This post is shared with permission from Mary Rabe at Raphah Mama. It was originally published on her personal blog, but we wanted to share it with the readers here at Raising Rices as well. Enjoy!
Something God has been spending a lot of time teaching me lately is about dealing with different “seasons” in life. Sometimes we are in a time of hopefulness and new beginnings, planting dreams and watching them start to sprout to life, like in springtime. Other times life is as carefree and happy as summer, filled with happy memories and sweet moments, drifting along in a relaxed and peaceful way. Sometimes we are in a time of hard work and transition, vacillating between enjoying the harvest of our efforts and grieving the endings of things, as we do in autumn. And sometimes, we hit an emotional “winter” in life and deal with intense storms, darker days, or a “coldness” in our spirits. No matter what season we are in though, God has gifts, lessons, and purpose in each one. Here are some of the things He is teaching me.
1. Change Your Perspective
It is all too easy in difficult phases of life to shut down, “hole up”, or just grit our teeth and muscle through. All of these responses have the potential to keep us from seeing all that God has for us in each season, though. As hard as it is, we can choose instead to live purposefully in each season, to avoid the very real temptation to escape or just survive, and put forth the effort to see what God has for us.
A few weeks ago one of my littlest buddies set a powerful example of this for me. Every once in a while I get to take one of my close friends’ adorable daughters on a “date” with me to my dance class, and on this evening I had her 7-year-old with me. We were riding in the car together, discussing everything from Baby Alive dolls to the weather, and were just enjoying the company and conversation. Eventually we started talking about summertime, and about how much we were looking forward to sunshine and getting to go swimming and enjoy warm weather again. “I do love sunshine,” she said happily. Then, after a brief pause, she added, “But I also love the rain. Cuz then we can splash in the puddles and have hot chocolate!” I felt a gentle prodding in my spirit from my Heavenly Father. “Did you hear that? Did you notice that perspective?” This precious girl had found a gift in something that most people here in the Pacific Northwest barely tolerate at best, and usually have become quite fed up with by this time in the year.
I smiled at my little friend and commented, “I love your positive attitude! It’s so good that you are able to look and see something good, when a lot of other people just complain. But there are good things in every season, right?” She enthusiastically jumped on board, “Oh yes!! Like in the winter we get to play in the snow and go sledding, and then have hot cocoa!” (I think she really likes hot chocolate.) She got quiet for a second and then said, “We could whine about having to wear puffy coats in the winter. Or getting wet in the rain.”
“Yeah, we have to choose to either see the good stuff or the yucky stuff, huh?”
“Yeah. I like the good stuff, though.”
And we spent the rest of the drive talking about the best parts of every season, and what gifts God has in each one.
Like my wise little friend did that night on our car ride, we need to change our perspective so we aren’t focused only on the difficulties in each season of life.
2. Savor the Unique Blessings
I am a total “snow grinch”; I really, really don’t like it when it snows. It makes me anxious to be stuck at home, dressing my kids in their snow gear, and dealing with cold and wet and inevitable sickness that comes for weeks after the snow is gone. However, the weather where I am has called for a lot of snow lately, more than we usually get, so I have to make a choice: will I hole up inside, muttering and grumbling about how much I hate the snow until spring finally shows up? Or, will I be purposeful and try to find whatever good things I can in this season? On our last snow day, I decided to try to make a bucket list of things I wanted to do when it snows, things that we could only do in snowy weather, so that it was special and unique to this season. Just like that, we can make our own “bucket lists” of things we want to do in each of life’s unique seasons.
Right now part of my season in life is preparing to say goodbye to one of my close friends as she moves forward in God’s calling on her life. My “bucket list” is full of things related to that–savoring each moment I get with her, doing all that I can to support her and help her prepare for her big adventure, and finding ways to help myself and others in our group deal with the grief of this transition. The circumstances are not my favorite; in fact, they are sometimes agonizing. However, knowing I am doing all I can to find gifts and blessings in this time has made it so much richer and more meaningful, and I know it will not be “wasted”.
We can do this no matter what our circumstances in life are. Are you in a season of isolation, unable to leave the house to be with others? Maybe a bucket list item could be to maximize the extra alone time to work on a project or hobby that doesn’t lend itself well to lots of people being around, or to focus your efforts on projects around the house. Or maybe you have the opposite situation, and you find yourself stuck in your car a lot, in a season of driving all-the-people all-the-places all-the-time? Find yourself an awesome worship playlist, podcast, or audiobook and turn those hours of driving into something sweet and “filling-up”. It isn’t always easy to find the unique goodness that different seasons hold, but if you really pause to look for it, I promise you will always find it. Our God is so, so good, and that doesn’t change just because our circumstances do.
3. Remember There is A Reason for Every Season
God uses every stage of our lives to develop us into who He wants us to be. He uses the good times to show us His love, cause us to praise Him, and sometimes to test us and see if we will still rely on Him when things are going well. And He uses hard times to grow character in us, strengthen our faith, and forge stronger bonds with Him and others. Those are just a few examples; there are so many other lessons, growth, and outcomes that God gives us whether things are going well or are so hard we struggle to even get out of bed.
Sometimes I believe God even uses seasons as a source of protection and preparation. I had breakfast with a friend a few weeks back and she mentioned something that really struck me. It was just after I had written the post on “blooming where you are planted“, so the idea of plants and gardening was still fresh in my mind. My friend’s husband works for a nursery, and she mentioned off-hand that they were worried about the weather turning warm too early. To combat this, they were placing the plants into a chilled, dark storage unit so that they wouldn’t bloom early and end up being killed by the next frost. This hits home for me because the “winter” season I am in has felt so long and so hard, and I am longing for spring (both literally and figuratively). My friend’s comment reminded me, though, that my Gardener knows what He is doing. He is keeping me in a dark, cold season for a purpose. If things get better too quickly, it won’t prepare me for the next “frost” that could come around. Maybe the season you are in is doing the same for you, preparing you for what is coming up next, and protecting you from premature “blooming”? God never wastes a season. He has a purpose, plan, and perfect outcome for every single one.
God tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:1 that, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” God brings us into different seasons of life for a reason, and He has unique lessons, blessings, and growth for each one. There are some seasons we will enjoy and savor and wish would never end…and there are some that we aren’t sure we will even survive. We need to remember, though, that God uses every single one in specific ways, and each one provides us with things we cannot receive any other way. I hope you will each join me in trusting our loving Heavenly Father and looking to Him as we walk through each season, whether that means trekking through the trials and pain of winter, or dancing through the glorious hope and joy of spring.
Mary Rabe is a stay-at-home mama of 3 kiddos that she enjoys the privilege and blessing to homeschool. She is right in the thick of the “little years” with all her kiddos 7 and under, so it is a busy season, for sure, but also so much fun! She and her husband Jed have been married for 10 years and have loved to have had the chance to “grow up” together after marrying young. Mary says, “I am a recovering perfectionist learning how to let go of control and just trust my amazing Heavenly Father to take care of things for me (which is why I chose the word “raphah” for my blog, the Hebrew word for “let go”). I am still learning and growing a lot, just a young mama being refined and matured in this grand adventure of life, but I pray that what I write will bless, encourage, and inspire each of you in your unique journeys.”
You can visit Mary’s blog at https://raphahmama.blogspot.com/.