“To everything there is a season,
And a time to every purpose under Heaven…” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
Spring is sprung, the grass is riz, and I wonder where my sanity is.
Motherhood with an emerging toddler in the house is an amazing time. You gain a new perspective on just how well you can operate on a wing and a prayer…and the seat of your pants. I find myself very grateful to have a noisy little one, as, while the perpetual chatter is a little grating on the nerves of an introvert who needs quiet like flowers need rain, I never have to wonder what room my son has wandered off into. Nor must I then wonder what he’s gotten into, as I’ve merely to run a quick mental catalogue of the most dangerous item in the vicinity of his noise, and that’s what I’ll find his hands reaching for. It’s when he goes silent that I have to worry, as “Stealth-Mode Son” amounts to “son-who-is-touching-something-his-hand-has-repeatedly-been-smacked-for”. And I’m wondering the impact having his name rhyme with “doggie” is having on his identity crisis, as he seems to think the similarity demands a food and saliva reciprocity, wherein the dog gets to eat the undesirable food tossed to the ground and lick the son’s thumb for retained flavors, and the son gets to dig into the dog’s food bowl and allow the beagle to clean out whatever crumbs are leftover in the son’s newly-emerged molars.
While the young one’s teeth are coming in, the elder one’s teeth are falling out. It’s quite a mental swing, moving from “headbutting the walls is not riotously hilarious, child” to Robert Frost, Malaysia and Peter Martyr Vermigli. Add in housework, a knee that can’t seem to get its act together, and the attempt to regain some portion of the reading capacity wrenched from my brain at week five of pregnancy (yes, I’m talking almost two years ago), and I’m…one frazzled mama.
“Oh, goodie—a motherhood blog!”
“Oh, no—not another motherhood blog!”
Nope. Today we’re talking about seasons, and the truth they teach us about God’s provision, His purposes and His plan. Have you ever given much thought to the seasons? Sure, they’re beautiful to see unfolding, and yes, they show the passage of time. But first and foremost, seasons are cycles: emergence/newness/change (Spring), flourishing (Summer), preparing for the future (Fall), and hunkering down during dark days (Winter). If you’re educated enough to make it this far in the article, you probably don’t need me to further spell out this grand metaphor. An understanding of the physical seasons puts food in our bellies, but a spiritual application of “seasons” helps nourish our souls. Simple yet profound enough, right?
But the purposefully created concept of seasons doesn’t end with “spring, summer, fall, winter”. Because as the Teacher informs us, there is a season for every purpose under Heaven. Is our purpose truly the progression of basic life goals? Job, house, kids, retirement? Westminster #1 should come blazing to the forefront of your mind. Man’s chief end—his purpose—is bringing glory to God. We do that through our sanctification—through the testimony that God’s character and existence are so true, holy, good, fitting, resonating and beautiful that we can’t help but work at conforming ourselves to them. And if this is our purpose, then our seasons become shaped by something other than the calendar or the leaves on the trees.
I am in a hectic season. While many would revel in the emergence and newness of a baby-turned-toddler-morphing-into-happy-little-terror, I am not well suited to this spring—or any spring, really. My driven-by-accomplishment personality can do great things in summer. My plan-ahead-to-the-least-iota side makes full use of fall. And my quiet, introspective nature simply adores hunkering down for what most others consider the boring winter seasons. But spring and I? We don’t get along. So I’m…surviving.
And that’s just fine.
Because I knew this spring was coming. I’d only just managed to survive the first child, hanging on to my wits by a thread. And she was easy compared to this one. But that’s kinda the point. God, in His provision, His purposes and His plan, gave me a pretty easy firstborn, as He knew even better than I did how early motherhood would not “play to my strengths”. And as a respite for my exhaustion, He followed that arduous spring up with a truly golden season for me: two years of stability, with a balance of time to flourish in my changed household, time to plan and prepare for the next stage, and plenty of wondrous reading and personal learning hours to fill back up my quiet time cup. And man, did my cup get full. Indeed, the season was so immanently well-suited to my strengths, and so prolonged, that I knew the season was meant for more than just recuperation from the last hard season. I knew I’d need that extra rest and respite for the season to come. How?
It comes down to His purposes, how He’s worked His ends in others, how He’s worked His ends in me—how He works all things to the true good of those who love Him. Let’s call it a trained perspective of the workings of Almighty God, a purposeful awareness of His seasons. You look at your life through this lens of “a time for every purpose/all things for good”, and you ask yourself a few faith-tending questions. How has God prepared me for this season? How is God using this season to prepare me for future seasons? How is God giving me respite in this season? And how is God bringing Himself glory by furthering my sanctification this season?
At the end of the day, you find yourself agreeing with the Teacher: a season for everything, and a time for every purpose under Heaven.