I know the fall season is long past but I wanted to share a little blurb I wrote back in October because in life it’s always about the seasons….
I just returned yesterday from an amazing 4 day trip to Yosemite National Park and I got to appreciate first hand one of the most amazing displays of the change of the seasons. I’m always awe-inspired by God’s handiwork when I spend time in such a raw natural place; to me it seems like one of the best places on earth to really feel God’s presence. As I looked at the trees with their shades of yellows, greens, reds and brown, and gazed at the dizzying magnitude of Half-Dome…then retreated to the quiet tranquil places in the meadows and streams in the park I was reminded over and over again of the magnificent works of our great God and how His ways are truly incomprehensible. I was able to appreciate with gratitude that he did not design lives to be stagnant; how so much of the beauty of living is the ebb and flow of the seasons.
Now, I happen to especially love the change of summer to fall. After all, I love a good pumpkin spice latte as much as the next girl! However as much as I am able to cherish and treasure change in the seasons, I generally tend to be much less enthusiastic about seasons and change in general in my own life. I often struggle to see the meaning behind what seems like an endless, difficult, frustrating or painful season. Sometimes a certain season can feel like we are being bombarded on every possible plane.
To be perfectly honest, much of this season has been really difficult. A year and a half ago God closed the door to my job as a family practice physician assistant and three days later I found I was due to have baby number two (the beautiful and sweet Willow Grace). I was sick essentially my entire pregnancy, during which I struggled with the mothering of a very energetic boy who was himself in the midst of the “terrible two’s”. After the birth of Willow I struggled for several months with post-partum depression, which began lifting only to be replaced by episodes of what I can only explain as a bone-crushing fatigue and body aches. These episodes have become a nearly daily struggle. Being a clinician of course I have sought to find the source of this recurrent, crippling tiredness but all my tests have been normal and my doctor has told me “drink more water”. Through all of this, my marriage has suffered and my parenting has been less than stellar. Full of good intentions and fired up as a “baby Christian” just 5 years ago, I had begun my walk with Christ with the mindset I’ve always had; that as long as I did all my homework, checked all the boxes, did the required reading, etc I’d be an A+ student. I’d be the best Christian wife, the best Christian mother, the best friend….
And now I’ve been thrown into this season where I’m honestly worn down. I’m tired; physically, emotionally, spiritually. I had to confess last week at a much needed marriage tune-up counseling session that I not only felt like I was failing in a lot of areas, but that I had developed a resentment towards God. I resented the struggle of this season. I resented what I saw as un-achievable expectations to live as Christ had. I had gotten to a point where I’d open the Word and all I saw was condemnation; because yes, I knew that love kept no record of wrongs, but I had just argued with my husband about things I had already said I forgave. And love is patient, but I just spent the day barking at my two year old and thinking unkind thoughts about the guy who just cut me off on the freeway. These were and are heart issues that had come about in this season. However, just as the ice carved away valleys of granite in Yosemite, I know God is using the glaciers of life to shape me, refine me and sanctify me in this season.
I had to remind myself of Romans 8 which says “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” Later the verse says “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words”. Even when we are in a season where we are in such despair and we are weak and we don’t even know what to pray for we have the spirit interceding for us.
Ecclesiastes 3 says “for everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven”, it continues in verse 11 “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end”.
My point, sisters, is that we are placed in each season, exactly where we are supposed to be for reasons we may never understand but we have to fight to seek God continuously right where he has us. God is kind in that he often will give us perspective in hindsight, but not always. Sometimes we need to just trust “trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths”. Proverbs 3.
Above all we can take heart that we are not alone in the struggle of the season and there is beauty that can be found everywhere. Even Paul who was a superstar disciple reminds us “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has mae me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus”… and later in Philippians 4 one of my favorite encouraging verses he tells us “I can do all things through him who strengthens me”. I pray that each of you would find strength in Christ’s promises and continue to seek him, no matter the season you find yourself in.