Sunday, March 31, 2019

Sunday Afternoon Tea- Seasons of life

I've been thinking a lot about seasons.  Partly because Spring is trying to arrive in my part of the world.  It snowed this weekend but I saw one yellow daffodil shivering in the cold wind.  Spring will win eventually.

Part of my ponderings about seasons came about when my daughter told me about a book she was reading and how it made her feel a little guilty.  She couldn't practice the kind of hospitality the author was suggesting that Christians should provide to others.

I knew how she felt because some books have had that affect on me.  They challenge others to adopt third world children or visit prisoners or move to the slums to minister or at least open one's house to an entire neighborhood in the name of Jesus.  I always have to stop and ponder that this is neither my calling, nor my season in life to do such ministry.

Which is what I told her since she is an incredibly busy homeschooling mother of five children, active in their CC co-op, and their church.  Not to mention all the other work moms have to accomplish each week.  I reminded her that she indeed does show hospitality when she has another family over for a cookout (they live next to a lake) or a sleepover for a child's friend.

We are finite creatures who live one day at a time, which becomes one year at a time, and before we know it we look back and wonder where the decades have gone.  But God knows this Truth and He doesn't expect us to do any more or any less than the season we are currently living in... that for which He has equipped us and given us the grace needed for the present season.

For instance, the season of life that I "had people over" the most were the years when my daughter was in college and my son was elementary school age.  We lived in a large house that seemed to be built for having people over, whether family dinners or larger parties with a crowd.  We hosted our daughter and son-in-law's wedding open house in our home, Christmas parties, Thanksgiving celebrations, the family get together after my mother's funeral, and many times of friends dropping by.

I have had family members ask if I miss that house and I can say that most of the time I don't.  I do miss the formal dining room that had doors one could shut leading to both the kitchen and the formal living room. It was so nice to set the dining room table days before an important event like a Holiday.  Otherwise, I have neither the financial nor health resources to take care of such a large house these days.

Another area of my life that went through a huge change was working with politics and the "culture wars" as a Christian. Just as when I worked in Organization Development, I absorbed information about business and leadership... the season of political activity filled my reading and watching with news programs, news magazines, etc.

I do not have the desire to be political these days.  Neither do I have the grace for that battle, anymore.  What do I mean?  Well, I have noticed that when we are walking in the will of God for that season of our life, then there is a balance between our interests and our ability to do the work He has called us to do.  We can walk through the storms in peace when He is the one leading us there.

During that season in my life, I could watch arguments between politicians and not only follow them in what they were saying but I enjoyed doing so.  I loved reading books about political figures.  Now I look at such things and make the proverbial sign of the cross, as if they were blood sucking vampires. 

Now, if God was still calling me to be involved, then He would also provide the interest and the grace in which to walk in the midst of the chaos with gusto.  Which is how Christians whom I respect are able to stand firm and knowledgeable in the battle of the culture wars.  They are there "for such a time as this".  My time has passed...

Sometimes our changes of season are sudden such as a graduation, new job, marriage, the death of a parent, when the last child graduates from high school, etc.  Sometimes the change is gradual.  Both of my children kinda' merged into college (it's a long story... two stories, actually).

My illness has been progressive through the years, at first I only noticed that I could no longer walk three miles a day and that I was thirsty all the time.  I had lost weight but that was a good thing, right?  Twenty years later and it affects every hour of every day.  However, I have friends who went to the hospital for annual tests and had their world change overnight with the results of x-rays or biopsies.

What I have found in each season... both walking through the good seasons and the unpleasant... is that God is not surprised by the change of seasons in our life.  He is there ahead of us, making provision and giving grace for that season of life, that part of the road of life for which we find ourselves walking.

Sometimes I think of the enjoyable days of past seasons of life but when asked if I would want to relive anything... not really. This is where God has me right now, this day.  This is where His grace is given.  Not yesterday.  Not tomorrow.  He gives His grace where we are right now.

When I looked at that daffodil in the snow yesterday, the word that came to me was... Hope.  What a lovely symbol for the soon to be Spring season but also Hope for that Eternal Spring which is to come. 

My mother had been bedridden for a long time before she passed away.  As I whispered to her when she was getting ready to leave this world, while holding her hand... "It won't be long now and you will be able to run again!".

This place is not our true home.  This is but the shadow-land of the real Home. The One who holds our Forever can be trusted to keep us through each season we walk here... until He welcomes us There.


Anonymous said...

Love this post as always. I have only this season in my life now and it's towards the end of my seasons. I need not to hang on to the failures and regrets of yesterday now be anxious about what tomorrow holds but trust God for grace for today, for this current season. Thanks for your thoughtful words today. Blessings and love to you, Sharon D.

Vee said...

It is good that we only have to do what God asks us to do in any given situation. Younger women are especially good at reciting rules. One day, their energies will wane and they will understand.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Brenda. This post was such an encouragement to me ... so much is seemingly expected of us in church groups etc.etc. that one can feel guilty for not stepping up to the exhortations. Now I will honestly and simply reply that such and such is not compatible with my own season in life. Blessings, Mairin.

Mary Magdalene said...

Amen, 1000times.

Rebecca said...

I couldn't agree more! You say it so well. Seasons...

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

“ He gives His grace where we are right now.”

This is so true! The seasons of a life change, as you’ve said, and we must learn to walk in the daily grace grace we are offered.

Good encouragement, Brenda, thank you!

Pam said...

Well said, my friend, well said! (SD)

Heather LeFebvre said...

If Stephanie was reading the same hospitality book we read in recent times, I understand how she feels! We had to look at the book we read as more a memoir rather than a prescriptive requirement for all of us!!!