This is Aimée.
Her drink is a strong black coffee made from freshly ground beans (she says it is the Turk in her).
I met Aimée through The Joyful Life Magazine, but I got to know her through the launch team of her first book, But I Flourish. Aimée and a few of the gals from the team and I hit it off so well that we now schedule regular Zoom meetings to chat and laugh and encourage one another.
Though Aimée lives continents away in Auckland, New Zealand, her warm personality always makes me feel like she is just round the corner and about to pop in for a coffee.
Listening to the recording of our Zoom chat brought me such a smile because of how many times Aimée and I laughed at the Kiwi-American differences. Aimée taught me what it means to “shout someone a coffee” (buy it for them), and we giggled about what it is like for her to try and edit American writing when she is used to British-based, New Zealand spelling.
Frivolous topics aside, Aimée knew exactly what she wanted to share, and in true writer form, she wove in verses beautifully, and left very little work for me to do as the curator of her powerful and important truths.
A NEW YEAR, A NEW SEASON
“God gave me the word filled at the beginning of the year. I heard Him tell me ‘I am going to fill this year: you, your family, and your home.’ And what immediately followed was a stark juxtaposition to filling: opportunities changed or were stripped away.
But my book was about to launch, so I assumed the filling He promised would occur from the harvest of my labor on the book. The book launched in March, and it was such a high! I am incredibly proud of the book, and it was wonderful to see the enthusiasm on the launch team and the words of encouraging people.
But come April, I was exhausted and discouraged. The book sales had slowed and I had no energy to continue the level of marketing that I was undergoing.
Confusion followed: wasn’t I supposed to feel filled?
I expected a season of harvest after all that work. I expected bounty and joy, and I was met with tiredness and discouragement.
In my time in the Word during this period of discouragement, I felt my attention directed to Psalm 1.3:
(the person who meditates day and night in God’s word) is like a tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season and its leaf does not wither whatever he does prospers.context added by Aimée
God reminded me through the words ‘in season’ of the importance of recognizing our seasons and leaning into what that season looks like and being faithful in it.”
RECOGNIZING MY CURRENT SEASON
“There is a little-known passage in 1 Chronicles about the sons of Issachar who discerned the season and knew what to do in it:
From the tribe of Issachar, there were 200 leaders of the tribe with their relatives. All these men understood the signs of the times and knew the best course for Israel to take.1 Chronicles 12:32, NLT
Understanding the signs of the times to determine one’s course…
This verse gave me pause to whether I had truly considered my current season. Having just completed the “harvest” of my novel, I decided to Google what occurs immediately after crop harvest in terms of farm life, and what I found gave me such wonderful insight: after harvest, the soil is fed with nutrients and allowed to rest.
God had given me a beautiful picture: harvest is about both fruitfulness and rest. It was such a live-giving, ‘Aha’ moment.
In the busyness of getting the book launched, I hadn’t allowed for any rest. I hadn’t factored in any down time. I worked on my book and on editing another book throughout our entire summer holiday (January and February here in New Zealand).
God reminded me that energy and capacity only goes so far without rest. Of course I was exhausted–I had neglected one entire half of the season.”
WHAT DOES A POST-HARVEST REST SEASON LOOK LIKE?
“The kind of rest to which God is leading me doesn’t mean shirking my responsibilities or abandoning my commitments, but rather an intentionality in protecting my down time. I have begun to implement several different ways to rest, post-harvest:
“Rest is so much more than taking breaks from the hustle.
True, it means lightening my workload, but it also means to institute rest in other areas like going to bed earlier and eating nutritious food. During the book launch, I was so frantic during each and every day that I would just grab a slice of cake for lunch. I wasn’t putting nutrients into my body like the farmers do with the soil.
I need to create a routine that allows the Holy Spirit to minister to me and to refresh me and to help me tend to this soil of a good heart that God has given me through Jesus.”
I need to tend to this soil of a good heart that God has given me through Jesus.
LETTING GO OF MARKETING MY BOOK AND LETTING GOD
“God has invited me to rest. He is helping me recognize when I have done my part just as Paul writes to the Corinthians: one plants, one waters, and God brings the growth (1 Corinthians 3.6). So in terms of the book, I have done everything in my capacity and now I have to rest and let God do what He is going to do with it from here.
If I am faithful to what he asked me to do, then I don’t need to worry about all the other things. God’s Word will accomplish what He wants it to: “It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it” (Isaiah 55:11 NLT).
Now, naturally, I would like the book to sell so that it can fund the next book, but the Amazon numbers are not what this project is about. I wrote But I Flourish because I felt so alone in those difficult seasons of my life and I wished for someone further down the path to come alongside me and speak the truth that I needed to hear. I want to reach women who don’t have a spiritual mentor around them.
If I am tending to the soil of my heart and keeping it healthy, surrendered, and yielded to Him, and planting myself in the Word and in His living water, then I can rest just knowing that He will cause that seed to accomplish what He intended. It’s not actually my job to work around the clock trying to accomplish everything myself.”
PROTECTING MY DOWN TIME BY PULLING BACK ON SOCIAL MEDIA
“Part of holistic rest means giving myself permission to not perform all the time—especially when it comes to social media.
I had gotten into a pattern of posting on social media simply because I hadn’t posted in a while, not because the Holy Spirit prompted me. I am no longer forcing myself to post on social media just for its own sake or because I know the algorithms favor that kind of activity.
In fact, when we rush out a post, we sometimes share things prematurely before God has fully worked it out in our own hearts and our own lives—it’s like picking fruit before it is fully ripened. I am asking the Holy Spirit’s guidance in knowing what to share, when to share it, and how to share it.
In fact, some nights, I delete my social media apps around dinnertime, and I am far less likely to pick up my phone. The goal is to not add them back onto my phone after until the kids are off to school the next day. This practice gives me greater margin for abiding in Him.”
THE REST REVEALS WHAT IS NEXT
“Reducing time spent in marketing and social media means that I can make the time to go deep in the Word and listen to what He wants next for me.
In these reflection times, He has reignited in me the drive to write Biblical content rather than try to master social media. He reminds me that my “lane” and my gifts are writing things like Bible studies and ministering to smaller groups, in-person.
In this age of social media where value is often assigned to numbers of likes and followers, I worry that we undervalue what can grow in small groups and the conversations that can happen over coffee with a friend. These are small harvest fields with small seeds, but often where the truly meaningful stuff occurs.”
Have you discerned your season, been reminded of your gifts, and recognized what God is asking you to do in it? Aimée provides such a beautiful example of the permission we need to give ourselves to rest after a busy season. If we are not taking time to “tend to the soil of our own hearts” as Aimée puts it, then we don’t have a fertile foundation to grow good fruit for Him.
I am so grateful for Aimée’s wisdom here, and in our friendship, as she continues to offer me holy guidance when I need direction.
When Aimée does make it to the states at some point in the (hopefully not too distant future), I am going to give her a hug and the coffee will be my “shout.”
With His love,
To connect with Aimée: