I have spent a lot of time sitting with women in the last few months and sitting with myself. And in all that sitting, something has struck me… we all find ourselves in one season or another. And there is power found in not only recognizing the season we are in, but extending ourselves grace there.
I sat with an incredibly gifted, talented, driven woman who was feeling so discouraged. She had once felt a clear calling, a sense of passion, a direct assignment and now she was feeling like that clarity and passion had somehow vanished. And she can’t seem to crawl her way back to that hopeful place. Her discouragement came in the form of somehow believing that passion and clarity of the call won’t come back. In some way she feels lost and wonders who she is and where she is going. It was easier for me to see than it was for her to feel, so I suggested, “Maybe God has you in a season where He is shaping something big in you before He does something big through you.” It was almost like hope was birthed again. The thought that maybe this season of feeling a bit lost is purposing something inside of her, I could see, gave her permission to have grace for herself and hope for her future.
I hung out with another woman who normally runs at such a high capacity, able to take on the world, produce, accomplish. She was in the middle of this coffee shop expressing how overwhelmed she feels right now, like she’s letting everyone down. She is weary and exhausted and is having to admit her capacity is not what it once was. Can we sit in that with her? Can we extend grace because we know what it’s like to be tired? Can we all recognize Covid is kicking our butts? Yes, we can, but can she?
See, we all seem to be able to extend grace to someone else in the season they are in, but we have a very hard time doing it for ourselves. But there is so much power in doing that for ourselves.
I love this passage in Ecclesiastes 3:
For everything there is a season,
A time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.
Even the good ol’ Holy Bible reminds us what is true – in life there are differing seasons. So we have got to give ourselves permission to be in them. We cannot be harvesting when it’s time to plant. We cannot be expecting the birth of new things when dying and pruning must happen first. We cannot be building if we first need to make space to tear down an old infrastructure that is in the way of the new one God wants to build. We cannot be speaking when it’s time to be quiet. It might be in the silence that we form our greatest life messages. We cannot be at war within ourselves when it’s time to be at peace.
Sometimes we try so hard to be in a season we are not supposed to be in. We try so hard to feel victory when all we feel is defeat. Perhaps the season we are in then is called a season of grief. We cannot be so fast as to skip over the place God has us to get to the place we want to be. What does God have for you right now in the season you are in? We have got to be asking ourselves this question. We cannot be trying to fast forward the way and ways of God.
So many of us are like farmers trying to harvest in the dead of winter. We are out here with our gloves on, showing up to work trying to pick fruit and the fruit is months out. The fruit is waiting for the sunshine. And no amount of you beating yourself up that there is no freaking fruit is going to make the fruit come right this instant. God is trying to grow in you a reliance on the unseen work, the forces of His nature, the ways He works in winter, in death, in pain, in sorrow, in silence. If you want to get behind the idea of supernatural, Divine God working in us to do things beyond what we can imagine, you have to accept that He is not an InstaGod. He is not delivering you fruit out of season just so you can no longer feel lost. No, it’s in your feeling lost that He meets you, out in the fields, showing up everyday hoping good and life is going to come. And He grows in you a hope, and a perseverance and an endurance and the character of a farmer. And then one fine spring day, when you see a bud, the sign of life coming, all that waiting, all that hoping, all that doubting, all that fret, turns into wonder at what God can do from season to season.
Ladies, we are in differing seasons. And don’t expect to be in the season you thought you’d be in, the season you wanted to be, or in the season Suzy is in. You’re where you are. What is God doing in you and around you there?
In all the years of spending time listening to women’s stories, I continue to be sure from what I have learned from women who are 90, women who are 49 and women who are 23 – our seasons change. Let us not fight the season we are in, but allow the seasons to change us, make us, mold us, grow us. Let us find God and His grace, His love, His meaning, His refining power in each season we find ourselves.
Women go through so many seasons. We give birth and we grieve not giving birth. We take care of others and sometimes find ourselves having to be cared for. We sometimes feel so driven, so purposed and sometimes aimless, lost and wandering. Sometimes we feel surrounded, loved, seen, and sometimes invisible, forgotten, unknown. Sometimes we feel strong, healthy, free, and other times, weak, unhealthy, enslaved. Sometimes we feel like we are at our prime and sometimes we feel like we are taking a backseat. We go through body changes, health and hormonal changes, emotional changes, intellectual changes, theological changes, career changes, geographical changes, parenting changes, friendship changes, status changes, family changes, dream changes. I mean you name it, what does not change?
Power is found, not in fighting a season, but in embracing it. There is hope in all seasons. In each one, Jesus collides. He tenderly meets you, and I guarantee, He probably meets you softer and more gently than you often meet yourself. He knows you’re weary, that’s why He says “Come to me and I will give you rest.” Meanwhile you’re still trying to hustle.
He knows you’re angry and you’re angry that you’re angry and He comes to you and He invites you to name it. Name all the reasons you’re mad. God can handle that. God can handle anything you bring to Him.
He knows you’re wanting to take on the whole world and use your one life to do amazing things and He knows you feel a little lost as to how to do that. He will unfold to you all you need to know when you need to know it. Your job is to seek His unfolding and trust you can see all you’re supposed to as you wait on Him.
He knows you’re feeling too old or too young and He knows you’re beating yourself up that you didn’t do this or you didn’t do that. Your story is not lost on God. He has plans and purpose and life for you no matter how old or young you are.
Jesus will collide with you now, right where you are at. In the winter field covered in frost with no fruit in sight hoping there will be and also when the harvest is ripe, the wine is plentiful, the sunshine is out, right when you want to hold a season captive forever. He will collide with us and as He does, may we know no season, other than the eternal, lasts forever. And that always leaves room for hope.
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