I was born and raised in California. Seasons never quite made sense to me when I lived there. There was warm, hot, and hotter … with a few days of cool Santa Anna winds and the spring showers of February and March to spice things up every now and again. But then my life course changed and I found myself moving to Arkansas in the fall of 2012.
Oh the colors! I had never seen such a beautiful array of yellow, orange, and red. This beauty lasted only a moment before the harsh reality of winter arrived. At first the snow and ice was fun. This is what all those Christmas songs I sang while sitting on the beach were truly about, right? But then Christmas gave way to New Years. Valentine’s Day came and the cold was stronger than ever. I kept thinking it would go away after the next weekend or holiday. “Just a few more weeks and the sun will come. It will be warm then,” I thought.
The weekends passed and the holidays came. April approached with the cold still holding strong. It finally occurred to me that this was my new normal. Seasons were a real part of my life, and every year, one of those seasons would consume half my year with its chilly winds, unpredictable sprinklings of snow, and occasional threat of ice. The weather wasn’t going to adjust; I would have to adjust. I would need to buy a few heavier coats, figure out how to wear a scarf as more than just a fashion accessory, and invest in a warm pair of gloves. I had to learn how to live in the winter.
These days, I’m finding that my life, too, is in a very long, never-ending season. It’s filled with busy days, growing to-do lists, added travel, and increasing responsibilities. All these things are good, but more than what I’m used to. For months, I’ve been waiting for the season to pass. I keep saying to myself, “After this next project, after this next trip, life will return to what it used to be.”
I’ve learned to stop saying that. My former normal is not returning, and as I look at my life forecast for the months ahead, it’s not looking like it will be changing anytime soon (despite my optimistic hope that it will). This is my new normal. Just like when I experienced my first winter, I have two choices. I can keep functioning in this new season like it’s the old one and face the consequences of being unprepared. Replace frostbite and colds with exhaustion and chaos. Or, I can embrace the new season I live in, adjust my life, and prepare for what’s ahead. Something has to change or I won’t survive it. I don’t want to lose the joy of investing in others because I haven’t learned to create new margin in my schedule, or be so frazzled every day that I miss out on the amazing, fruitful opportunities God is giving me.
Sometimes, God does a similar thing in our homes. As your family grows and children enter new seasons of life, your schedules and plans will change. What worked when you had only one child won’t work as well with two. Life with toddlers will be different than life with tweens. When God takes us into new seasons, we can long for the days of old or welcome the new experiences and opportunities in front of us.
Embrace new seasons along with all the new opportunities it brings. Adjust how much you can take on, how you handle new needs, and grow into your new normal rather than resisting it. Be cautious about trying to cookie cutter how you live and function in each season of life. Summer and winter are very different, but they are both good. God created them, each with their own purpose.
The same is true in our lives. Each life season has its challenges and its blessings, but each one has a unique purpose…new opportunities to know Him and make Him known.
“To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1 AMP
So true, we are facing our older two leaving home in the next few years. It is amazing to look as see how far we have come as a family. It is also a time of reflections and wonder if we did enough or what needs to be done in teaching and training before they leave home.
What will life be like for us after they are grown and on their own?