seasons of change
I love the change of seasons, especially this time of year. We’re on the cusp of leaving winter’s old rhythms behind, with its short days, cold nights, and . . . sweatpants! Time to transition from those hearty comfort foods and bring on the lighter, fresh fare. Time to shake off sleep, go outside and breathe in nature’s resilient beauty. Sunshine warms the earth and sends up tender new growth. Birds are busy feathering their nests, laying eggs. Chirping, dive-bombing papa birds must be anticipated. Look out—new life is about the crack open!
Spring is in the air and Easter is coming, so why do we drag our feet at the thought of change? To be honest, anticipation sounds good but unexpected change is a part of life we’re not likely to welcome, much less celebrate. If you have some history with our wonderful Creator Redeemer, you know that change often requires a time of uncomfortable, sometimes painful growth.
We need a good spring cleaning to make room for new memories, exciting opportunities, a fresh perspective. They say that time seems to slow down when you’re adapting to change. For some of us, life is about to get slow as new situations and new feelings come knocking on our door like a midnight visitor, unexpected and uninvited.
It may be a surprise pregnancy, unexpected job loss, divorce, a diagnosis of serious illness. Or perhaps, hardest of all, the sudden loss of a loved one. Stay with me here, don’t quit reading.
I hope you will pause and ask yourself, what changes are happening in my life? Think about that. Take a moment longer to look up and ask Heaven, what is God up to now? In the midst of chaotic change, let God’s Spirit move, brooding over the face of your circumstances as He did in the beginning (see Genesis 1:2). What beauty is He about to create in the darkness of uncertainty?
What is He planning for me that, by faith, I ought to say will be good . . . ultimately. Romans 8:28 is always true but perhaps it’s not the best thing to say to someone who is undergoing tragic changes. Maybe just stay and sit with them, be present for them. Bear their burdens (see Galatians 6:2) for it may be your turn someday.
Let me share a story. In the spring of 2019, my dearest friend unexpectedly lost her husband. Suddenly the king-sized bed was too big. Silence blanketed the long nights. The grocery list became short. All the normal rhythms of life dissolved in one anguish-filled night. Shock, sorrow, her lifelong companion gone, the potential loss of tangible security. It seemed that loss would have the last word for it was every which way she looked . . . except she looked up.
Spring. Hope and the promise of new life.
Not just when she would be reunited one day, but right now. Scripture says that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). I can say that I have seen faith. I have seen her faith in the face of loss and the Holy Spirit’s winds of change transforming her.
Faith has given birth to a new Sue—already sweet and loving, and now an even more loving, gentle, sensitive, and fiercely strong Sue. Faith has given birth to a new and powerful ministry of comfort. And I am challenged not to fear what life may throw my way.
I have seen her faith working in this new season to step out, get certified and teach a Zumba Zoom class for those isolated by Covid in assisted living spaces. There has been miraculous provision for her needs as many loving friends step out to help in practical ways.
Standing together in her house, now empty except for a few boxes, I tried to imagine what Sue’s heart must be feeling as she let go of this place so full of memories. The move to a new (much smaller) and adorable home has been an adjustment. There has been sorting and sifting through what to keep and what to let go. Finding a new spot for everything, from the precious to the practical, so these unfamiliar rooms will settle in and become home. That is life, isn’t it?
Chatting by phone as we often do, Sue was sitting by the fire on that chilly spring night. As we caught up on the day, her voice was full of anticipation. Faith is carrying her into this new season, days filled with friends, children, grandchildren, ministry, and . . . joy.
What can I say about seasons of change? To quote Julian of Norwich, “All will be well, all manner of things shall be well.”
Look up. Fear not.
God brings hope and He creates beauty in seasons of change.
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” – Isaiah 43:19