What I've Learned about the Changing of Seasons
Dena Johnson MartinDena Johnson is a former single mom to three amazing kids: Blake, Cole, and Cassie and wife to her high school friend, Roy. She strives to follow Christ each day and to lead her children to do the same. She delights in taking the every day experiences of life and turning them into biblical lessons for her children. Dena's daily prayer is simple: Lord, my life is yours. Live through me. Love through me. Parent through me. Let me decrease that you might increase. Dena is the founder of Dena Johnson Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people find beauty through the brokenness of this life. Her heart's desire is to use her own pain to point others to the power of God who redeems every hurt, every pain. You can contact Dena at Dena@denajohnson.com. You can also find her blog at Dena Johnson Ministries.
- 2016 Mar 09
As I sit down to write, the sun is shining brightly, warming the Oklahoma air. We’ve had an unseasonably warm winter, without a single snowflake.
Millions of you, however, have been buried by a heavy blanket of snow. And, I have to admit: I’m jealous!
There are few things more beautiful than looking out the window at a freshly fallen snow. The brilliant white brings a sense of serenity and calm. It is so pure, so unpolluted. I love curling up by a fire, smelling a delicious crock of stew simmering in the kitchen, watching the snow lightly fall outside.
And then there’s the fun. The laughter. The smiles. The joy. Snow angels and snowmen. Sleds and four-wheelers. Snowball fights and ambushes. And it’s not just my kids. There’s something about snow that brings out the child in me, too.
As much as I love snow, I have to admit that by this time of year, I become restless. I sense the approach of spring with all it brings. Warm, sunny days when I can once again break out the flip flops. The sound of thunder and the flash of lightning as I listen to the rain hit the roof. The sound of kids outside, playing basketball in the driveway as the days grow longer.
And then, as I tire of the rain, I will begin to long for summer. Swimsuits and pools. Carefree days of kids playing without worrying about homework and school activities. Soaking up the sun as it shines bright and hot.
But, after a few months, I’ll long for fall. Football and cool weather. Boots and sweaters. Comfort foods of chili and soups. The routine of school schedules back in full swing.
The truth is, I love the changing of seasons. I lived in south Texas for several years where summer wears out its welcome. I missed the changing of seasons. I longed to move from one season to another where I could enjoy all the aspects of life that each unique season brings.
And, perhaps, that’s exactly where I am in life today.
I’ve been in this season of life for seven years. An unexpected change of seasons that took me from a happily married pastor’s wife to a season of single-motherhood. A season of seeking God’s healing from adultery and abuse. A season of non-stop activity, trying to keep up with the activities of my children. A season of seeking God in ways I never had before. A season of pursuing dreams that had lain dormant for decades.
This season has brought me tremendous joy as I have come to know my savior more deeply and intimately than ever before. I have watched Him break me, mold me into His image. I have seen my faith and trust in Him grow as I’ve been ripped from my comfort zone. I have enjoyed watching my kids grow and become young men and women of God. I’ve seen answered prayers and daily provisions in more ways than I can count. I have seen God provide for my every need as I seek his face, seek to be obedient to His will.
And yet, I am restless. Extremely restless. God has made promises to me, shown me glimpses of the future He has planned for me. I see the beginnings of a ministry that has been in my heart for decades. I know His plans for me are far greater than anything I could ever ask or imagine. I have prayed diligently and waited expectantly, knowing His promises will be fulfilled.
And, just as I enjoy each season of the year, toward the end of the season I find myself restless, ready to move to the next season. The same sense of restlessness seems to invade every aspect of my life right now, the longing to see the season change.
For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away. A time to search and a time to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace.
…Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:1-11
What we know about seasons:
Seasons can change suddenly. In Oklahoma, we sometimes begin to wonder if the seasons will ever change. The cold of winter seems to linger long beyond its welcome. We wonder if the warmth of spring will ever overtake the cold. Suddenly, the warmth of a spring day dawns bright and clear. The ice storms give way to thunderstorms, and we pack away our winter clothes.
And the seasons of life often change just as abruptly. An unexpected phone call that alters the course of your life. A birth or a death. A marriage or a divorce. An illness or an injury. Anything can launch us into a new season of life. And, some seasons are filled with joy and happiness while others bring grief and heartache.
No matter what the season, God can give you complete comfort and contentment. He is with you. He sees your heart, hears your pleas. He has not left you.
Each season brings with it a unique set of joys and challenges. While I enjoy the beauty of the snow, it can also cause major devastation as it knocks out power and shuts down travel. I love the power of a good thunderstorm, but I hate the devastation often brought by the accompanying tornadoes. Summer is a great time to enjoy the outdoors until the heat becomes so oppressive and drought encompasses the land.
Despite being thrust into this season by the most devastating events of my life, I have found tremendous joy and happiness. I have experienced more spiritual growth than at any other time of my life. I have seen God’s goodness, his hand of provision like never before. I have seen God take the devastation and create a ministry from it. This season has been a living representation of Romans 8:28.
And so it is with the seasons of this life. Perhaps the season begins with unexpected circumstances, either good or bad. But, as you seek to know God, seek to follow him faithfully, you will find his goodness and grace and mercy, ebbing and flowing throughout your life. You will enjoy the sound of the rain and the fascination of the lightning, even as you witness the destruction of the tornado. You will see the purity and beauty of the snow even as you sit in the cold of a house with no electricity. He makes everything beautiful in its time (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
Seasons have a beginning and an end. This season started (officially) six years ago today when the divorce papers when signed. Whether I consider the day my divorce was final or the day I learned of my husband’s affair as the starting point, I can pinpoint the exact time this season began.
And, one day, this season will end. I don’t know what the end of this season will look like. I believe with all my heart God has told me He is preparing a man who will love me as Christ loves the church, but I don’t know when He will make that happen. I suspect it will be much like the seasons in Oklahoma: just when I think the next season will never come, suddenly God will usher in the next season.
I know I am restless, just as restless as I am when one season is about to give way to the next. I know I have a growing sense of anticipation, wondering when I can pack away the wardrobe of this season and pull out the clothes for my next season. I am restless. Could it be that God is preparing me for the onset of the next season?
I don’t know, but I do know that the One who orders the universe holds my life in His hands. I know that He knows when the season will end, how it will end. I know that He has it all planned out and that it will be good…very good.
Until that time, I will choose to trust Him as I wait for the change of seasons.