we were assured that God created us for these moments. God knows us so deeply and assures us that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). As we remembered who we are, we were assured that we were planted into this world to do amazing things. Much like a seed, we were placed into the soil to start our journey toward growth.
Next, we sought to be “Renewed in Spirit.” We looked for strength and wished to be ignited with purpose in what we feel called to do. We were urged to “be transformed by the renewing of your (our) minds,” excited to serve God and be present. Much like a seed that is being watered, this renewal helped us stretch our roots into the excitement of what is coming.
We then wished to be “Abounding in Love.” We were called to use our gifts and talents to be “seeking justice, not just for ourselves, but for others” (Ruth Ritchey Moore). We looked for a place at the table where all are welcomed. We found that if we truly act as God’s hands and feet, we too can make a lasting impact on this earth. Much like the warmth of the sun, our seed can grow from this outreach of love extended to others.
Lastly, we became “Joyful in Hope.” Our eyes looked toward new life sprouting up, though we still may not see it. There is hope in what we can’t see, in what lies ahead of each of us. God doesn’t grow tired but “gives power to the faint and strengthens the powerless” (Isaiah 40: 29). Much like a budding flower, we can grow excited at the hope of new life springing up.
The promise of grace unfolding is right before our eyes. Though our time at NYAC for this year is over, we can look to the year ahead of us. As we are told in 2 Corinthians 4:17, “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever” (NLT).
Unfold (v.) 1. open or spread out from a folded position. 2. reveal or disclose.
May we find ourselves willing to see what God is revealing to us. May we be open to the things that cannot be seen. We are being called to be transformed.
Find more Church of the Brethren news: