Exactly 1 year ago TODAY….. I posted my very first blog entry! It was one that was really close to my heart and probably the most real thing I’ve ever written in my life. Therefore, I feel like God really worked through it and blessed me – AND others – through it. Well, THIS – which I guess you could call my “anniversary post,” (which is funny, because mine and Danny’s wedding anniversary is actually tomorrow) – is also incredibly close to my heart, and has actually been on my heart for quite some time…..
I actually started working on THIS painting of trees in different seasons over a year ago (at a Paint Nite), but only just finished it during the March Break THIS year – and it got me thinking about not only the seasons of the year, but seasons of life. It ended up just really stirring something in my heart, resulting in God planting this idea for a blog about “seasons.” And I know for me, with my writing, a lot of times God will plant this seed and it just kind of seems to stay in the ground for a while – and although I might not see any growth with regards to it, I know that God is quietly at work on it.
SO….. With that being said, I was praying for something to sprout from this seed – and THEN, at the beginning of April, my friend, Ryan Brink (who actually created THIS website for me), shared this song on here by Hillsong (that I had never heard before), entitled “Seasons” and God just SO spoke to me through it! It was just totally what I needed to get this blog post going. However, as often happens with my writing, I was on a roll – and then….. I wasn’t. I had written a good couple pages on it and it was really coming together, but there was just something missing. So, I decided to take a break from it for a bit and just kept praying that God would give me the missing piece of the puzzle to this post. And THEN….. I went to church this past Sunday and the message was: “Expecting In Every Season” (preached by none other than Ryan Brink). Needless to say, God gave me exactly what I needed – not just to finish my post, but to begin to understand THIS particular season of life.
SO….. Whatever season of life YOU are in TODAY, I hope God will use THIS to speak to YOUR heart and encourage YOU the way He did Me while I was working on it…..
I don’t know about you, but I so love the different seasons of the year. My husband and I actually have this spot where we always take pictures together – in this park, by a cannon – and we now have a picture of us there in every season of the year, which I just think is really cool, and I feel like that is actually where my love of seasons came from. I just so appreciate the variety that each one brings (which looks especially cool when you have pictures of you in the same spot in each season). Even more than that, though, I appreciate the consistency that comes with them. You always know what each year is going to bring: Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall (in THAT specific order), it’s just a matter of when – especially here in Canada. However, the seasons of life are a little (or a lot) different…..
Just over a year ago, I was in a very different season of life. It may have been Winter outside, but it was certainly Spring in my heart. So many beautiful possibilities were blooming. I was pregnant for the very first time and as you might guess, my husband and I couldn’t be more excited.
However, in what seemed the blink of an eye, that season quickly changed, as we found out about my miscarriage.
Isn’t it interesting how some seasons seem to be so short-lived
while others just appear to drag on and on – or even continue to relapse?
For instance, the recent weather here in Canada – just when we thought Spring was on its way, we got a snowstorm in April! Isn’t life often like that too? Just when there’s a ray of hope, winter rears its ugly head – sometimes again and again. Well, that’s what it’s felt like for me. It’s felt like perpetual Winter for the past year – and every time there is a glimmer of sunshine, it is quickly followed by a snowstorm. The irony of it is that (literal) Winter has always been my favorite season. Mostly because I just love snow. You could say I was like Elsa (you know, from “Frozen” – minus the cool powers) – “The cold never bothered me, anyway.” However, I would be lying if I said that this (metaphorical) Winter hasn’t gotten to me and my heart, at this point, though.
I think the hardest part of it all, though, is knowing that being a mom – and Danny and I being parents – is part of God’s plan, because, I mean, when you know that that’s what God wants you to do, it’s so hard to try and fathom why something like this would happen. Honestly, it feels like a cruel joke sometimes – because pretty much everything I do revolves around kids. I mean, I work at an elementary school, do Kids Church – not to mention the fact that I just published a children’s book. Plus, I’m good with kids and I just absolutely love working with them. I’d be lying if I said the irony didn’t hurt my heart a little bit (or a lot).
“Though the winter is long, even richer
The harvest it brings
Though my waiting prolongs, even greater
Your promise for me, like a seed
I believe that my season will come
God, You’re not done…..”
It’s hard to understand why things like this happen when God’s purpose for you is clear. However, another thing that is clear is the devil’s intention to thwart that clarity. You see, the chances are, the thing you love to do most (and that God has gifted you with), is the thing that the devil is going to attack and discourage the most. And if I’m speaking in all honesty right now, he has certainly done that – and is still doing it.
I feel SO unbelievably scared to even try to become pregnant again at this point, because I just SO don’t want the same thing to happen. As my husband always reminds me: we made it through last time. But seriously, just because you’ve been through something terrible – and know that you can survive it, with God by your side – doesn’t mean you want to go through it again. Am I right?
“Like the frost on a rose
Winter comes for us all
Oh how nature acquaints us
With the nature of patience
Like a seed in the snow
I’ve been buried to grow
For Your promise is loyal
From seed to sequoia”
Random – not really, though – but stay with me here….. Did you know that the giant sequoia is the world’s most massive tree, and arguably the largest living organism on Earth? Did you also know that the sequoia seed actually needs the harshness of Winter in order to flourish. How cool is that?
I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately and how that’s a lot like people. We grow the most during the most treacherous seasons in our lives. I don’t know about you, but looking back on all of the really difficult things I’ve been through – this year being the zenith – it was during those times that God showed me a strength that I didn’t know I had, because it was in those times that I had to lean on and trust in Him like never before.
“But this I do know: There is a depth of intimacy with God
that can only be known through suffering. There is a reliance on
Him that can only be experienced when everything else around my
soul seems to give way. And if that’s what it takes to make this stubborn child
cling to that old rugged cross, you can have your prosperity. I’d rather have Jesus.”
~ Laura Story
“‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s
power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults,
in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
~ 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there
was in me an invincible summer.”
~ Albert Camus
Honestly, I’ve been asking God a lot lately: “Why am I here? What is the point of THIS season in my life? It just seems so fruitless.” I’ve just been thinking that this is an empty season, hopefully on the way to a better, more prosperous one. And then, the message at church on Sunday was about “Expecting in Every Season” and it was said that “God is using THIS season to give you the nutrients – and roots – you will depend on in your NEXT season.” Needless to say, my mind was blown – and God showed me that I couldn’t have been more wrong! Because, even when it seems like there’s no growth, God is always doing something “behind-the-scenes” – underground, where that little seed is that you may have forgotten about, so you stopped watering it – but He didn’t.
“God grows fragrant flowers of hope in the ashes of loss.”
~ Karen Kingsbury
Another important thing to remember is that our perception of our season is always different than our perception of someone else’s season. And one thing I’ve been guilty of a lot this past year is comparing my season with those around me – and as you may know, that’s always a dangerous game. Therefore, in doing so, I have been planting this idea in my head that MY season is insignificant – just because it seems to be SO different from everyone else’s around me. I just keep thinking: “Why does everyone else get a baby and I don’t?” And by that I don’t mean that I want a baby just because it seems like everyone else is having them (anyone who knows me knows that I’m not like that). It’s just hard to see everyone else around you living the season that you’re so desperately dreaming to be in at this particular time. What I’m beginning to realize, though, is that no one else has MY season. God made it specifically for ME. Just like God made YOUR season specifically for YOU.
However, sometimes we keep ourselves where we’re not supposed to be – because, out of fear, we are tempted to stay where it’s comfortable. It might be painful there, but at least our pain is familiar. Therefore, you really have to ask yourself sometimes: “Is God keeping me in this season OR am I keeping myself here?” After Sunday, I’ve definitely been asking myself that question – and in all honesty, I’m a little afraid of the answer…..
“Lord I think of Your love
Like the low winter sun
As I gaze I am blinded
In the light of Your brightness
Like a fire to the snow
I’m renewed in Your warmth
Melt the ice of this wild soul
Till the barren is beautiful…..
You can see my promise
Even in the winter
Cause You’re the God of greatness
Even in a manger
For all I know of seasons
Is that You take Your time…..”
Honestly….. It’s the waiting that scares me – because what if you’re waiting for something that will never come? That’s the thing with God, though, when He wants something to happen – when it’s in His plan – it WILL happen. It just may happen differently than you expect.
The thing is, I’m holding on to a vision and promise from God right now – a seed that He planted in my heart. I know that we’re going to have the family that we want – and that God wants us to have – someday. It’s just going to take longer than we expected. Isn’t that how it often (okay, pretty much always) works with God, though? Some say that He runs on His own timetable. I like to say that He is in a completely different time zone – when really, the fact of the matter is….. God is actually outside of time. That’s why God’s “little while” is so different than ours – and why we need to trust Him, because it’s that trust, that growing faith, that causes our relationship with Him to grow. I know that’s what it’s done for me. The fact is, we don’t like the waiting part, but that’s when our faith grows the most.
That’s why God is all about the journey – because THAT is when we learn to trust Him. Sometimes we think the answer to prayer is the point – but what if the journey is the point, so you make it all the way? Therefore, enjoy the journey, because God is in the journey, not just the destination. Sometimes praying for the things that we want becomes a distraction – we get so focussed on the answer that we don’t give God time to do what He needs to do. We need to learn to trust God – even in the dark, when we can’t see and don’t know what’s going on. We have to learn to say: “I don’t see it, I don’t understand it, but I’m trusting You.” Because, you know what? Whatever we ask God for, the answer is always bigger than we think – it’s always more. We would settle for what we ask for, but God wants to give us more – because when God is at work, it’s greater than we could ever dream of. He doesn’t want to just give us a little “Charlie Brown Christmas Tree” – even though that is the cutest little tree ever – He wants to give us a sequoia. And you know what? That just means that it will be so worth the wait and even more appreciated when it does come. So, I don’t know about you, but I want the biggest and best tree from God – even if it takes more time for it to grow…..
“I can see the promise
I can see the future
You’re the God of seasons
I’m just in the winter
If all I know of harvest
Is that it’s worth my patience
Then if You’re not done working
God I’m not done waiting…..”
Therefore, I’m believing that my promise from God will be fulfilled. It’s just the route He’s taking to get me there, I’m not so sure of yet. However, I’m now realizing that what I thought was the destination is really just part of the journey – and just the beginning of it, really. Because, you see, our “FINALLY” is His “I’m just getting started!”
“And when I finally see my tree
Still I believe there’s a season to come…..”
“You were there in the valley of shadows
You were there in the depth of my sorrows
You’re my strength, my hope for tomorrow
I’ve been blessed beyond all measure
I am counting every blessing, counting every blessing
Letting go and trusting when I cannot see
I am counting every blessing, counting every blessing
Surely every season you are good to me…..”
~ “Counting Every Blessing” (Rend Collective)