This winter isn't much different, except that I've found myself complaining a little less. Maybe that has something to do with the winter gear I've slowly collected (leg warmers, slouchy hat, water-proof boots, a down coat), and the fact that our car now hangs out in a garage which means my direct contact with the cold has been cut in half.
I think it also has something to do with learning to stop fighting the seasons. Sure the literal weather-related seasons. Also, the metaphorical seasons of life. Seasons of growth and life are followed by seasons of bitter cold and white washing snow. The unpleasant seasons aren't exactly any easier. There's just something about acceptance that is worshipful and sacred and improves their passing somehow.
I'm in that transition now. Looking forward to spring and summer, but still putting in my time with winter. Remembering the flow of seasons and trying to not miss the beauty of this in-between wait. Below is a devotional thought I wrote on that in-between and shared with a group at the start of fall. I think it's even more fitting now in the dead of winter.
Perhaps we can at least relate to literal season changes. Some of us (eh hem, me) are reluctant to put away our sandals and say "good-bye" to frozen drinks and summer. While others are anxious to pull out the boots and scarves and say "hello" to fall while sipping a Pumpkin Spice Latte.
I feel that tension between reluctance and excitement for seasons in my life, too. A constant swinging between Summer's "it's too hot and muggy" and winter's "it's too cold and windy."
Except it's probably more like "these kids are too crazy, will they ever grow up" that ever so slowly becomes "why do kids grow up so fast?!"
Seasons take their sweet time in passing, and when we find ourselves stuck in the middle of an unpleasant one, we wonder, "God are you still there? I'm still down here, struggling, in case you forgot."
It could be the finances that aren't staying in the black no matter how smart we get with our money. The friendships that don't seem to be coming no matter how much we've looked and prayed and invited. The kids that throw tantrums despite our best parenting tricks, the job that's not going anywhere no matter how hard we work at it, the weight that clings, the down mood we can't shake, the car or home with endless repairs... sigh.
Are we done with this season yet?
Jeremiah 29:11 gives often cited hope: "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope."
But we usually miss a key point just before that in verse 10: "For thus says the Lord: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place."
Why, Lord? Why would You wait 70 years?!
My kids have a way of giving me a new perspective into my own actions toward God. Like when I tell them to put their shoes and backpacks away. It's something I say every time we walk in the door. If everything's good, they do it quickly no problem.
But if their "season" isn't good--if they're hungry or tired or just plain upset--a new favorite response from the 7-year-old goes something like this: "But that'll take for-ev-er!" And, boy, can she draw out that forever!
Then I sound the same when I'm facing a challenging season in life that doesn't want to leave quickly: "Are we done with this season yet?"
God's message continues in Jeremiah 29:12-13:
Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
Do we truly seek with all our hearts if we don't feel the need? When you're on vacation at an all-inclusive resort, do you feel need? I haven't been on one of those, but I've been on a cruise where we ate 6 meals a day. Even basic needs like hunger, thirst, and sleepiness are easily resolved. Because it's all-inclusive.
But that beater of a car, that lonely feeling we can't shake, that self-image issue that keeps creeping up, that frustrating job, whatever is causing a hole in this season is likely God-shaped and drawing us back to Him.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 tells us there is "a season for everything. A time for every purpose under heaven." And it gives the swinging motion of those seasons. Then in verse 11 it says, "He has made everything beautiful in its time."
The 7-year-old in me says, "But when Lord? Please don't tell me in 70 years! That'll take for-ev-er!"
Then Solomon offers this: Also, He has put eternity in their hearts.
Because of this hope in Jesus, we can know with certainty that it's not going to take forever. It will take our lifetime. There will be good seasons and plenty of hard seasons to keep us coming back to Him.
And we can keep moving forward because we have eternity in our hearts and that all-inclusive resort called Heaven with Jesus is at the end.
The hard seasons will be worth it.
new? start here...
pausing on purpose
delicate balance of contentment
striped dress for all seasons