Changing Seasons

Changing Seasons
Fall has always been one of my favorite seasons. The air cools down and we can unpack the cute sweaters, boots, and scarves (which I desperately need to buy after living in a city that rarely got below 65 degrees the past 6 falls/winters!)

 

I have so enjoyed experiencing fall in Ohio this year. I’m so glad our God gives us beautiful things. The beautiful array of red, orange and yellow leaves He gives us every year is spectacular! I think he did that for us. He could have just as easily made the leaves change straight to brown and fall off before they rest for the winter, but instead, He gave us a vibrantly colorful display to enjoy. He’s a God of wonderful detail!

 

While I love fall, the dropping temps and falling leaves are also an unmistakable reminder that winter is coming. Winter has its beauty as well. If I could spend 3-4 months in a fully furnished and updated log cabin with 1 or 2 huge fireplaces and a huge stack of books, winter might not be so bad. That’s not likely anytime in this lifetime though!

 

I’ve never been a fan of winter. I grew up in Minnesota where winters were very harsh and very long. When God called us to Southern California my first thought was: NO MORE WINTERS and then I wondered how much of my cold weather clothes I could donate before moving.

 

The cold, the snow, the ice, the short days and long dark nights of winter don’t bring me joy like the other 3 seasons of the year do.

 

All winter long, I yearn for spring. I actually enjoy the other 3 seasons and try not to will them away. I need to learn to enjoy winter. I don’t need to love it. Thankfully it’s just a season, and it won’t last forever. Even though I don’t enjoy the snow, I’m thankful that it nourishes the earth so new life can spring forth during the next season.

 

Just like we have seasons in the year, we have seasons in our life. Some are painted with beauty and sunshine and laughter, and some are dreary and cold and filled with sorrow. Each one is just a season.

 

Solomon, a man of great wisdom tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:-1
“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:”

Some seasons are full of joy! A new baby! What a wonderful blessing!

When Judah was born I was on a new mom high. He was a fairly good baby, there was only one of him, and I felt like I knew what I was doing for the most part. I didn’t have any sort of new mom anxiety and felt confident that I could figure out this newborn thing day by day.

 

Having a baby doesn’t always look the same though. After Charlie was born I struggled with depression. (You can read my testimony here) What I expected to be a joyous time was one of the most difficult seasons in my life. But you know what? It was a season. A season that the Lord carried me through even when I couldn’t feel him doing so.

 

While in the midst of a dark time, it’s easy to think it will last forever. It won’t. I know that every person reading this has gone through difficult seasons and changes. The loss of a job, the loss of a loved one. I’m sure we all know someone who has suffered more tremendous loss than we can even imagine, yet they’re still faithful and serving the Lord today. I’m so thankful for our pillars of faith who stand firm through every season of their lives.

 

As seasons of life change, enjoy where God has you!
It’s not always easy to do, but if we don’t do our best to embrace change, especially God-given change, we can become bitter.
In 2011, my husband and I got married in June, and packed up our sparse belongings and moved from Minnesota to Southern California less than 3 months later. If that’s not a season chock full of huge change I don’t know what is.
Getting married and living with someone for the first time is change. You have to navigate your day to day lives with someone else in your space. It’s fun and annoying at the same time. You have to tweak some of your routines, as does your spouse. But at the end of the day, It’s also so much fun to come home to your favorite person at the end of the day! Most days anyway 😉

 

Anyway, marriage was a big change, moving away from my family and the only church I had ever attended was a big change. When we moved to San Diego I had only ever met the pastor of the church when he was a guest lecturer at my Bible college. I didn’t know anyone. I’d never even been to California unless you count flying out of LAX a couple of times.

 

It was scary and exciting. It was an adventure. We met new friends and had periods of loneliness. We knew that’s where God had called us though so we embraced the changes. We worked for the Lord and we obeyed our pastor. The Lord blessed us beyond our imagination during that season in our lives.

 

If I had had a bad attitude about God calling my husband and me away from everything I’ve known, the Lord wouldn’t have been able to use us in the ways that he did during the season. Instead of focusing on what we left behind, I chose to focus on what we were gaining. A new church family! A beautiful city filled with some of the best beaches in the WORLD, amazing restaurants. New people to minister to.

 

My husband and I both started feeling in our spirits that season coming to an end, yet we didn’t know what was next. We began praying about the next chapter in our lives both separately and together. In the amazing way that only God can, He began to orchestrate every detail of our move to Ohio.

 

We actually laughed when our pastor in CA told us about his phone call with the former pastor of our now church. Not that there’s anything wrong with Ohio, we love it, and it’s always had a special place in my husband’s heart as he has a lot of family history in the state, but we had assumed our next step would be working for the Lord in Japan.

 

Ohio is not Japan.

 

His ways are higher than our ways.

 

We are embracing this season of change also. We aren’t willing this season away like I know I’ll try to will winter away when that first snow sticks of Winter 2017/2018. What a disservice that would be to the Lord, to this city, and to our church. If God wants us here for 5 years or for the rest of our lives, we’ll be here.

 

I’ve met some people who are never satisfied. If it’s summer, they complain it’s too hot and want it to be winter. If it’s winter it’s too cold and they want summer. Even when things are going good in their lives they find something to complain about.

 

I don’t want any of us to live our lives that way. Let’s do as I Thess 5:18 commands and “give thanks in all things.”

There’s a reason for every season in our lives. We won’t always know the reasons, but God does, and we need to thank Him for that. As hard as it was to walk through dark seasons, they truly have made me stronger and better equipped to minister to others going through similar seasons.

 

Not long after we moved here, the former pastor’s wife of the church told me something that has stuck with me. “Even good change is hard.” Those words are full of truth.

 

The holidays are a busy time of year. Somehow Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years all seem to happen in a blur! Whatever comes your way as 2017 turns into 2018, trust that God knows what you’re going through. He walks with you through the comfortable seasons and the uncomfortable ones. He will never leave you or forsake you. Cling to Him through every season. Don’t only remember Him when times are tough. Remember Him, love Him, and thank Him in EVERY season.