As the heat of summer fades away, and the coolness of autumn slowly enters our Bay Area forecast, I cannot help but be in awe, once again, of God’s artistic creation. He created our world to ebb and flow in seasons, and he created us to do the same.
Summer is a season of ease and lightness, where the schedules are looser, the days are longer, and the bucket lists are full of adventure. Autumn is a season of gathering and storing…one where animals and people are busy preparing for the winter months ahead. Winter is a season of quiet…stillness…rest, hibernation, darkness for some, grief for others. It is a season to feast on all that was gathered and stored in the season before. Spring is that of growth, of beauty flourishing…of birth and new life. And then, we repeat, over and over again, year after year. In the natural life, each season is predictable, lasting only a few months at a time. It is simple to calendar out when to head to the beach, when to go to a pumpkin patch, when to find skates to ice skating, and when to head to a farm to witness all the baby animals adjust to their new life.
In our personal lives, though, these seasons are not as predictable. We do not know how long the season will last…or when it will arrive…or when it will move on to the next. Often times, we are completely unaware of what season of life we are in until we are right in the middle of it. And in our personal lives, not all seasons are particularly pleasant. So we do our best to rush through to the next. We don’t want to stay in our season of winter and grief, so we hurry to move to spring, and then we are frustrated when we are not experiencing the warmth and newness we are yearn for. We overfill our calendars in the fall and then groan about being weary, just aching for the peace and stillness of winter. We are in a constant state of wanting more, different… “better.” Yet, in each and every season, both in the natural world and in our personal lives, there is beauty to be found… there is hope, joy, and true peace to be found knowing and fully believing that God is working through us in all seasons of life. And seasons…well, they simply cannot be rushed.
As unpredictable as the system may be, there are seasons in foster care, too, but they are a bit easier to see coming. Spring is the time of a new placement, new routine, new beauty in our homes. Summer: a time of sweetness as families adjust and hurt children are healed. Autumn is a time of business as reunification is made clear and transitions are put into place. And for me, winter is a time of goodbyes as children go home and our own home gets a little quieter as our hearts take time to mend. Winter is not bad, it’s actually my favorite season in the natural world. It’s beautiful and quiet. There is feasting to be done and thanks to be shared for the journey of family reconciliation. But the nights are longer…quieter…and the days can feel lonely.
I am in a season of gathering and storing…a season of dead things falling away, of my heart and my life lay as bare as the trees in my backyard. I am gathering God’s truth and tucking them deep into the places of my heart that I know I will need to lean on in the season to come. You see, I know a is winter is coming. A season of quiet, and stillness, maybe a little grief, maybe a little dark. But I am not afraid of that winter, and I am not afraid of the unseen storms that may be brewing because I fully believe in God’s promises… the promises I have stored deep so that I can feast on them when I am hungry for hope. Ones like Isaiah 43:19 that says, “for I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland” or Psalm 46:5 “God is within her, she will not fall. God will help her at break of day.”
Whatever season of life you find yourself in, know that you are fully seen and fully cared for. The Father does not abandon his children, but is faithful to make all that is broken beautiful in its time. May you find joy in your season of life, and may you fully feel God’s presence in the cool Bay breeze this autumn.