What Changing Seasons Have Taught Me
Some seasons are crappy seasons of suffering, but God is still sovereign over suffering and will always leverage it for his good.
My family has had a very unique year.
Eddie and I recently sat down and reflected on the joys and the suffering we walked through with God as a family.
Each season brought its own special brand of change.
This winter was a very scary season with one of my children. I didn’t even know I had the strength to endure such a thing (I’m sure I didn’t, but with Jesus it was possible).
In the spring, my oldest child graduated from high school.
Eddie’s father’s health went on a slow decline all year as he succumbed to a fight with cancer.
We buried him in May, two days after my oldest walked the graduation stage.
Then over the summer and into the fall, the journey of dealing with his estate began… and if you’ve never had to wrap up an estate for a loved one, let me just tell you it’s a lot to deal with.
A lot of work as well as tons of emotions to process while handling it all.
We’re a bit worn – both mentally and emotionally fatigued – but we’ve also emerged with enough lessons that could probably justify writing a book.
Well, I’m not writing a book, but I am sharing some of the top lessons the changing seasons have taught me.
Seasons end. There is no such thing as an everlasting season. Seasons were meant to change. The very nature of seasons is the fact that they eventually come to an end. This isn’t a bad thing. It’s always been part of God’s design for our lives.
Seasons begin. Whenever a season ends, a new one is waiting right there to fill its space.
Seasons work together. If we’re discerning enough, we will ebb and flow from one season to the next as a former season nourishes the latter season. They are all meant to complement each other to provide divine information, foundation, and possibly equip for the seasons to come.
Some seasons bring suffering. We were not meant to live a life free from suffering. Well, let me rephrase that. We weren’t created for suffering, but when human will was chosen over God’s will, suffering became part of the human condition.
Some seasons are crappy seasons of suffering, but God is still sovereign over suffering and will always leverage it for his good (if we allow him to do so).
Some seasons bring joy. These are the seasons that refill and refresh us for the harder days. They empower us and remind us of the life we are meant to live. These are the seasons where God’s love is so easily identifiable, even if our circumstances may not reflect the truth and joy our hearts are certain of.
After a season of suffering with my child, the joy of watching them learn to rely on their God and not Eddie and I for their help is irreplaceable. There is no better win than one that draws us closer to the Father.
After the joy of watching my son graduate high school (and finish well), I began a season of grieving his childhood and confusion about how to be a parent to a young adult. I’m in this season as I write this.
After painfully watching Eddie’s dad suffer in sickness and eventually saying our final goodbyes, we’ve had the joy of using part of our material inheritance to pour into those working in ministry and support a few awesome missionaries.
As I consider all of the above, I’m reminded of the wise reflections of the author of Ecclesiastes when they wrote the following:
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
(Ecclesiates 3:1 – 8, NRSV).
And, Jesus offers admonishment as well regarding the promise all seasons of persecution and suffering carry:
“A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:32 – 33 NIV)
And it’s his words that remind me of the last lesson I’ll share:
The Father is with me in every season.
God is with me in every ebb and flow. He’ll never leave me. My feelings and emotions will rise and fall, but he is always the same. He’s always there.
What season do you find yourself in right now?
Are you full of joy, shifting through the hard of suffering, or somewhere in between it all?
I’d love for you to share, but more than that, I’d love to remind you that The Father is with you no matter what.
Written by Deanna Mason
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