There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens… –Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV)
I love living in an area of the country where I get to experience the changing seasons. As a child, I favored late spring and summer. I loved the warmer temperatures and everything coming to life. I hated having to help plant the 1-acre garden we had, half with flowers and half with vegetables. To this day, I cannot get a single thing to grow. I think I am cursed for having been so rebellious when it came time to get the twine string and the seed packets. Nonetheless, it was kind of fun gathering all the fresh veggies throughout the summer. I also loved winter… the crunch of the snow beneath my boots, playing “house” and making dishes out of snow. I loved the crispness in the air and the freshness of the newly fallen snow covering the bare fields with a blanket of white and frosting the branches of the pine and oak trees with fluff. If the sky was blue and sun was shining, it made everything sparkle like diamonds; or if the moon was out, it illuminated everything with an ethereal glow. The world was peaceful, and my soul was peaceful right along with it. On the other hand, I absolutely hated autumn. Interestingly enough, I chose autumn to get married. I chose carrot cake for my wedding cake, and I hate carrot cake. (I thought it went nicely with the autumn theme, and the cream cheese frosting did kind of redeem it.) I’ve discovered something as I’ve grown older. Although I may not like a particular season, I am learning to appreciate each one for the uniqueness it brings to my life.
The yearly seasons remind me of seasons in my life, and how each one was there for a time to teach me something and to help me grow as a person. Each season had its good points and its not-so-good points, but each point had a purpose. My heavenly Father has taught me the same appreciation for each of the yearly seasons, and I now find beauty even in the fall. I see it as a time of rest, a time to be still, a time to let God rejuvenate the earth so it might burst forth with splendor again in the spring. It gives me hope that even when dying seasons come into my life, they are but for a moment; and they too shall pass. In late autumn and throughout the winter, it may appear on the surface that nothing is happening (and all is dead), but beneath the surface microorganisms such as archaea are busy readying the soil for plant nutrition in the spring. Fungal spores and mycorrhizae are preventing infestation of noxious fungi. I’ve come to realize my life is like that… at times it appears dead on the outside, and my heart feels hard and cold; but underneath, God is at work through His Holy Spirit preparing the soil of my soul to be fruitful once again.
When I was living in Massachusetts, I kept wanting to move back to the Midwest. I had three children under the age of 3-1/2 and no family nearby. I was overwhelmed and out of my element, but moving didn’t appear to be an option. Finally, when my youngest child turned 6 years old, I heard the LORD speak to my heart, “Lori, it’s okay now. It’s time to move.” I was at rock bottom; but within one month, the children and I were in the Midwest settled into a rented house a few blocks from a Lutheran school, and my husband joined us a few months later when our house in Massachusetts sold. Life continued with its hills and valleys, and I once again hit rock bottom.
I felt the LORD speaking to my heart, telling me the direction He would like me to go; but I kept rebelling. “That can’t be You, LORD. You wouldn’t want me to do that.” I was convinced I was hearing the wrong message. Yet, when I heard the message, I was at peace; when I ignored the message, I was in turmoil. I turned to testing God saying, “LORD, this is what I hear You saying, but it makes no sense. If that truly is the direction You want me to go, You are going to have to bring it about in a different way because I can’t follow through on what I think You are telling me to do.” The message hasn’t changed, and there have been no blatant earth-shattering occurrences that have brought things about in a different way, but God has shown me through the actions of others involved and the words of other people in my life that the time is now. You know the moment… that moment when everything comes crashing down… when you realize that you just can’t do it anymore… when you realize you can’t continue to live the lie you’ve been living? That’s where He brought me. A face-to-face impact with my Self, which showed me quite clearly that my vision of myself in no way matched what reality showed and the only way to see the truth was to face it head on.
A face-to-face encounter with Truth can be quite humbling. All pretenses are gone. You are stripped naked. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly are on display for all to see. We can ignore them for only so long before they rear their frightful heads. We may not like what we see, but with God’s grace we can hopefully acknowledge the fact that something needs to change, and that something just may be us.
For me, it means befriending Truth instead of running from it. It means acknowledging what is and working WITH God to show grace and mercy to others. It means accepting myself for who I am and putting Shame and Guilt in their graves. It means allowing God to thaw my heart so I can love again. It means venturing forth in faith off the precipice of fear. It means trusting God with my future. It means reawakening my sense of adventure. It is hearing God say, “Lori, it’s time.”
In His grace,
LORD, continue to guide me down the path You would have me follow. When I become paralyzed with fear, gently nudge me and whisper in my ear, “Child, it’s time.”