It's mid-summer, early morning and I'm sitting on my porch. It's a brisk and breezy morning, not summery at all so I grab a jacket. The sky is overcast and the breeze wafts a fresh coolness I haven't felt since early spring. Fall, still more than a month away, whispers it's approach in the chill. Afternoon shadows now lengthen and lie sharp and long across my lawn. And God faithfully teaches me truth about navigating His seasons.
No matter the season, hints of the next one abound if we look for them. Every summer, there is one day when you distinctly feel the fall. The calendar says summer for several weeks but deep down, you sense it. Change is coming. You discern it in the shadows, the smell, the sounds around you.
Everything looks the same but transformation is happening, invisible to the eye because seasons are guaranteed, promised.
"While the earth remains
seed time and harvest
Cold and heat
Winter and summer
and day and night
shall not cease." Genesis 8:22
As we learn their quirks and how to navigate them, our seasons season us. Each one full of lessons to be learned and what we learn in this one, carries to the next. Like transition in labor, you might be at the most challenging and painful time as one season ends. But sure as morning follows midnight, what brings pain and sorrow now may well be the very thing bringing joy and delight in the next season. Because "weeping comes for a night, but joy comes in the morning." Psalm 30:5
The change of seasons can be unsettling. You sense one is ending yet everything looks and feels the same. Even after the change comes it may feel like the old season for awhile. You're calendar says autumn but the days stay hot, relief doesn't rush in but lingers at the edges until it's good and ready to arrive.
And finally a day comes when you know permanent change is here. Frost appears, leaves turn gold and scarlet and begin to fall. You pull out your boots. Pumpkins peek from doorsteps. The season has changed! And you know because you can feel it deep down.
Not every season is guaranteed to bring happiness but each has it's peculiar joys. I'm in the 'empty nest' season. I was privileged to raise one little bird and she flew the nest several years ago. She is a married mama of two precious ones, darling grand babies who bring me much joy. But for this one thing.
We moved north to Atlanta last year to be near our daughter and her little nest and then God called her to move away. Again. So here we are, in a state we wouldn't have moved to on our own and God has us in a season of isolation. We lived twenty years in the same place and built a full life filled with rich friendships and community. But here, we have no close friends, and traveling on weekends as much as we do, no close church community. Just....alone. Some days are hard. Some days, I'm hard, and resentful and crabby.
But in this unexpected, unwanted season, God is teaching me about joy. And I'm learning joy isn't something you feel. It's found deep, like an underground river you can't see and can't sense. The only way I can find it is to dig deep in worship. Dig deep in prayer and the word.
And, I write. I'm working on my second book so it's a time of writing without distraction and also a time for my husband and me to strengthen our bonds and grow our relationship.
One day, I know we will have the chance to move closer to family. But until this season changes, I have a choice to make.
And I choose joy.
What season are you in? I'd be delighted to pray for you!