Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Embrace Your Season

The last 3 months of the year are when I am at my happiest. I think my favorite part of the changing of the seasons at the end of the year is the cooler weather. Im not sure if its because my hormones never went back to normal after having children and I still have hot flashes every 5 minutes of my life or what, but I LOVE IT! The holidays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, the fun memories I have with my family, the joy I experience during every day of the season. Its my favorite time of year for many reasons. Im at my best in this season.  If I could live in this season 24/7 I would. 

Is there a place called Christmas land? Sign me up! Its calling my name! 
My house has been decorated for Christmas for a week. I LOVE IT! Dont judge me. Matthew 7:1 "Do not judge or you too will be judged!" lol! 

I long for this season all year long. As a matter of fact, sometimes I find myself in the dumps because the season is over and the next time it comes around seems so far away. Sometimes I find myself wishing that time would pass so fast so I can hurry up and be in my “season” again. 

As I came across these thoughts I realized how longing for my favorite season can leave me missing out on the important things in the season I am in. For example, as a mother, I long for the day that my kids do not call my name 24/7 and can open a juice box or applesauce pouch all by themselves and eat/drink without making a mess. I long for the days I can go out to a restaurant and eat in peace with my husband and my 3 kids. I long for the day when the struggles of endless chores of laundry and cleaning house are gone and I can do the things I want to do. I long for what "I THINK" make for the perfect season of life. I miss out on so much because I can be so bitter Im not living in the "season" I want to be living in. 

The past few days I caught myself wishing time away. 

We had family pictures yesterday. They were a nightmare. I had spent tons of time and money on the perfect outfits and had even washed my hair - I mean come on! Within 5 minutes of being there, Charlotte had rubbed up against my car and got her dress covered in dirt and grease. 2 clicks of the camera later, John Daniel had a huge meltdown. It didnt dawn on me until after the photo session was over and he ate an entire kids meal in 2.5 seconds that he was "HANGRY" and thats why he didn't cooperate. Our photographer is the best and deals with us at our worst but even she said it would be best to end early. 

As we got in the car I told Mitchell that I couldn't stand this season of life. All I wanted was a family photo of all of us looking normal and I couldn't wait for the day when the kids would sit still and we wouldn't dread picture day. 

And then this morning, I did it again. I wished time away. I begged to be out of this hard season of motherhood. 

John Daniel, my middle child, the oldest of the twins, the quiet but destructive child, had gotten into one of my wallflowers from Bath and Body Works. For those of you who are not Bath and Body Works enthusiast like me, lol, wallflowers are things you can plug in an outlet and give off a wonderful smell, covering up all signs that any children live at your house. It masks the smell of that old sippy cup of milk that you lost a week ago and found under the couch. It hides the smell of the dirty diapers that linger in every corner of the house. One of my favorite things about a wallflower is when I walk by, I can smell the scent of "clean" even if my house is so far from clean. It gives me about 2 seconds of relaxation before I look down and realize Ive stepped on an entire bag of cheese puffs someone has dropped and a million crushed pieces of my kids favorite treat cover my floor. 

Apparently John Daniel had found a moment to sneak out of my sight and find one of my new wallflowers and explode it all over himself. I was running late, as usual, and was doing my best to put everyone in the car so we could make it to school. I pull out of the driveway and literally think to myself, Man - my whole car smells like that evergreen scent I bought the other day from Bath and Body Works - I wonder if I left a candle in here?

At that moment, Steven starts to gag and yells that Bubba stinks. I look back and realize his shirt is wet. I pulled over on the side of the road right outside my neighborhood and take him out of his seat. Yes, the entire wallflower had been spilled ALL OVER his shirt and he was drenched in the extremely strong smell of evergreen. I wiped him off as much as I could and off he went to preschool, smelling like a big strong christmas tree. 

I came home and cleaned up the mess, put all my wallflowers back in the closet and said to myself "I cant wait until I can start having all my nice things back!!!! All I wanted was for the house to smell like christmas! Im OVER this season of life!"

But oh how wrong of me it is to long for a new season of life without understanding the purpose of the season Im in. 

Our family has been in a “struggle” type season for about 2 years. Its seems every time something good happens, a few other bad things happen right after leaving us taking 1 step forward and 2 steps back. Im not going to lie, some days its hard to leave the house with a smile on our face and Joy in our heart.  We've been praying the same prayer over and over and it hasn't been answered yet. The end of the season can seem so far away and sometimes I tend to think we will be living in the season for the rest of our lives. It can be very easy to “wish” this part of our lives away. It can be very easy to think about the future and how easy we “think” it will be and long for that season. 

Its so easy to have a pity party for yourself and think that life will always be the way it is. Thats what the devil wants us to do. He wants us to linger in depression, anxiety and worry about the season of life we are in and miss out on pivotal moments in that season that help shape and guide us into the plans God has for us. 

One day, when I was feeling very down and wondering if I would ever see another “season” I read the story of Ruth. 

Ruth was a remarkable woman of faith. Tragically both Ruth’s husband and brother in law died, leaving just herself, her sister in law and her mother in law, Naomi, all alone. Naomi decided to return back to her homeland far away and encouraged her 2 daughters in law to return back to their families in Moab because she had no more sons to give them and was unable to offer any security for their future. One of her daughters in law, Orpah, followed that advice and went back to her family in Moab but Ruth made a vow to Naomi, one that showed true faithfulness in one of the worst seasons of her life. 

“Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; for wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. The LORD do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me” (Ruth 1:16-17).

Well isn't that something? Let me tell you what I would be doing if I had lost everything I loved and had the choice of following someone who wasn't even blood related to me to another part of the country to start over. I would be running back to my mama and daddy and trying to get back to my old life, not stepping out on faith and following my “used to be” mother in law to a land that I did know about. 

Instead of running back to what felt comfortable like her sister in law Orpah, Ruth chose to follow Naomi .She left EVERYTHING, forsook her homeland, her comfort zone, her people - She left it all to lead a new life in a land where she would be a total stranger. She loved her mother in law and pledged to never forsake her. Ruth chose what God wanted her to do, not what she wanted to do. Long story short, because she followed what God had told her to do during this incredibly hard season of her life, she was blessed more than she could ever imagine. She married Boaz, who had everything she could ever dream of plus some and her family and entire lineage was blessed. 

Things probably looked pretty rough for Ruth at times. She probably wanted to hurry up and get out of the season she was facing, but she chose to embrace the season she was in, even though it was hard and not what she truly wanted. The mercy of God worked out all things for her. Because she stepped out in faith and followed what God wanted her to do during her rough season, her story of faithfulness and total commitment encourages so many every single day.

Its very hard to stay positive during hard times. Its very hard to see the light of the tunnel when the bags under your eyes keep you from seeing anything at all! lol! Its much easier said than done to trust God enough to accept the season you are in but friends, let me tell you, it will help you more than anything else.

 Proverbs 3:5-6 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” We don't understand what may be going on and it may not make sense to use but it makes perfect sense to God. Give it to God and he will work it out in a way we could never even come close to imagining! 

Psalm 37:7-9 “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land” Stop worrying about it! Just be still! Spend time with the Lord. Let him be enough for you. Let him calm you and remind you of your purpose on this earth. If someone else is prospering and you are not, refrain from being angry! Those who wait for the Lord will inherit it all! Your day will come my friend! 

Repeat the scripture of Ruth but say it to God just like Ruth said it to Naomi

Wherever you take me Lord, I will go.

Whatever season I am in, I will rejoice for you are faithful and you always take care of me. 

1 Peter 5:7: Cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

Genesis 28:15: Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

1 John 5:14-15 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

So when you are in a season of life that you are ready to hurry up and pass by, remember God has put us in this season for a reason. We must rejoice in those moments, even when we don't feel like it. We don't know the reason but God does. We don't know who we may come across that needs to hear our story. Galatians 6:9 - And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Don't give up. Embrace whats before you and REST knowing God has got it in control. 

The song "Seasons" by Hillsong has been my anthem for this year. I listen to it daily toe help me remember that my season will com, but it will be in his time and I must remember that his promises will never fail me, even if the season of life I am in feels like there is no hope. 
 My favorite part of the song below gives me chills every time. 

I can see the promise
I can see the futureYou’re the God of seasonsI’m just in the winterIf all I know of harvestIs that it’s worth my patienceThen if You’re not done workingGod I’m not done waitingYou can see my promiseEven in the winterCause You’re the God of greatnessEven in a mangerFor all I know of seasonsIs that You take Your timeYou could have saved us in a secondInstead You sent a child

He could have saved us in a second but instead he saved us in a way so remarkable that worked out so much better for us. I dont know about you but that reminds me of Gods greatness and how his plan is always better than my plan. The season Im in is helping mold me into God wants me to be. 

Motherhood is a hard job. Oh how many times have I wanted to run and hide when it gets too hard. How many times do I wish these hard times away and miss out on the sweet smiles and giggles around me. Its so easy to focus on how hard things are and miss out on all the sweet simple moments around us. Embrace the fact that life is going to be a chaotic hot mess for a while and don't wish it away. Understand that you are doing something that God has called you to do. One of the hardest jobs in this world is being a mother. Do you think the Devil wants more families raising kids who are children of God? No! He will deo everything he can to prevent us from being the Mothers we are destined to be for our children. Dont let the devil convince you the grass is greener a few years down the road and let you miss out on the things going on around you.  We must thank God he has given these precious gifts to us, even when we don't feel like it. Trust the Lord enough to know he is helping you every single day. You are not alone!

Just like Ruth trusted the Lord during her hard seasons, we must trust the Lord with our hard seasons. Rejoice always and remember the old saying, “If God brings you to is, He will bring you through it!” 

Now excuse me as I go upstairs to take care of a screaming baby……lol…….But I will praise God that he has blessed me with this screaming baby even if Im ready for this “Screaming baby” phase to end! lol! 

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