Bittersweet Seasons

For the last few weeks I’ve been reading a book called Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist. It’s not a long book, but I only read at night before bed and never more than one short chapter at a time. That’s never been a problem before, but here it is 10:45 on a school night and I can’t sleep for thinking about something I just read. What’s a sadly neglected blogger to do?

Write, apparently. So this – my first blog post in nearly two months – is unplanned, unedited, and unprocessed (in the way I usually process things).

Cheers 🙂

The chapter I read tonight is about seasons. Shauna Niequist writes:

“Anything can happen in a year. Broken down, shattered things can be repaired in a year. Hope can grow in a year, after a few seasons of lying dormant […] I don’t know where you are these days, what’s broken down and what’s beautiful in your life this season. I don’t know if this is a season of sweetness or one of sadness. But I’m learning that neither will last forever […] This season will end and something entirely new will follow it.”

When I read that I can’t help but reflect on the seasons I’ve walked through in the last 3 years: seasons of growth, of rest, of learning and application, of change and challenge and more growth. In the midst of some of them I felt just like the author of Bittersweet, who writes of a difficult season: “I was afraid, then, that it would always be like that. I was afraid that this was a new normal, that seasons of lightness and peace were over in my life, and this brittle, fractured way of living would last forever.” I remember thinking that exact same thing, fearing that where I was was my destination, my new normal.

Redemption. Selah.

(That’s my way of saying, “I have something to say about this but I’m tired and my husband is snoring, both of which make it difficult to think. Let’s just move on.”)

So the thought I came away with from reading this chapter is that seasons don’t last forever (I bet you didn’t know that). They change, as seasons will. Looking at the season I’m in – full time student only a semester from graduating with an impractical degree and zero career plans, first time foster (and possibly adoptive) parent of an incredibly precious 20 month old boy – and I wonder, how do I live on purpose in this season? What changes or adjustments do I need to make in my attitude or actions in order to live intentionally, to get as much out of this season as I can? Because it won’t last forever. This season will end and something new will follow it. Suddenly the thought of missing out on what this season might offer is scary.

And now Aerosmith is singing in my head, “I don’t wanna miss a thing.” Very nice.

My prayer then, is that God would show me the specific ways I can live in this season on purpose. I don’t want to say I want to live on purpose – I actually want to do it. Practical steps (even if they mostly apply to my own attitude). That’s what I’m after.

I know this blog doesn’t usually lend itself to comments, but I’d love to hear your thoughts. How do you live on purpose according to the season you’re in? In what season did you find it the most difficult/necessary/rewarding to live intentionally?

Blessings! Off to bed now.

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2 thoughts on “Bittersweet Seasons

  1. I had a great revelation when Steve Holmstrom was here. And it wasn’t about Vitamin E 🙂 John and Jeff Ray have this ongoing question “how do you do it all? Be a good husband, dad, employee and minister. How do you do everything you feel like you’re suppose to be doing? I like the conversation but I’ve never heard a good answer until Jeff asked Steve that same question and his answer was, “poorly.” Ha! I laughed on the inside because we all know that’s true. Then he said, you just do what you know to do in that moment. So, if you know you’re to spend time with your wife then do that. If you know someone needs you at the church and you’re to do that, then do that. It was brilliant. A Spirit led walk, every day.

    I know that physically we are done having children. I also know that babies and kids grow way too fast. So, I have been so purposeful with Shepard I feel like some days slow down almost to a stop. I play with him instead of cleaning (hard choice haha, but sometimes it is) but I’m being purposeful. With Ethan, sometime I can tell in his voice that the fourth time he asked for something that he really needs me and not another thing to do or have. So, I stop and listen or play or watch. Sometimes I feel the need to connect and make sure a friend or someone at church is ok or if they need anything. I’m being purposeful in that moment. Seasons change quickly and parts of those seasons linger into the next. There’s never a cut off date. We’ve had warmer days in February that in March. I think the key is to listen to the Holy Spirt. To choose to do or say what he says is most important today. And if he doesn’t say anything then you do what’s in your heart. You do what gives you life. Life is life whether it has a Christian term on it or not.

    It’s now 2:01 am and I’m awake because Ethan needed his blankie and couldn’t find it. So, it was important for me to help look, for him and his heart. Purpose

    I think your question was how do you be purposeful. This is how I’m doing it. One day at a time. One thing at a time.

    • Your answer makes me think of something else Niequist wrote about in her book, and that is a “Do and Don’t Do” list. Basically, she suggests we make a list of things we do (things that are life giving) and the things we don’t do (things that are life draining). The purpose of the list is to determine what is really important and necessary to live the lives we want rather than taking on all sorts of “to do’s” based on what we feel we should do when we compare ourselves to other people. In this context, it’s all about deciding what is important to the season you’re in and focusing on those things, and cutting out what just isn’t important – and being OK with not doing those things, rather than beating yourself up about it. For me it’s been mostly internal, determining which things I will take on mentally and emotionally and which things do not belong to me. It’s also been freeing in other ways. Will I sacrifice straight A’s in order to spend quality time with my family and friends? Definitely. Will I bake and make crafts and (shudder) exercise just because that’s what all my cool friends do? Nope, not a chance. I have more “do’s” on my list than than “don’t do’s,” but it’s the “don’t do’s” that are the most important.

      Thanks for taking the time to talk with me about it in the middle of the night, Steph. You’re my favorite. ((Hugs))

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