Seasons of Life

“The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s “own” or “real” life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life – the life God is sending one day by day: what one calls one’s “real life” is a phantom of one’s own imagination. This at least is what I see at moments of insight: but it’s hard to remember it all the time.” CS Lewis

Normal Life.

I’ve learned as a wife and mother that “normal” doesn’t stick around for long. When circumstances or changes interrupt my “normal,” I become unglued. I get irritated and I get angry! Why are all these things getting in the way of me living my “normal” life? I want to feed, clothe, nurture and instruct my children. I want to encourage, support, respect, and love my husband. I want to succeed in my job and be a good employee. I want to thrive in school. Is that too much to ask? Can’t I just do what I’m called to do without all of these interruptions attacking my “normal” life? Sometimes I feel like that YouTube video of “David After Dentist” where he asks in his post-anesthetic stupor, “Is this real life?” “Why is everything so hard?” Later he exclaims so eloquently, “ARRRRRRRGGHH!!”

I am here to tell you today, you will always be redefining normal. Accept that, and you will be able to enjoy the changing seasons of life rather than wasting your time bucking against them. Whether our children are young or old, life seasons will be shifting constantly and rapidly. Those changes are normal. So, if we resist every changing season insisting that it’s “not the way it used to be”, we will be in a constant state of angst and irritation.

Even so, there are ways that we can shape our lives to make life as smooth as possible, yes, and maybe that is something we can also improve on this year. For example, saying “no” to commitments that will unnecessarily overwhelm us, managing our time better, not procrastinating, etc. But it is the overarching attitude change that I have to constantly remind myself to keep in check.

As we enter a new year, 2016, let us remember the preacher from Ecclesiastes who said in chapter three, verse 1, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…” On this text, Matthew Henry says, “Every change concerning us, with the time and season of it, is unalterably fixed and determined by a supreme power; and we must take things as they come, for it is not in our power to change what is appointed for us… Everything under heaven is thus changeable, but in heaven there is an unchangeable state and an unchangeable counsel concerning those things.” We are changeable, passible creatures and likewise our life under heaven is ever changing. Thankfully, God is the opposite. He was, is, and ever will be the same and so are His decrees. What a comfort that should be to us as we pass from season to season.

So then, we may not know what a new phase in life will bring us, but we can surely know that we have a sovereign and loving Lord that has sent it and is present with all who believe. Ever-changing seasons of life may be “normal,” but God’s unchanging being is also “normal.” It’s unchangeably “normal”! Let that unchanging normality shape your perspective of the ever-changing reality you live in. As the wonderful hymn says “Change and decay in all around I see, O God who changes not, abide with me.”

When changing seasons interrupt our real life this year, let’s try to remember the hand that sent it and respond accordingly.

 

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Dear Discouraged Mother

“You are as much serving God in looking after your own children, and training them up in God’s fear, and minding the house, and making your household a church for God, as you would be if you had been called to lead an army to battle for the Lord of hosts.” C.H. Spurgeon

Dear Discouraged Mother,

I know how you are feeling right now. You’re discouraged. You’re wondering if any of this really matters. You’re wondering where those wonderful feelings of usefulness and service to God and your local church have gone since your years of singleness or early marriage. “I did so much then,” you’re thinking. “I led the children’s choir, I taught Sunday School, I helped build orphanages in Mexico. Heck, I even had time to sort the Sweet n’ Low from the Splenda in the church kitchen before the coffee break. Now all I see is the backside of my toddler running circles around me while I try to down my 12th cup of coffee while humming the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme song. I wipe snotty noses. I pack my husband’s roast beef sandwich for lunch. I play referee for my bickering teenagers. I’m the internet/technology police 24/7 for my high schoolers. I drop my children off at school and pick them up again. If the dog is lucky, I’ll remember to feed her today. Perhaps if I’m lucky I’ll get 15 minutes of quiet to read my Bible and pray (if I put in earplugs) for the first time in over a week (okay, let’s be real, a month). Why can’t I serve like I used to?”

Oh sister in Christ, you are serving 500 times more than you used to! That children’s choir you led? Your lullabies are the first music your children will ever hear. Those hymns you sing to them when they are afraid at night? They will carry those words in their hearts for years to come! Those Sunday School classes you taught? You’re teaching those classes every day when your child asks you why they can’t see God. Or why that serpent in the Garden of Eden was so sneaky? These years of having children at home are rich with teaching moments, far more moments than an hour Sunday School class once a week. How about those orphanages you built? That is wonderful work, truly, making a place of shelter and safety for the motherless. Dear friend, by God’s grace, your children are not motherless. They have shelter and safety in your arms. They feel love in the way you kiss their scraped knees. They are assured of your care for their soul in the discipline you show them. They see a picture of the gospel in the forgiveness you extend to them. All of these things are acts of service that are more needed than ever in our day and age! An orphanage built in your 20’s will likely not be standing in 200 years….but your child’s soul will go on forever. It is the most worthy effort in all the world to serve your family in the fear of the Lord.

Do you have a heart that desires to serve God and his church? Love, discipline, and instruct your children. Let us take care that we don’t serve only in ways we WANT to serve, and neglect serving in the clear ways the Lord has called us. Do not grow weary in well doing; God’s grace is sufficient. Be encouraged and press on! Our children will not be in our homes for ever (we hope!). Each day, this fact becomes more and more real to me. God has put them in our care to nurture, love, discipline, and instruct. Lord willing, you are bringing up the future generation of Christ’s church, and there is no nobler calling.

Do not let your mommy-guilt, the rising feminist agenda, your next door neighbor, internet standards of “Pinterest” perfection, or anyone deceive you into thinking that your work for your husband and children is insignificant. When souls are at stake, your very mothering can make an eternity of difference.

Love in Christ,

Reformed Ruby