Did you know that many bears give birth while hibernating? They don’t eat or drink for the entire six months or so, but they do gestate and birth cubs! They enter hibernation with the seeds of life already in them (mating season is in the summer), but the embryo doesn’t begin to develop until the mother enters her long rest. Her body temperature and heart rate lower as she sleeps, but she is growing new life inside. She gives birth and her baby/ies find nourishment by nursing, often for two whole months before she fully awakens! Now, something in her knows that she has given birth, but by the time she wakes up fully to reenter life in the world, her babies are months old already! What would that be like, to emerge from winter’s long sleep with literal new life walking back out with you?! This can be a picture of what happens in our seasons of rest, too. We may not even know we have the new life inside when we enter into a long season of seeming quiet, dark rest. We may not even *want* to enter this season. It looks like barrenness to us, sometimes, this rest, this hibernation. But, imagine: even as we fully enter into the deepest of rest (willingly or unwillingly), life grows inside. We may not even realize the incredible work of creation going on in us until we actually give birth – and we may not *fully* recognize it until months in, when we can name this new life that has emerged with us into a new season! So, as we consider going into a season of hibernation, of somewhat "enforced" rest, wonder a bit with God about what new life might be already planted. What might be nurtured – with or without your full awareness – in the coming season? What new life do you dream might emerge with you in the spring? If you are a person that has a hard time saying “yes” to rest, what would it be to lean into this process, knowing you might even birth something new in the midst of it? How might you prepare (since it is out of the mother's stores that the cubs are nourished)?

Posted by Jamie Bonilla at 2021-10-21 14:10:26 UTC