Every year when the late fall air turns crisper and evenings bring chills that call for more layers, a slight sadness creeps into my spirit. I’m the type who dresses warmly, even in the summer, and cooler temperatures prickle my skin with goosebumps that chill to the bone. Do you wonder how I ever make it through the winter? Trusting that it is only a season. As unpleasant as I believe the winter weather is, my faith reminds me that it will pass.
Ecclesiastes 3 teaches that life produces seasons. Scripture crafts portraits of celebration and calamity. It is during those experiences that we come to understand how crossroads form depth of character not built in springtime periods. Unfortunately, that blessed awareness only arrives when we allow God's hands to carry us through those seasons that interweave within our life. As long as our faith isn't seasonal.
Parenting also carries seasons. In fact, most of my life has been intertwined with stages of a parenthood season. My husband and I married right out of high school. He was 18. I was 17. I think back to the girl I was and barely recognize her now. By the time I was 21 we had two children, a daughter and a son. By the time they were raised and finishing school, we were still in our thirties.
Looking back, I know that we were good parents. Yet after the kids were grown, I thought back to the brief time we had with them (that seemed so long during the moments), and I wished that we had been godlier parents. It was easy to imagine ways I would change my parenting if I was able to spend specific moments with each of them again, drawing now from the wisdom God imparted to me as my walk with Him matured. Later, when my husband and I knew God was calling us to adopt from China when we were in our early forties, I understood why God had placed those desires to “rethink” our parenting in my heart.
Have you faced times in your life when you knew God was giving you the opportunity to revisit a season of your life?
Are you obedient to take the journey He calls you to, no matter the task?
Do you ever try to bargain with God or try to delay obedience? Or are you ready to move at the sound of His voice?
Has your obedience ever been seasonal?
Many people we knew, some family included, were not supportive of our decision to adopt. People thought we were too old to start again. They told us our parenting season was complete, and we needed to focus on building a larger retirement fund. They had fears that if we traveled to China we might never return to the US. All sorts of excuses and fears were raised. It strengthened our resolve to seek God’s face and follow where He led. We understood that the logic of God is usually not that of the world. We had to keep our eyes, mind, and heart focused on what He was revealing. We chose to enter the season He had planned for us, and we began to walk in it, step by step. My husband and I didn't walk in seasonal faith, and we understood we had stepped into a season of obedience.
Just as Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 tells us, there is a season and time for everything under heaven. Whether we are experiencing new birth, facing the death of a loved one, harvesting the fruits of parenting, or sowing the soil of our child’s heart, God is our guide and guard. Maybe you are in a season that would make it incredibly easy to crumble under the weight of burdens you cannot bear alone. He is gently wooing you, calling for your surrender. His hands are ready to take the load; His arms ready to carry you. Are you willing to allow God to construct faith that will last longer than your current season?
Maybe this season is building you up for the next trial you will face. Perhaps it is your time to comfort another in the face of tragedy or triumph. Did you just enter a season of laughter? Or a time of tears? Life brings misunderstandings and mistakes, failures and freedom, times of learning lessons and loving others through lessons. Human frailties can cause a tearing away of relationships. They also offer a time of maturation in Him that may allow us to mend what needs repaired if we trust in and follow where He leads. Through His Word, we learn there is a time to speak and a time to refrain from speaking and how to know the difference as we depend on Him. There is a time for love and hate; a time for war and peace. This fallen world offers more than we can handle, but not more than we can face through His strength.
What season are you currently facing? Are you trusting transformation through trials? Or is your faith cloaked in a coat fit for only this season?
I believe God teaches us much about seasons in His Word and through the visualization of nature around us. His goodness, mercy, and compassion toward us are never-ending. If we have eyes to see and a heart to believe. Our Heavenly Father understands that we need constant reminders of His presence. We need to visually see God at work, learn patterns and consistencies to better help us remember He created it all. He is the Great I Am, the Maker of Heaven and Earth. Our Heavenly Father knows how easily we strap unnecessary burdens onto our shoulders, allowing the weight to crush us before we ask Him to cradle us within His grasp.
What are ways you can release the season you are in to Him?
Parenting has been one of my greatest teachers, wooing me to the heart of our Father, allowing Him to grow and guide me to seek His wisdom and discernment. How easily I can fall into the pattern of seeking my own strength and understanding. It is only through constant study of His Word and remembrance of His faithfulness to His children through the Bible (and within my own life )that I am able to fix my gaze above. It is then that I eagerly await seasonal lessons allowed through His fatherly grace as I release my life to Him without succumbing to seasonal faith.
Can you identify ways you are drawing nearer to God through this season in your life? What lesson would you share with others? How can you help them carry enduring faith to the next season they will face?
Seasonal life changes have taught me that the greatest act of obedience I can offer the Lord is to make Him known to my children and to move forward in all things with prompt obedience. That means I must know Him. In order to mentor God in a righteous way that leads myself and my children to Him, I must seek Christ intimately. A strong relationship must be sought daily. In order to allow Christ to flow through me, my responses, my actions, reactions, and thought processes, He must be my priority daily. Christ must come before my husband, my children, and myself. I must seek the face of the One who knows me best and can discern my motives and adjust them as needed.
Only then am I able to mentor Jesus well to the children God has entrusted to me. Every season has brought me to this place of understanding and given me the desire to know Him and show Him more. Coming seasons will do the same if I keep my gaze focused Upward and my heart attuned to the lessons taught through the sweet and sour times of life. He promises that seasons will pass in His perfect time. Just as the leaves now turn and fall to the ground, seasons of life are ending. New cycles of life are beginning. Will the ebb and flow of your breaths be in sync with seasons by seeking the face of God and trusting transformation through trials? Or will you choose to battle harsh winds and bitter chills alone? Let your faith stand every turn of the seasons and become a lasting legacy.