Monday, April 18, 2016

A Time for Everything...

"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 to war and a time for peace.

What do people really get for all their hard work? I have seen the burden God has placed on us all."

Ecclesiastes 3:1-10

a. To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: This list - describing the different seasons and facets of life - is beautiful. Yet it also casts a dark shadow, because it reminds us of the inevitability of trouble and evil, and of the relentless monotony of life. (reference here.)

 A season.  When it comes to seasons in our life, I have noticed we often compare it to seasons of the year: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall.  Each one has a boundary marked on the calendar,  by days, a moon phase and/or weather pattern.  But is it really fair to expect the seasons in our life be held to those same boundaries?

Life is beautiful. But it is hard.  Each season of life is marked my memories, good and bad, that give us courage, hope, or grief.  Some seasons can't be confined to a certain event.  Sometimes, a series of events dictate the length of the season we are in, or about to be.  

ii. "The repetition of 'a time …, and a time …' begins to be oppressive. Whatever may be our skill and initiative, our real masters seem to be these inexorable seasons: not only those of the calendar, but that tide of events which moves us now to one kind of action which seems fitting, now to another which puts all into reverse." (Kidner)

 My season the last few years has been a reminder of a darker side in life.  I have been struggling.  Our family has endured spiritual abuse from people we trusted.  We have poured ourselves into serving others only to be taken advantage of. We have left behind "family" because of the ongoing misrepresentation of truth. I have battled with challenges I face as a parent. I wonder if I am ever gonna be a better friend or believer.  There have been days where I avoid all contact as self preservation.  I have found myself screaming in agony at God hoping for answers of why it is me, my family, that has to go through this? What did we do? Where did we go wrong? When will this end?

I have seen glimpses of the sun.  A time of laughter, A time of dancing. A time of peace.  But it seems to only last a glimpse and then I am back to the trenches again.  I have been angry at being in this place, and then I have come to understand that it is okay to be here.  There is something I need to see sitting in the rubble.

I have tried to be honest about my journey.  It isn't pretty or perfect.  I don't intend it to be an avenue for pity either.  I intend it as a process for me, and to encourage you where you are.  I want you to be encouraged that while each journey looks different, we need each other and our stories to give us courage; hope. You are not alone.

This morning I was reading an interesting blog post about how good it is for you to tell your story.  You can read this here.  I have to say that it makes sense.  How many times have you talked about something painful to finally realize that one day it isn't as painful anymore?

I am not saying we advocate just blabbing every piece of dirty laundry to everyone, but there is value in making peace with our pain by talking about it.  We never know what kind of help that it might be to someone else.  They need to hear that you struggle too.  This is what I hope for in my little corner of the internet.  In telling you about my seasons, I desire to not only find peace, but to encourage you. 

I believe this is the purpose of the seasons.  Nothing we go through is wasted.  We learn and grow, then we find ourselves walking along someone else who is learning and growing too.  Iron sharpens Iron. (Proverbs 27:17)

Friend, we are all messes.  God is not ashamed of our messes, and He desperately wants to wipe our tears, patch up the hurts, and clean the mess so that we can be who He sees us as- the image of who He is!