Tuesday, August 9, 2011

in every season...

When answering the question, “So how are you doing these days?”, conversation seems to eventually lead me to say, “It’s just been quite a season”. And I’ve noticed other people in my life saying these same words about their own lives – “it’s just a season”.

Of course Scripture tells us in Ecclesiastes 3 that there is a season for everything – to laugh, to mourn, to dance, to weep, to search, to give up, etc. But what I’m realizing is that usually when people (present company included) say, “it’s just a season”, that’s usually code for: “I don’t like how life looks right now, and I know that it won’t be like this forever, so I just have to get through this and hope that things will change.”

I write this post for those who find themselves in that place – discontent, frustrated with life, frustrated with God (or maybe outright angry with Him), impatient, fearful – or at the very least, anxious – about the future and the unknown. These are all places where I’ve found myself over the past few months. Everyone’s “seasons” are going to look a little different, but here’s, for example, what my season has been looking like:
  • God called me out of a job that I loved, that I was comfortable in, and in which I had developed innumerable deep relationships. But he called me out of it without giving me a clear picture of what was next. It was the whole Abraham “I’m-not-gonna-show-you-exactly-where-you’re-going-but-I’m-telling-you-to-move” call. This has proven to be really difficult.
  • Over the past few weeks, He has given me these small tastes of what He wants to use me for in the Kingdom and has shown me what makes me come alive, when He is most at work through me, but I haven’t really seen them come together or come to fruition yet. These “small tastes” have done nothing but intensify my desire to be able to spend my time and energy in them while also intensifying my discontent in doing anything less.
  • There is a heaviness in my heart for all the chapters in my life that are closing and the relationships that are forever changing as a result. I am so thankful that He has given me friendships that have turned into “family”, but many of those people are leaving as permanent fixtures in my life.
  • Various circumstances continue to remind me of unrealized desires in my own life as most of my friends are all married and now having children. I am becoming the only one in my “circle” not building a family, and the possibility of this dream never being realized is continually difficult for me to try and accept.
  • I have been blessed with a free home to live in and in all honesty, if I were to hand-pick a family to live with, I couldn’t find one more wonderful than this family. But to be in my late 20’s living in someone else’s home with most of my belongings in storage is another thing that feeds into this dissatisfaction / unsettled feeling during this season.
As I was reflecting on all of these things yesterday, I realized that the common denominator is that my life is just one massive question mark. Nothing is sure. Nothing is settled. Nothing is certain. There are fears and anxieties about the future and the unknown.

This was when God gave me a powerful reminder that it is in this place that I have no choice but to rest in those things that I KNOW are true and are constant: that God is faithful. God is good. God is at work. He will never leave me. He will never forsake me. He will finish the work He has started in me. He has not forgotten me. He is always out for my good. With ever-changing circumstances all around me, with all of the unknowns and all of the questions, I can know that He is still God. He is still on the throne. As one of my favorite songs says:

All of my life
In every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship.

I am thankful that in an ocean full of questions and unknowns, there is a rock on which to stand. And at the end of the day, this is all I can rest in. This is what allows me to stand in this season. I have to pray daily for the grace to rest in what I know that I know that I KNOW is true.

God brought back to mind a lesson that he taught me on a trail back in Febuary of this year. I didn’t even realize at the time how desperately I was going to need to understand this lesson over the coming months.

I was walking on a trail at Tims Ford State Park. The first half of the trail was paved and close to the main park road. The second half of the trail, though, was not paved and went down into the forest of trees. There was NO ONE out there.

There were these moments while walking when I would look down ahead of me and couldn’t see a path at all. I would start to worry that once I got up to that point, the trail would just stop and I would have no idea where to go and would be lost in the middle of the woods. It happened a few times. I would look ahead, not see a trail, and start to freak out a little bit inside. But it never failed…once I got up to that part that I was so worried about, there would be a path – it’s just that I couldn’t see it earlier from my vantage point.

Eventually, every time I would look too far ahead and start getting worried, I would literally have to tell myself, “Melanie, stop worrying. There will be a path.” And then I realized that if I would just stop trying to look so far ahead, I wouldn’t even be tempted to worry! So I had to start telling myself, “Just focus on the next step or two ahead of you, enjoy the scenery around you, and there will be a path.”

So God has again brought me back to that place and reminded me to stop trying to look so far down the path, because from my vantage point, I can’t see the whole thing. It’s ridiculous to try to lean on my own, limited understanding. I just need to focus on the step or two in front of me and enjoy the scenery, enjoy the journey, enjoy HIM, and trust that He will make my path straight. And I’m trusting in something much more reliable than a trail in a park; I’m trusting in the Almighty, ever-faithful God.

These are the things that are helping me survive “the season”. And I pray that they might be an encouragement to those of you who find yourself in a season as well. When life is not what you want it to be, is full of questions, or is full of fear, you have to stand on what you know that you know that you know. Trust in He who is same yesterday, today, and forever.


ewall said...

You are an encouragement Mel! Thanks for sharing so openly! Peace and love to you in abundance--

jozanna said...

I needed to read that! Thanks Melanie :)