As I sat down to share with you lessons learned in my 50 years of “living”, I began to reflect on how the Lord has taught me to sit back, push through and breathe in the seasons of life. My story is not unique in any stretch of the imagination, however my prayer is that what my experiences have taught me will bring others new perspectives in which they may learn to sit back, push through and breathe in the blessings and grace that life’s uncertainties and changes can bring. I believe the author Sue Monk Kidd in her book The Secret Life of Bees: said it well;
“Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here.”
What I have learned through my personal experiences with divorce (as a child and adult), job changes, financial issues, kid issues (six total, 3 born of me and 3 that took “steps” to be born into my heart) and the list goes on daily, is that every day brings an ebb and flow of changes in which I have learned to develop a need for “maître”. Maître is the Sanskrit word for loving-kindness (Grace). This kindness and grace must first and foremost be gifted to ourselves and then it can flow out to others whom are present in the shifting seasons of our life.
The seasons I speak of are such transitions for example as an illness diagnosis, you may have found yourself “suddenly single” through the death of a spouse or divorce. Maybe you’re single and wonder if you’ll ever get married. Maybe you’re about to graduate from college and have no idea what you will do this coming year. Perhaps you just lost your job. Maybe you’ve just started a new job and feel overwhelmed at the challenges that are before you. Or, you’ve just realized that you are a “Motherless Daughter” in some respect and this has literally pulled the rug out from under you, leaving you groundless. The list is endless as well as the perspectives around these “story makers”. The end gift of everyone’s story can be for us to grow into individuals the Lord can mold, use and go out to teach others the value of seasonal transitions.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” Isaiah 43:2
Everyone goes through transformation, one truth is that if you are not experiencing changes, you are NOT among the living and you might need to check your pulse!
Another truth, something I read recently, “Life after all IS fair. Ultimately it breaks EVERYBODY’S heart!” This could not be more true BUT it does not have to be defeating. The Lord has created us to be very strong and resilient. We were designed for a life in which we can go through the hard times; find peace in the easy times so we can be instruments for those that need to hear from us, “I know what you are going through, you are NOT alone!”
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4
Sometimes you must go through the valley to reach the top of the mountain and see things in a different light. The “weeping prophet” (I didn’t even know there was a weeping prophet until I was doing some research), Jeremiah says it well:
“It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.” Lamentations 3:22-24 KJV
So take heart! The process of growth and healing, as painful or unfamiliar as it might be, when done through the eyes of “grace” and purpose can bring a new identity of self that plays a central part of being alive and that to avoid loss and “seasonal” changes is to avoid life itself.