By Jen Hersey
Cherished Women’s Blog Writer
I came home a few nights ago and saw that my apartment had transformed. Autumn wreaths covered the door and there were pumpkins everywhere. My roommate loves the changing seasons and always decorates accordingly.
The same decorations were up when I moved in last year, in tears. I had left a relationship that I was certain would head toward marriage. I knew that leaving was the right thing to do, but it felt like my entire life had fallen apart.
Over this past year, God’s faithfulness has brought me great healing. I may be in the same place physically, but God has grown so much in me spiritually.
The Hebrew word for “year” is “shanah”. The word “shanah” also means “to repeat” and “to change”.
The fact that the same word is used for changing and repeating struck me as strange. We usually think of these things as opposite ideas, yet in Hebrew the word is identical.
The oral Torah is called the Mishnah, which is derived from the word “shanah.” It means “study by repetition.”
How can repeating and changing mean the same thing? We sometimes learn by doing the same thing over and over again. Repeating the old thing actually brings us somewhere new.
I’ve been thinking about this idea a lot lately. So often in life it feels like God is just walking us in circles – that we aren’t really getting anywhere. It’s so easy want to move quickly horizontally, to get from point A to point B as fast as we can. We want to feel like we’ve accomplished something by getting somewhere new.
I think God often walks us in circles because He knows real growth and healing happens as we move vertically, toward Him. He wants us to spiral upwards. Like the Israelites wandering through the desert, He wants to change us and grow us as we repeat our steps.
Beth Moore has a beautiful line in her study, “Entrusted”:
“Until we see Jesus face-to-face, our journeys won’t be straight lines nearly as often as they will be a series of loops rolling us forward by circling us back to faith.”