The first six months of this year were filled with different experiences for me:
My son got engaged and we couldn’t have been more happy, then a dear friend died and I attended his Thanksgiving Service and then I was unwell, only a heavy cold but it knocked me for six, then we had builders working on our home for ten weeks, we had a holiday in France where a relative broke his arm necessitating a trip to a French A & E, I’ve marked exam papers and finally arrived at a more settled period before preparing for a foreign student coming to stay with us. I’ve been reflecting that life is made up of all sorts of different seasons – it’s not just a straight-line experience of moderate happiness but actually life is made up of highs and lows and everything inbetween.
So often we think that our lives should be happy or easy, certainly not difficult and painful, but the truth is that life is made up of many challenges. It is through those challenges that we put our faith to the test and we have to find God in the everyday, sometimes even moment by moment.
As I analysed this year’s events I thought about my son’s engagement. It was absolutely joyful for us as parents, in fact the joy I felt was beyond what I had anticipated. I already knew that he was going to ask his girlfriend to marry him but when it actually happened it was so joyful and that was wonderful. But soon afterwards there were the thoughts of: Where will they live?, When will the wedding be? Will the wedding plans come together?, Will my son be able to get a job after his internship? How will they cope financially? These concerns are probably typical of most mothers but it is so important that we don’t lose our joy through fear or anxiety. We should allow ourselves to experience joy to the full when it comes.
Then there was the news that my friend had died. He was such a life-and-soul-of-the-party kind of guy, somebody who had been a friend particularly in my early adult years. He and his wife had been full of fun. I had known that he was unwell and then sadly I heard that he had died. The Thanksgiving Service was such a celebration of him, full of the gospel, full of who he was – quirky and funny, it was a special moment to mark such a great life. But of course I was not a close family member, I was not one of those having to walk through bereavement but I know that we all face bereavements especially as we get older. We begin to go to more funerals than we do weddings. It’s just another season.
Seasons are good for us. Seasons bring forth life. Here in the Uk the seasons are clearly different. We have periods of dormancy when nothing is happening above ground but actually it is a time when plants are storing energy for the growth that’s to come. When Spring comes they need all that energy to be put into the growing process. In our lives when we are in those kind of seasons we can feel that nothing is happening or life is isn’t going anywhere but actually these are times when we can dig deep into the resources of God and feed on his word so that we have enough to keep us going for when we we are in the growing season and feel stretched.
Then the Summer comes and there is heat and although we associate Summer and the sun with freedom, yes there can be times of great freedom and joy, but the heat can also be a time of intense pressure. I know that was what it felt like when I had breast cancer and at the same time my husband’s job was very uncertain, it was a time of intense pressure. It is at those times too when we are drawing on all that we have stored up during earlier seasons. Then Autumn comes again , things begin to die and we see the season is changing.
Sometimes we notice those things in our own lives, particularly as we grow older, or move into different phases. It is a different season now and we can worry about all that it will bring, we can be sad about what is gone, or we can embrace all that God will bring in the new season.
In difficult seasons it is tempting to get into magical thinking – if only this season were over, then I would be ok but we are in danger of missing out on what God has for us now in this very season. (I’ve written about the antidote to magical thinking here)
I want to encourage you that whatever season you are in whether it is a good season or a difficult season, whether you are young or old, that there will be many more different seasons to come and each one is a place of God’s goodness, a place where we can find him to be faithful and we can hold on to Him because He is good and He will never leave or forsake us. Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall ….. all you have to do is call – on Him.
“The Lord is near to all who call upon Him “ (Ps. 145a)
Seasons and Statue pixabay
The other photos are my own and may not be used without permission