Empowered, an apt word for this season, don’t you think? Fall presents many challenges and tasks for us. If you’re a parent there is the ‘back to school’ process happening right now, which can be overwhelming but also full of hope and anticipation. Fall can also provide us with a reset, a chance to set new goals, overcome new challenges, and lean into the new that is coming. Ultimately, to be empowered is to have choice–choice over the steps you take, choice over the path you want to pursue, but also the opportunity and confidence to actually take that step. No person can fully empower you, not even you, yourself. Only God can do that.
This awareness is a crucial component to healing. Only then can you own your personal recovery and take responsibility in processing the trauma, pain and harms in your life. God desires us to remain dependent on him to empower and guide us on this journey. He has never asked us to walk alone, but promises to be with us and help us. “Fear not, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you. I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 40:10)
An integral component of recovery that the staff, leaders and women work through includes making ‘direct amends’ to those we have harmed. This is a big step, facing the reality that our actions have harmed others, and choosing to take responsibility for that. Making direct amends does not merely amount to a contrite apology, but involves a profound acknowledgment that we have played a role in damaging relationships. We want the other to know that we recognize our part in the causing damage. It is an action step that requires humility, a recognition of one’s own brokenness and a desire to bring change and restoration.
The Holy Spirit is the one who empowers us and brings conviction and clarity to our hearts and minds as we work our recovery. He softens our hearts to recognize our wrongs and empowers us to take action towards healing. Because God created us as relational beings, he is also ignites our desire to love others and to seek the healing of damaged relationships. He produces the fruit of mercy as we take action towards reconciliation.
So, as you ponder this new season ahead and what your action, goal or step might be, hear these words and promises of Jesus:
“Blessed [content, sheltered by God’s promises] are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.” (Matthew 5:7)
“Blessed [spiritually calm with life-joy in God’s favor] are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they will [express His character and] be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)
As he spoke to those surrounding him on the mountainside many years ago, he also speaks these promises afresh to you and me this fall season. May you know that the God who delights in you will also empower you, as you trust him and step into his promises!