The Change of Seasons.
Whatever Ben Franklin…
Isn’t it interesting how God has designed the rising and setting of our life? We’re born helpless. We grow and experience multitudes of transitions and changes, and then, in His sovereign timing and purposes, our life on earth comes to a close.
I heard someone say that what matters about this life isn’t the end caps engraved on your tombstone, but the dash in between. That seemingly meaningless dash represents all of the seasons that came and went. It’s the story of who God fashioned you into after you took your first breath.
Benjamin Franklin was wrong. There are actually three things you can be sure of in this life. You can be sure of death, taxes, and changes of life’s seasons. They come on both micro and macro scales. On a micro scale, we experience seasons changing every day. They can be positive or negative. They can effect your schedule or plan for the week, just like the rain of spring effects your mowing schedule. On a macro scale, we experience things like marriages, children, diseases, or career changes. They have more long-term effects on so many things, including our outlook on life itself.
A Bit of History.
When my wife and I married more than ten years ago, I was wrapping up my bachelor’s degree and was heading into my first position as a young pastor. My academic path had shifted greatly during my time in school. Out of high school, I was planning to attend a well-known music school in Nashville, Tennessee. I didn’t go because I was afraid. I heard a lot of voices telling me there was no future there, it was expensive, and that I should do something solid, reliable, and understandable… like preach. (Yeah, I know. I told you I was young and naive.) Five years into the pastorate, I was hit with a cold reality. I was doing something that was not in line with God’s design for my life. I grew bitter. I had a hard heart toward nearly everyone around me. I could write, I could speak, I could sing, I could even teach, but none of these things were resonating even with me. I left the pulpit frustrated and confused.
For a while, I floundered. I worked whatever jobs I could find to pay bills. God’s hand was holding my wife and I up the entire way. I grew depressed, wondering if I would ever find a niche. All I wanted was to use the gifts and abilities God had given me, but I just didn’t have the shepherding aspect of pastoring in me.
Seasons changed again. I was hired by another church. This time as a Facilities Supervisor. God used this time to sort some serious stuff out in me. Two ministry staff members there in particular saw a lot of warning signs that I would have never seen myself. During the first year I learned two things, I had decided to define myself by what I did, and that I had grown very little spiritually since I left college. These two things had driven me to some very dark places in my mind and spirit. I’m thankful that God used these two men to drag my malnourished soul out of those places by way of His word.
As all of this was going on, my wife, a super talented nurse, mommy, musician, homeschool teacher, and ministry companion began to consider a stay-at-home business opportunity. I thought it was going to be a huge distraction and waste of time. As husbands often do, I guessed wrong. While I battled my inner demons at my day job, being humbled again and again by serving in a church, she was quietly helping person after person set their life on a healthier path. Eventually, she was able to come home full time.
As the cherry on top, I began to write again. It was almost like re-learning how to walk. Trying to write devotional reflections from God’s word after feeling like I had failed so miserably as a pastor was painful. So, I started with outdoor blogging. The outdoors were a place where my mind could heal ever-so-slightly, but in a compounding sort of way. I could talk about it without a shade of jadedness, and as time passed, I began to blend the two.
Which brings me to today. After five years of working as a Facilities Supervisor at the church I grew up in, God has called me away. My wife’s business has grown substantially and she needs help with the background tasks of it. I’m also excited about the opportunity to be more involved in my children’s schooling. My wife and I are both thankful that God has brought us this far. No, it’s not conventional. I’m not sure how many people have looked confused when I say, “I’m going home to help my wife, write, and teach my kids.” but that’s okay. I don’t expect everyone to understand.
Changing seasons can be scary. But a farmer can’t know entirely if what he has done to prepare for winter will get him through either. There are too many “crystal ball” variables that we can’t know. What we can know is that God has promised that he will never leave us nor forsake us. We can know that He will call us to do things that don’t make sense to us or others around us sometimes. And we can know that as he changes the seasons, there will be more seasons to come until he calls us home. His grace is sufficient to see us through it all.