Sunday, January 16, 2011

Savoring the Season

I enjoy a lot of things about winter.  I love Christmas, I love seeing sparkly white trees glisten in the morning light, I love the beauty of a freshly fallen snow.  But I have to be honest.  For the most part, I really despise winter.  The bitter cold that cuts through the warmest coat, the wind as it whips across the open Plains of Kansas, the sun that sets before the end of the business day, gloomy skies, and endless days of being trapped inside.  I find myself wishing after the first week of real, true winter, that spring would hurry up and come and free us from this dreadful prison.  Oh, how trapped I feel by this miserable season!

Sometimes I feel that way about life, too, you know?  I love my four kiddos, but I've had an infant or toddler in my home for the last 10 years and quite honestly, I'm ready to be past this stage of life.  I'm tired of having to schedule my days around feeding times and nap times.  I would love for words like "potty" to be permanently removed from my vocabulary.  And the constant "why?" questions -- boy, will I be glad to get through that stage for the last time!  But, alas, my youngest is just getting ready to turn three years old, so I have one more go-around with the "why?" and "what happens if..." phase.

I also have dreams for my life, things that I would like to accomplish.  Most of them aren't terribly ambitious, but still, I'd like to get them done.  Things like scrapbooking the past eight years of my children's lives.  Like losing that last ten pounds.  Like writing those three books that I've got mapped out in my head.  Or finding part-time work to help ease the financial burden on my husband.  I would really love to study through my Inductive Study Bible, leaving notes on the entire book so that someday my children can comb back through it and learn from my insights.  And speaking of books... there are so many out there that I would love to read!  But do you know what?  I can't do it all.  Not today, at least.  And do you know why?  It isn't the right season.

Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes chapter three, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven." He then goes on to list fourteen pairs of opposites that happen in everyone's lifetime: "a time to be born, a time to die...a time to weep and a time to laugh."  And while he says nothing specifically about writing books or getting jobs, he does make his point:  Life has seasons, and we can't expect to be able to accomplish everything that God has in store for us right NOW.  We have to wait until the time is right.  No farmer can expect to harvest his grain while he is planting it.  No, those things happen in two different seasons.  You have to WAIT on the grain to be ready.

Now, patience is not something that God blessed me with an abundance of.  (Instead, he gave me four little patience-teachers!)  So this concept of waiting for the right season is not an easy one for me to embrace.  When I have an idea or make plans for something, I like to see it happen NOW!  And it's really not so much about the "instant gratification" as much as it is the eagerness to see my goal accomplished.  And I think sometimes I'm afraid that if I don't do it now, I'll never get the chance.

So here's what I'm learning: Take a deep breath and survey the season you're living in right now.  Discover the fullness of life it has to offer, and realize that it will soon pass and you'll be smack in the middle of a new one.  My oldest child is about to turn ten years old.  He's almost into double digits and middle school.  I love so many things about him growing up -- the conversations we have, the things he's learning, his self-sufficiency.  But then I look at my almost-three and four year olds and realize that I wouldn't trade this season in their lives for anything, not even quiet mornings to myself.  Soon enough they'll all be in school and I'll have time to do so many of those things that I want to do.  But now is not the time.  

My two youngest children keep asking for watermelon at lunchtime, and I tell them, "It's not the right season."  When I start to get restless and wish I was doing something different, I think the Spirit whispers in my ear, "It's not the right season."  It's a gentle reminder that yes, there is more to come, but not today.  "Enjoy today.  Soak up what I am giving you in this season.  The next one will come soon and this one will be gone.  Don't miss it."

I still don't like winter too much.  And I still think I will be glad when all four of my kids are a little more self-sufficient, but I'm sure trying harder to enjoy them the way they are right now.  And all those things I'm so eager to accomplish?  I think I will start writing them down so that when the right seasons come, I won't forget them.  Because it might be a good long while before their seasons come.  But that's okay, because I know I can trust God when He says there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity imaginable.  And I'm sure He'll keep me busy while I'm waiting!

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