Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Seasons of Life

I've run into quite a few articles and book chapters lately about seasons in life. Just as the year has seasons, so do our lives. Right now, my season is mothering teens. I can well remember the season of my own teenage years, then my seasons of working, newly married, mother of small children, and mother of elementary-aged children. There are seasons within seasons; for example, we traveled for 2 1/2 years raising support to come to Canada and start a church. That was a season of my life - it only lasted a certain amount of time, and it's now over (hopefully not to be repeated in the near future!). Right now our season is pastoring a small church; a lot of the work falls to us. It's tiring and sometimes discouraging, but this is our season of life. We'll enter a new season eventually, and we'll look back on this one with fond memories of our little church.

Several years ago, I had a friend who would IM me occasionally. She lived far away from me; we didn't even live in the same country. About this time, we got a DSL internet connection for the first time. Once I turned on my computer, the connection stayed on until I turned the computer off at night. That's pretty common now, but back then, to my friend, it appeared that I was using my computer literally all day, because every time she logged on to her computer, my Instant Messsenger showed me as online. So this one day, she made the remark that she wished she had time to be on the computer all day! Whoa! I probably was on more than I should have been, but it was far from all day! As I related this to my husband, he mentioned something that I had not thought of: my friend and I were in different seasons of life! My children were all of school age, and although we homeschooled, they were in self-paced programs that allowed them to work without my constant supervision. My friend had 3 small children, all of preschool age. They needed her attention pretty constantly to teach them, train them, and supervise their play so that no one got hurt or got into something they shouldn't be in. So in reality, I did have more time to be online than she did.

I've not always enjoyed my seasons. I remember as a teenager, wanting to be finished with high school. When I was working, I wanted to be married. When I got married, I wanted a baby. And on it went. As I've grown older, I've seen just how quickly those seasons rush by, and I've learned to be more content in my current season. It's like enjoying summer instead of wishing for fall! I guess we humans are like that, but I don't think God is pleased with our discontent with the seasons He has brought us to. Remember how I wanted a baby? It took us 4 years to have oru first baby, then within another 4 years we had 2 more babies. When I found myself with 3 preschoolers, I was anxiously awaiting the day that all of them would be old enough to take care of themselves! Now how's that for dissatisfaction? I had begged God to let me be able to have children, then I wanted to rush through those early years so that I could have my freedom back - the very same freedom I had loathed just 4 years earlier! I don't think God was very pleased with me back then.

Let me encourage you to embrace whatever season you are in right now. Let go and just revel in it! You're newly married and want a baby? Enjoy the free time you have with your husband. You have 3 . . . 4 . . . 5 little ones who need you all the time? Play with those babies! Drink them in! Give yourself to them completely. You have teenagers? Enjoy these active years; get out and play with them, get to know their friends, fill your life with them. Do you have an empty nest? Make it a sweet nest for you and your husband! Act like newlyweds again. You have empty arms - no children, maybe no husband anymore, maybe still single after all your friends are married - God has a purpose for this season in your life. Find that purpose and embrace it. I know that may smart a bit coming from a woman with children and a husband, but I believe wholeheartedly that God knows where you are and that He is right there with you. My stepmother was widowed for 10 years before she met and married my dad. She didn't sit around waiting for life to happen. She mourned, yes; but she got up and made a life for herself and her two small children. She lived in her God-given season. I know a young woman who was suddenly widowed almost 2 years ago. She had a horrible time at first, but God has enabled her to pick up the pieces of her life and make a new life with her children. I know several single women in their 30's who are living full, active lives, serving the Lord with joy. I've also known a woman who had no children, and she was very bitter about it. She chose to have bitterness instead of living in the season that God had her in. My point is that we can choose to enjoy the season we are in, and I believe God is pleased when we choose to do so.

I have more to say on this, but I want to add some Bible examples, and that is going to take some time to put together. So I'll leave it at that for now. I'm not trying to be simplistic, and I'm not trying to be harsh on those who are not in a more enjoyable season of life. I want to be an encouragement to you if I can!

12 comments:

  1. Excellent, Susan! We all have those days that we feel discontented with our "season."

    I'm linking this post!

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  2. Susan,
    This is exactly what I needed to hear today. Thank you for being obedient and posting something that isn't so popular to hear sometimes!

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  3. Very good thoughts. I'm learning this in my own life right now.

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  4. Wow Susan! I'm so glad I read this, I found it very helpful. I can't wait to read the rest of it!

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  5. Discontent never solved a problem or made a person happy-just the opposite. Your message was soo good I felt maybe a comment by me was wrong.
    I love you for the knowledge you pass on.

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  6. Susan, what a wonderful, encouraging post!

    Janet

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  7. Tonja7:21 PM

    I really enjoyed this!!! I know what you mean about when you were young "wishing your life away". Now, I just like to live today!!! I'm always telling people now, Don't wish your life away!!! One day you'll look back and wonder where did it all go!!!
    Thanks!!!!!!

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  8. Wonderful....what a blessing. Thank you!!

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  9. Wow! This post really moved me, and boy did I feel like you were writing about me! Thank you so much Susan.

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  10. A really helpful post. It's so easy to be discontented!

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  11. Life does go by too fast. I am 25, married for 5 years and DH and I are working on a family.
    Lately I have been thinking about how much time has slipped away since graduating high school (class of 99). I have been in touch with many classmates from back then, most are married with children of their own and sometimes I just want to yell "that can't be, we are only 17", but then I see 7 years have passed already whereas I feel like I just graduated.
    The Bible talks about being content in whatever we are in and I am normally a content person but I do have my days where I wish I was back to normalcy in the U.S. (DH and I are stationed in Germany with the Army), but then I realize God has me here for a purpose and I quickly repent of my selfishness. Our livs go by quickly, we need to enjoy what we have right now and not worry about what lies ahead.

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  12. What a great post Susan! You spoke my heart exactly!!

    I am playing "catch-up" and reading the things you posted while we were on vacation. : )

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Thanks for taking a minute to read my ramblings and leave a comment! I appreciate it!

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