“We experienced a cold front last night which turned
the sky into a deep, blue-grey backdrop for the colorful
new growth. Crisp air and a calm breeze, surprised us with
a pleasant contradiction of the two forces of nature!
Spring: ready to bring forth the warmth of bright, long days.
Winter: not yet ready to give up her claim …or give
way to change just yet! It was a beautiful, poetic drama in
motion we watched as birds chirped and fluttered in unhurried
excitement and adoration of our King!” ~ Laura Cates
(a thoughtful reflection from my diary 2011)
Even though it would be unrealistic to believe that seasons in our life will last forever, sometimes while we are in the middle of a season, it can seem like it will never end. However, gradually, one season eventually changes and gives way to the next. A prime example of this is the season of raising children. From the time they are born until the time they leave the nest to embark out on their own, the daily routine of training, tending to needs and helping them overcome life’s little obstacles can seem as if it will always be here. But then, reality hits us when we look again through the family album and wonder where the years went and how they grew up so quickly.
Sometimes we experience seasons of increased pressure, such as an intense ministry, stressful job, or working while trying to earn a degree and balance family life. When the pressure is really on, struggle to maintain balance can give way to a sense of failure that eats away at our confidence. If we are not taking care of our bodies and our spirit by giving time to exercise, and reflect, feed ourselves spiritually with God’s Word, our emotions can convince that we are failures! I can attest to this personally.
Years ago, when our children were very small, I had a newborn, and a three year old, I was trying to maintain a clean house but I had set my mental standard up so high! I wanted everything to look like a home decorating magazine! Needless to say, I was failing at that while trying to keep a feeding schedule to nurse a young infant, and run my own business in the evenings teaching piano. At that time I had been working part time for my church as a pianist and worship leader and even trying to hold that together was strenuous. I began to feel like a failure all the time! I began to think to myself that if I couldn’t be the best at EVERYTHING, I was good at NOTHING! My heart was crying out for wisdom to learn how to manage motherhood, ministry, marriage and a job all at the same time. God answered my cry! He gave me the grace in that season. He started speaking to me through his word and through books that he put in my hand. One book that I still refer to, Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No, to Take Control of Your Life by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, I highly recommend.
The natural world reminds us that season changes are inevitable. Many times, in order to embrace a new season, we have to let go of the old season. This is one of the things God has taught me on my journey. Letting go allowed me to minister more fully to my family, and inadvertently enabled others to have a chance to grow in their particular gifts and ministries.
Although most seasons end gradually, sometimes because of tragic circumstances or hardship, a season can change very abruptly. Even when change comes as a surprise to us, the Lord said He foreknew us! The Lord knew the situations we would face. He knew that the seasons would change. But the Holy Spirit is our faithful Comforter, our Helper, and Standby in every season.
Maybe you feel like you are stuck in a season, or that you are on the shelf, or that the strenuous season you are in is lasting too long. Take the time to rest in the Lord. Just as orange trees do not struggle to produce oranges, but produce in their time, we do not have to fret in order to produce. His yoke is easy. His burden is light. We do not have to stress ourselves for God to accomplish His purpose in us during the season that we are in. Our times are in HIS hands. We are HIS workmanship being conformed into HIS image in every circumstance and in every season!! No matter what circumstances we face He is working to conform us into the image of Christ! It takes the pressure off to know that the seasons were HIS idea and that He uses them to teach us to trust Him and not to let our confidence be in our own abilities. Philippians 1:6 admonishes, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Notice that he did not say “I’m confident in your performance” or “I am confident in your career or in your abilities”. Rather, His confidence was in God’s ability to work in you and continue that work until we see Jesus face to face!
“For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren.” That means that in every season, regardless of outward circumstances, whether, I’m ministering to three people or five hundred, whether I live one place or another, GOD’s PURPOSE is to work in me His character and cause me to be conformed into HIS image. If we have entrusted our life to the Lordship of Christ then, we can trust that He is working in us to fulfill His purpose! And “When He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is!” 1 John 3:2
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