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Webster’s defines “molt” as the “casting off or shedding of feathers, skin, or the like, in the process of renewal or growth.” I see it first-hand as my chickens go through a molt in the early Fall. For a few days, they lose piles of feathers, then they are almost naked for a few days. They look horrible and miserable. However, when the whole process is finished, they look young and beautiful again with clean, strong, new feathers which will keep them well-insulated through cold winter months.

This year, as I watched my chickens go through the molting process, I saw it as a picture of my own life in Christ lately. The Lord seems to be ridding me of my old ways of dealing with life that are not helpful for my faith in Him. My “old feathers” need shedding to allow the new, healthy, strong ones to replace them.

Don’t we all dislike letting go of the old, familiar and comfortable, even if it’s something we know needs to be shed from our lives? And isn’t it a process we often are not happy with? We feel lost and vulnerable without the familiar ways of coping with things, even when those ways are not helpful or healthy. Maybe our health begins to wane, or relational issues spring up, or financial problems arise. It could be that even all these things happen at once and our whole world suddenly feels upside down. Now I see those times as a sort of “molting”, which God is using to help us lose the old, broken, weak, fleshly ways of living to make way for the new, strong, healthy, Godly ways of living by faith and depending more on Him, which He calls us to.

In Philippians 3: 8-9 Paul says, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake, I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.” We too can count everything as loss in our lives that is not of faith in God. Anything else is a “righteousness of our own.” God graciously allows “molting” seasons for us to lose our old ways of trying to earn more of His grace or be righteous in ourselves. His gift of righteousness comes through what Jesus has already done for us. We all need to learn that as we grow in faith.

For the past several months I have felt like I’ve been going through a “molting season”. Many things have hit my life all at once. But through it all, I feel like I am growing some “new feathers”. Crying out to God has become a normal part of every day, and He is teaching me and growing me in ways I am thankful for. He is helping me go deeper into His Word and meeting me in those long, painful nights when I am awake and hurting in mind and body. His spirit is ministering to me and reminding me of His love, His goodness, and His purposes for suffering in this life. My faith is growing in the middle of difficulties. Jesus learned obedience to the Father’s will through what He suffered. (Hebrews 5:8) How can I not do the same as His follower? Instead of looking to the world for help, I am looking to the Lord, and finding all I need in Him.

As I have cried out to God for his direction and help, He has brought comfort through His Word and through people who have cared about me and prayed for me. I am learning to praise Him in the middle of my “molting”.

Psalm 103 has ministered to me in the past few weeks, especially verses 1-5:

Bless the LORD, O my soul,

And all that is within me,

Bless His holy name!

Bless the LORD, O my soul,

And forget not all His benefits,

Who forgives all your iniquity,

Who heals all your diseases,

Who redeems your life from the pit,

Who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy

Who satisfies you with good, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

I find that sometimes in the midst of difficulty, I need to tell my own soul to praise God and remember all He has done for me: He forgives, heals, redeems, crowns me with steadfast love and mercy, and satisfies me with good so that my youth is renewed like the eagles! (By the way, an eagle also goes through a molt to grow new, healthy features so that its youth is renewed.) God is the One we need to find satisfaction in. He is the only One to satisfy our souls with good. Sometimes it takes going through a season of loss and suffering to help us realize this. For the joy set before Him, Jesus endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2). I am called to do the same as His Follower. I say then, let us shed the world and dependence on our flesh and press on to the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:14) Let us soar like eagles as we shed those old feathers and are renewed. May we not fear to try to avoid the days of “molting” God graciously gives us to help us depend more on Him for our every need. We can go to His throne of grace and find the help we need (Hebrews 4:16).

So, let the molting begin!