For Every Season

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.

1.

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/.

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Daily Prayer – February 14th

February 14th – You are Family

February is a time where we think about Valentine’s Day and love. But, more important during this month I am making it a goal to focus on our Identity in Christ. This is a great time to personal refocus as well as teach our kiddos the power of who we are in Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 2:19 ,says,

19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizenswith God’s people and also members of his household,

We are all part of the household of GOD! When we are feeling lonely, or without a love one; God says, “YOU ARE PART OF MY FAMILY!”

Dear Lord, 

Thank you for choosing me to be part of your family! Thank you that I BELONG!!  I am not alone, lonely, or without family because I am a CHILD of GOD! I am loved beyond earthly comparison! I am YOURS!

AMEN!

Daily Prayer – February 13th

February 13th – You are Lovely

February is a time where we think about Valentine’s Day and love. But, more important during this month I am making it a goal to focus on our Identity in Christ. This is a great time to personal refocus as well as teach our kiddos the power of who we are in Jesus Christ.

Daniel 12:3 says,

Those who are wise[a] will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.

You are as lovely as the stars! Seriously, I love being out in nature, away from the city lights and look up at the stars. It is a breathtaking experience, they are so lovely! We who are wise in truth and grace will shine like the brightness of the heavens. Being lovely comes from not only God’s desire for us but also from His purpose carried out by us!

Dear Father, 

Thank you for the passion and plan you have for my life! Thank you that I am considered lovely in your eyes. But even more so I praise you for your promises and purpose for me to carry out! When I look up at the stars and reflect on their loveliness I will be inspired all the more to use the wisdom to share with others!

AMEN!

“Me Too”

Me Too.jpgThis 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!

If you spend any amount of time on social media these days, you are bound to run into something having to do with being vulnerable, open, or real. In our culture today there is almost a “vulnerability movement” of sorts, with people all over urging us to be “real” and “honest”, sharing our true feelings and beliefs in courage and strength, and not being afraid to let others see our “true colors”. While I completely agree with the idea that we should be ourselves, I think that we can take this too far and turn “being vulnerable” into some kind of show all about us. 
The definition of vulnerability is “susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm”. It is weakness, while the messages of our culture relating to “being real” stem more from a desire to be “strong enough to be vulnerable”.
 If we use openness to try to earn acceptance from others, to attempt deeper connections solely with other people and not God, to point to ourselves in any way, or to simply follow the cultural pressure to “be real”, we are completely missing the point. Kelsiklembara at Relevant Life Magazine’s website said it well in the article “The Part of Vulnerability No One Talks About”:

“…the ability to become vulnerable flows from our assurance in Christ, not our assurance in Instagram likes or comments. When we choose to look for our worth and value in baring our hearts (in both good and bad situations!), we lose sight of both Christ and the good that can come from vulnerability… Making vulnerability a cultural “have-to” ironically turns it from something that points us to Christ in our deficiencies and instead keeps us in the dangerous cycle of trying to prove our own strength. When we put our hope in our actions rather than in Christ, you better bet that sooner or later we’ll find our eyes glued to ourselves without any ability to look outward toward Christ or to others. Because Christ was perfectly vulnerable for you and for me, we are free to openly express our feelings, without feeling the pressure that we have to.”(https://relevantmagazine.com/article/the-power-and-danger-of-vulnerability-no-one-talks-about/)

With that said, I think there is a way to be genuine and open with others in a way that honors God and blesses others. This kind of vulnerability isn’t ultimately about us at all, but is another way to showcase God’s work and grace in our lives. Here are some things God is teaching me about “God-centered vulnerability”.

1. Why Be Vulnerable? 


Why should being open and vulnerable even be something we consider? I think there are multiple reasons, but one main one is that being vulnerable with the right people can protect us from Satan’s attacks. When we try to hide away our struggles–believing we are alone in them, that no one would understand, or that we need to “keep it together” in order to help others–we isolate ourselves and give Satan the perfect opportunity to attack. Remember, Satan is like a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8). Anyone who has seen Animal Planet knows that lions and other predators single out prey that is weak, sick, or alone; and the Enemy of our Souls is no different. Satan wants us to think that we are the only ones who struggle with (fill in the blank) so that we clam up and try to hide the truth from others. Shame is one of his biggest calling cards, and if we fall prey to it we open ourselves up to a whole lot of hurt. By confessing our struggles with the right people (more on that later), we also invite them to fight with us and to remind us of God’s Truth, and Satan isn’t able to take us down as easily. 

2. Know Your Real Value. 

The first step in even being capable of real vulnerability is being firmly set in your true, unchanging value. I think a fairly common struggle that I also have to fight against is wanting people to like us–all the people. Call it people-pleasing, codependency, or plain old “fear of man”; it has been a problem for me for as long as I can remember, and I know is something that many others deal with. The fact is, though, we can’t be liked by everyone.  We can’t expect everyone to enjoy the “flavor” of personality that God has given us. So, placing any sense of our personal value in the hands of sinful, fallible people is a guaranteed loss. We need to base our value on what God says, because His view of us never changes.

  • He created you, on purpose, exactly how you are, for a reason. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” (Psalm 139:14)
  • He loved you enough to send His Son to save you (even when you were at your very worst). but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
  • He has a purpose for you that only you can carry out, and that He created you specifically for. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10) 

We need to let these truths sink deep into our hearts, dwell on them, pray about them, and believe them! Only then will we be able to have the courage to risk being vulnerable with others, because we will remember that even if people reject or dislike what they see, our God-given value isn’t changed one little bit. 

3. Remember Perfection is Not a Thing.

“To err is human” or so the saying goes. So why do we all work so hard to try to appear perfect? Imperfection and struggle is just part of being a fallen human; as much as I strive to live out all the things I long to be, it just isn’t possible to do that all the time. Even the Apostle Paul confessed to struggling with this: “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7:15) Nobody gets everything right all the time. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) And yet still, there are so many times I find that I am comparing myself to others. “Wow. I can’t believe he doesn’t struggle with that like I do. I wish I was more like him.” “She has so much wisdom. Why can’t I just think like she does?” Most of my comparisons end up elevating others above myself, but there are times I am ashamed to find that I think I am better than someone else. You know what, though? God sees every single believer exactly the same–redeemed sinners, forgiven and covered by His Son’s blood. Not one of my precious brothers and sisters in Christ are better or worse than me. We all have the same value, the same redemption, and the same ultimate end-goal of being more like Jesus. We have different strengths and weaknesses, but none of us is closer to perfection than anyone else. Only God Himself is perfect, and none of us will attain that until we join Him in Heaven. Just remembering that is encouragement to be more open with the other imperfect people around me.

4. Being Open Often Helps Others.

There have been a handful of times in my life that someone has opened up and shared with me in a very vulnerable way, and I am always blown away by how that blesses and helps me. I have never once felt less regard, respect, or affection for someone I love who has “let their walls fall down” for the moment and allowed me a glimpse of the real person inside. It’s pretty silly, then, for me to fear that my close relationships would do any differently to me. Sure, it could happen; being vulnerable carries a risk of heartbreak because we live in a fallen world with imperfect people (remember the point above?) I think the general, overriding truth, though, is that people are helped and honored when we open up to them. In my own life, I have been healed from deep hurt, set free from Satan’s lies, inspired to keep going in a tough situation, drawn closer to God, and been blessed with closer fellowship with others all because someone was willing to be genuine and real. Why would I want to hinder others from experiencing that by refusing to be vulnerable with them?

5. We Need to Have Wisdom in How Open to Be, and With Whom.

Now. With all of this said, there is still a balance to be had. We don’t want to be people who go around spilling our deepest heart secrets to every stranger we bump into, or to those we don’t know very well (and who don’t really know us). There are several reasons for this. First, it takes a relationship to be able to accept vulnerability. Beyond us needing to feel safe with people we are close to in order to share openly, even the receiver of vulnerability needs to have at least some level of relationship with us in order to feel comfortable to hear our hearts. Sharing intense openness with someone who doesn’t know you well will often just make them feel uncomfortable. It’s wise to take time to build a relationship with someone before you pour out your soul to them.
Next, people who don’t know us well won’t be able to speak into our lives and receive our vulnerability like those that know us well would. 
They won’t appreciate it in the same way, and likely won’t be as impacted by it since they don’t have the same knowledge of who we are as our closer relationships do.

Finally, we need to remember that vulnerability is being willingly weak with others, and it requires discernment and wisdom to decide if the people we are sharing with are trustworthy and capable of handling our openness with discretion, grace, and Christlike love. We aren’t required to share everything with everybody, nor should we. There is a difference between being open in a God-honoring way and being careless with the deep things of our hearts. 

Ultimately, we want our vulnerability to draw us and others closer to God. This is something that Steven Lee at Desiring God calls “Redemptive Vulnerability”:

“To be vulnerable is to be susceptible to being wounded or hurt. In the context of community, vulnerability is opening up about one’s humanity. It’s to admit that we are not perfect people. We have not arrived. We are broken, unfinished people who live in a world that itself is broken because of the fall. We experience depression, burn out, cancer, sadness, death, grief, disability, disease, relational strife, loneliness, lust, anxiety, and the list goes on. But our story doesn’t need to end with brokenness. Redemptive vulnerability — a vulnerability that leads to life — is where we share our brokenness in order to display the surpassing power and sufficiency of Christ and the gospel, which transforms us increasingly into the likeness of Christ. Vulnerability is not an end in itself. Rather, our vulnerability should point us, individually and together with other believers, to the sufficiency of Jesus. It looks at and hopes in the redemption we have in Christ Jesus and the work of the cross.”(https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/give-your-weakness-to-god)

Like everything else in our lives, we can use vulnerability to showcase God’s grace and work in our lives, and fulfill the call to always and continually point to Him. With that in mind, I hope you’ll join me in God-Centered vulnerability, being genuine and open with trustworthy people in order to point them to God (and be pointed to Him yourself).

 

1..jpgMary 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/.

Daily Prayer – February 12th

February 12th – You are Empowered

February is a time where we think about Valentine’s Day and love. But, more important during this month I am making it a goal to focus on our Identity in Christ. This is a great time to personal refocus as well as teach our kiddos the power of who we are in Jesus Christ.

Philippians 4:13 says,

13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

I remember reciting this verse over and over in my head while in labor with my last sweetie. The power of this verse came into play when I would embrace that where I am weak HE IS STRONG! God is strong! And empowers us through His provisions to do His will! We are Empowered as stewards of His plan!

Dear Lord, 

You are the ultimate giver! In fact you give to me Your strength when I am weak! I can do all things in Your will THROUGH You! Thank you for using me in your purpose and plans!

AMEN!

Daily Prayer – February 11th

February 11th – You are Protected

February is a time where we think about Valentine’s Day and love. But, more important during this month I am making it a goal to focus on our Identity in Christ. This is a great time to personal refocus as well as teach our kiddos the power of who we are in Jesus Christ.

Psalm 121:3 says,

He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;

God the creator of all, who has a plan for each of our lives, is also watching out for us, protecting us in His Power and Will. Does that mean hardship will not come? OF course NOT! But He has the plan that we might not see or understand, a plan only a Good Father would have, a plan that promises us Hope!

Dear Lord, 

Thank you for the protection you give me! I am protected by the creator of all! I thank you for your provisions for myself, and my family! And I surrender to your plan and purpose for my life!

AMEN!

Daily Prayer – February 10th

February 10th – You are a New Creation

February is a time where we think about Valentine’s Day and love. But, more important during this month I am making it a goal to focus on our Identity in Christ. This is a great time to personal refocus as well as teach our kiddos the power of who we are in Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:17 says,

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:a] The old has gone, the new is here!

I am a new creation in Jesus Christ! I have shelled off my old self and have stepped into the light of the Glory of God!

Dear Lord, 

Just as a butterfly becomes a new creation, I too am excited for the new creation you have made out of me. I am born again to a beautiful family with you Father God. The old is gone, and the new is here! Let me live in the new with grace and mercy, while sharing the hope with others!

AMEN!

Daily Prayer – February 9th

February 9th – You are Forgiven

February is a time where we think about Valentine’s Day and love. But, more important during this month I am making it a goal to focus on our Identity in Christ. This is a great time to personal refocus as well as teach our kiddos the power of who we are in Jesus Christ.

Psalm 103:12 says,

as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

THANK YOU LORD!!! I AM FORGIVEN!!! As far as the east is from the west, Jesus has broken the chains of sin in my life and washed me clean!

Dear Lord, 

I praise you that I have been FORGIVEN! All Glory, Honor, Power is YOURS and You have in Your mercy forgiven ME! THANK YOU!! I am in awe of Your kindness! Praise and Glory to YOU Father God!

AMEN!

Daily Prayer – February 8th

February 8th – You are Important

February is a time where we think about Valentine’s Day and love. But, more important during this month I am making it a goal to focus on our Identity in Christ. This is a great time to personal refocus as well as teach our kiddos the power of who we are in Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 2:9 says,

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light..

WE are VERY important, because we are God’s chosen people! What could be more important than that!?

Dear Lord, 

Thank you for choosing me! What an important honor it is to be Yours! I pray I will use this calling on my life to Glorify you and show Your Truth and Grace to others! I love you and praise you Father, for I am a child of God!

AMEN!

Daily Prayer – February 7th

February 7th – You are Precious

February is a time where we think about Valentine’s Day and love. But, more important during this month I am making it a goal to focus on our Identity in Christ. This is a great time to personal refocus as well as teach our kiddos the power of who we are in Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 6:20 says,

20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

The sacrifice price we were bought with instill how precious Jesus Christ thinks we are to Him! And that He would do it all again just for one of us! We are more precious than jewels! We now are given the opportunity to honor him with ourselves for the sacrificed gift He gave us!

Dear Lord, 

I am overcomed with the beautiful sacrificial gift of Your Death and resurrection! I willingly embrace our precious I am to you and choose to honor you with all that I have!

AMEN!

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