Shifting Seasons

Shifting Seasons

“To everything there is a season, and time to every purpose under heaven.” (Ecc. 3:1).


Seasons.

Appointed segments of time parametered around specific occasions. Times in life that float in and out. Some with awareness. Some with little thought.

I’m about to enter into a new season, and, indeed, it comes with much thought this night.

My kids are returning to school tomorrow. It both delights my heart and fills my mind with a new set of thoughts. Every new school year brings changes for all of us. Some change I can control, but mostly, the changes that will come fall outside my realm of manipulation.

It is the way of seasons.

They cycle and spin around us as an inevitable force of nature, and the only control we can levy in the process is the one that voices our response.

How will we walk it? How will we embrace the unknown with a measure of grace and purity of heart that is our requirement as a people who are called to live by faith and not by sight? Will fists and stomps and “refusals to move” be our portion? Or, will we instead, step into it with a calm resolve that whispers the surety of Solomon’s wisdom?

There is something oddly diverse about shifting seasons. Our appointed segments of living can hold both hard and soft. Pain and joy. Full and empty. Difficult and easy…all at the same time. We cannot avoid a new season’s arrival, nor can we fully calculate its end, but we can be sure that while walking it, our emotions will run the spectrum’s extremes.

Tonight, my emotions run tired and worried. Not because my kids are entering into a new school year, but simply because of what they leave behind as they go.

Me.

A mom without focus. A mom with some free time on her hands, and yet with little understanding of how to fill those hands. A mom who has dreamed for so long of one day finally realizing what she wants to be when she grows up. A mom who could do a hundred things in a hundred different ways to make the time pass, and yet a mom who isn’t interested in just filling time.

Filling time with a hundred things is of little value to me, for time is precious and it is marching its cadence in quick measure. No, what I’m after in this new season of living is filling my time with a few pursuits that hold timeless value—investments that save sacred and reap dividends far into the future. If not my future, then the future of those who will come behind.

Tonight, I’m not sure what that looks like or how it breathes. But I’m fairly confident that it will include the paper and the pen and the ink that draws from the life-giving well of God’s holy Word. I’m certain it will breathe with people—those individuals who’ve been so wonderfully deposited into my life by divine intention. And I’ve got a feeling that it will also pulse with the quiet hush of heaven—times of orchestrated isolation that will allow me the room to pause and to ponder the one thought that stirs my heart the most.

My Father.

And my God is anything but filler. He’s timeless. An investment in Him is an investment that reaps as sacred and yields dividends long after the seed has been sown. He holds the highest value of all intended pursuits, and in the end, He is “how” I want to be when I grow up.

I don’t know what season you are walking right now. Perhaps, like me, you are about to enter into a new segment of living. And while yours may not step like mine, all shifting seasons bring pause to our spirits.

I am thinking about you tonight, even as I think about all of the ways that I want to honor God with my life in this new chapter called today. I don’t want to simply “get through” it. I want to fully live while in it. I don’t want to rush time. I want to savor the aroma of minutes and hours and days that are given to me because God deemed them purposeful and worthy on my behalf.

I don’t want to look back on this season with regrets. Instead, I want to look forward with the understanding that this season is the solid seeding of my next. That choices made now will matter for tomorrow. That this shifting segment of time is my necessary portion if I am to grow into the woman that God intends for me to be.

I’ve been anticipating this new chapter in my life for nearly three months now. The chapter entitled “summer” has come to an end. The page has turned, and I have arrived on the scene of my next. The deepest and truest desire of my heart is to live it like I mean. To walk it like I talk it. To inhale the beauty of God’s eternal and then to exhale him with every breath that I breathe.

If that can be my punctuated “amen” at the end of this season, then I will have lived the wisdom of King Solomon and will have walked the grace and promise of King Jesus. May it be so for all of us, and thus I pray…

For this season of change, Father, I thank you. For all that will be accomplished toward your perfect end, I thank you. For your willingness to allow me this season, I thank you. And for your grace that affords me the privilege of walking it with you, I thank you. Bring clarity in my confusion. Calm in my chaos. Focus in my fledgling. Mercy in my mistakes. Grace in my growing. And peace…always peace…in my journey. You are my Peace and the highest esteem of my heart this night. Amen.

Copyright © August 2008 – Elaine Olsen. All rights reserved.

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a very good morning!

Perhaps you, too, are embarking on a new season of living. I would welcome your thoughts in the matter. I would also appreciate your prayers for me as I seek a writing focus for the next few months. I have some ideas but need some clarity in the matter. How may I pray for you this week? It is the privilege of my heart to do so. Shalom.

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39 Responses to Shifting Seasons

  1. Oh I love your thoughts on the changing seasons of our lives….. Seems that I go in too many directions and need to focus on where my heart lies…. I have semi retired from my business and feel that I finally have time to focus on my writing and some creative things that I have longed to do……. It is hard to shift gears for me…… I am a type A/B and somedays I have to really cry out to the Lord to help me to shift my thoughts to myself….. which is so hard for me…… A new season is His gift to me now and I need to learn to embrace it….

    Thanks for the beautiful post..

  2. Hi Elaine, I have entered a special season of my life and for lack of better words I will call it “aging gracefully” because that’s exactly what I want to do. I will be 62 soon and I want to embrace this age with joy and anticipation. I want to be a peaceful place where other women can go, by visit or phone or blog, for reassurance, encouragement and perhaps a little wisdom mixed in with a dash of humor. I believe God is leading me there so I’m looking so forward to it. Blessings, marlene

  3. ” I don’t want to simply “get through” it. I want to fully live while in it. I don’t want to rush time. I want to savor the aroma of minutes and hours and days that are given to me because God deemed them purposeful and worthy on my behalf.”

    That quote stirs my heart unlike anything I’ve read recently. Beautiful.

    I am praying for you as you enter this new season and begin a focused intention.

  4. I am so happy now that God let you reveal to me what season I have been in (and still am), my “hidden” season.

    I received my book Friday (about the hidden years of Jesus and me), so I hope to begin reading it today.
    Are you going to do any posts related to the Bible study of the book? I would love that.;)

    I hope that you have a wonderful first day of your new season. May God bless you!

    Amy:)

  5. The deepest and truest desire of my heart is to live it like I mean. To walk it like I talk it. To inhale the beauty of God’s eternal and then to exhale him with every breath that I breathe.

    Elaine…this is my heart, raw and real. On Friday, I found myself saying goodbye and hello to a new season in my life. Good-bye to mentoring three women each Friday at noon as I’ve done for a solid 10 months. To hello of mentoring two of them…one-on-one, and then adding the young woman I spoke of in my last post to my life outside of the office also. She and I are going to do “one-on-one” mentoring also but in the form of a bible study learning of the LOVE OF GOD. Please, I would truly appreciate your prayers.

    That Yolanda’s flesh dies, and God’s spirit lives!

    Lovingly,
    Yolanda

    PS: I will be praying, and I would truly like to hear of your new writing endeavor, care to share?

  6. Oh girl! Have my feet ever trod the soil where you are walking!

    When my youngest left for college a year ago, even though I had been traveling a long transition with my Father, I found myself staring in the face of deep change. God promised that it would be significant if I would but allow Him to do it His way and not fall into the temptation to orchestrate this next phase of life to my own liking.

    At times, it’s a struggle – I won’t lie. But my desire to have this season of life really count is, so far, outweighing the desire to shape it myself. My friend Pat (http://www.patlayton.blogspot.com) said something recently that has been resonating with me:

    I want my offerings to have “eternal value and bring internal peace.”

    Ultimately, as believers, I’ve come to realize that if our offerings don’t have the one, WE won’t have the other. When reading this post, this was brought to mind again.

    I’m praying for you friend, in this season of change. Know this: Your offerings to the blog world have eternal value. In that you can rest easy.

  7. Oh my! I have to share with you that I can completely identify with your feelings on shifting from one season to another. The day that my daughter got on the school bus and I was alone in my home was a profaned moment for me. I recognized the experience and grabbed it.

    In a few moments she will step out the door for her first day of the seventh grade, I still can’t believe I am the mom of another teenager.

    In these past seven years I have grown so very much, much of it was filled with very normal things, laundry, grocery shopping, and housework, however there were also wonderful opportunities for real one on one time with my Heavenly Father.

    Now, I am recognizing a very different season of my life as I physically move from one stage of life (perimenapause is a wonderful thing!) to another. The amazing thing about easing into a different time of life is how it impacts my thought processes. But maybe easing into a new season is not the right adjective, sometimes it feels like being shot out of a cannon.

    Whether it is a gentle prodding or a violent hormonally charged explosion I find that I have a real need for going deeper, I want to seek what is truly important in my life, my relationship with Christ.

    It isn’t so much an urgency, it is more like an awareness of some unseen thing that comes into focus a little bit at a time, and I wait expectantly for each new revelation.

    There are moments that I will confess that I don’t go willingly, kicking and screaming is more like it, but I am not above letting God grab old of me and drag me where I need to go.

    I love watching how God works.

    I can’t wait so see what happens next in my life and yours.

    PS 38:15 I wait for you, O LORD;
    you will answer, O Lord my God.

  8. ” … times of orchestrated isolation.”

    Prophetic!

    I’ve stood where you stand; I’ve pondered the place you peer into; I’ve released and gripped simultaeously as do you. So my heart leans in your direction, Elaine. Season changes are wonderful … though for me that sometimes means unwelcomed. Silent chasms and long lingering nights carry little appeal for me.

    Even so, and maybe because of, something wonderful comes this way …

    “I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.” Is 45:3

    There’s a new wind blowing in the onset of your new season. My guess is that it carries with it the joys of tomorrow, and elements you’ll write of when at last the new season has esconced you in songs of joy.

    ” …where morning dawns and evening fades you call forth songs of joy.” Ps 65:8

    Hugs,
    Kathleen

  9. My new season is coming fast…..
    I plan to write about it later in the week….
    I’m tired just thinking about it all!

  10. I loved these thoughts on shifting seasons. I (among others no doubt) eagerly await partaking of the fruits of your new season! May we all embrace our changing seasons with joy, grace and purpose.

    Blessings,
    Tracy

    P.S. That photo was precious.

  11. A new season is upon us as this school year begins. It’s full of unknowns about where it will lead us in the next. I love your statement. . . “I don’t want to simply get through it. I want to fully live while in it.” I have to say that my attitude of late has been just that. “LORD, just get me through it.” Now I have a new perspective thanks to you.

    It is my hearts desire to fully live, to fully walk with Him, and to fully know Him, while in it. So that is my prayer request. Thanks so much for your words of wisdom and your willingness to share them. I am better because of them.

  12. wifeforthejourney:

    How the summer has seemed to alternate between mad dash and snail’s pace! Thank you for the grace you bring to each day and the burden you bear for each of us.

    For those of you in cyberspace, Elaine is the literal “peaceforthejourney” around our home. I’ll never be able to say enough about how well she meets each season, and the faith she brings to every day. A man could want no better partner than you, and our children could never ask for a finer mother.

    Love you!
    Billy

  13. Blessings on your new chapter Elaine. God will guide your “pen” and give you the words He has for you to share.

    I would covet your prayers for DH as there is a battle going on in his workplace (very much of the spiritual sort). The human side wants to give up and move on, but the faith side knows He brought us here and the work is not yet done. Living through it is tough though.

  14. Elaine,
    What an eloquent post on the changing seasons!
    We are excitedly entering a new season of homeschooling, and I feel like I have regained a focus and purpose. I am praying, though, that in my excitement that I don’t run ahead of my Father or my children in this endeavor.
    I pray that God will continue to bless your writing; it is obviously a God-given talent!

  15. Elaine-you will be in my prayers!! write girl write!! you are so talented and I know God will bless you in this.
    My kids don’t start until Thursday. I am sad to see summer go, more sad to see my own fall semester start up at the college where I teach. I need a longer summer. I would love to be in your shoes right now girl! you are blessed!

    In His Graces~Pamela

  16. This post reflects your blog title so beautifully. As for the writing opp, I am truly excited for you. Your ‘voice’ needs to be heard by a greater audience, and it is God Who is opening the door for you.

    I am in a season of barren-ness right now…disconnection…I look forward to joy and clarity…

  17. Elaine,
    Changing from summer to the fall/winter is often the most difficult for me. I am not a winter person and I really hate to see the summer go. I have thoroughly enjoyed being with my children and feel sad that school is starting back. I’ll just have to put both feet forward and press on. Thanks for your post. The picture was great.

  18. Wonderful, Elaine. Such timely thoughts for me. Even though it seems like my days are filled with a lot of thoughtless activities in caring for my two babies and son, I know that even those can be invested- if I serve as if serving the Lord.

    I love this post and am so thankful- truly- that I found your site. Bless you, my sister, I will be praying that you find the focus from the Lord. I can’t wait to read about what He shows you.

  19. I couldn’t help but laugh when you commented on my blog that God had a lot of ugly to make pretty. I know you did not say that for a compliment, nevertheless, I want to say that your writing shows your inward beauty and your pictures show your outward beauty, so where is the ugly?

    I also loved the picture of your children ready for a new school year. It has been so many years since my children were in school, it’s hard to remember how I felt. But I probably went through the same cycle of feelings.
    And for seasons. . it’s evident that I am in the winter season of life but spring always follows winter. . spring time in glory!
    I wonder what that will be?

    mary

  20. Beautiful, Elaine! I am sending one to middle school this year, and I am having more anxiety than him. Whose in control? I’m surely not. Thanks for blessing me.

  21. Whew! I remember the shifting seasons while children were still home. Now–each day seems the same with opportunities to do so much, yet a desire to make each moment count for something. Often I find myself in complete obedience to God – being still, knowint that He is God and totally enjoying and at the same time doubting that I am really pleasing Him in my inactivity. Doesn’t life send us mixed messages??

  22. Love the 1st day of school picture. As they set out yesterday to find the adventures that await them…so will you. Prayers for your journey…

  23. Oh, this was wonderful! I’m so glad I’m not alone in the changing of seasons.

    For me it’s both in the physical, (as I begin my journey into mental-pause), my baby becoming a senior, and a new grandson on the way.

    Not to mention my wandering child in Asia who’s finding himself on some island now, and another son who just became an officer in the Army. Very likely he’ll be commissioned again for war.

    Changes…

    I’ll keep you in prayer Elaine, and I anticipate something really exciting about to happen for you.

    One thing I know, and I’m so grateful for:

    …Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time!! (Ecc. 3:11)

  24. Elaine…a big amen to your post on seasons. My stumbling block is that I fight with many of my seasons. I am kind of like the girl wearing the sweater in the 100 degree heat, or the woman you see wearing shorts to a Christmas party. Unfortunately, the Lord sometimes has to shake me up to move onto the next season.

    I can’t wait to hear about your writing endevour. Please email me. I will be praying for you. I also will share with you what is going on with my proposal. I have a couple of questions for you too.

    I am off now to school shop with my youngest two. My oldest started school yesterday. They don’t start until this Monday.

    Blessings to you Elaine, Joanne

  25. I’ve read this post several times now already. Everytime I get something else from it.

    He is “how” I want to be when I grow up.

    and

    I want to savor the aroma of minutes and hours and days that are given to me because God deemed them purposeful and worthy on my behalf.

    And as my dear friend Lynnsc says “It’s not where I want to be but this is where God has put me, and when I get through it I want it to count for something.”

    Please pray for my family.

  26. Boy do I understand about the end of the “old’ and the beginning of the new.
    It is the waiting and the unknown that gets me sometimes. The need to feel that I am doing something…and yet to earthly eyes there is nothing.
    I have recently ended a season…and wondering what the new season will hold.
    Sometimes the quietness is so loud. But, even in this time of waiting…I must consistently seek Him. No study to study for. No children’s church to plan for. Just sitting in His presence.
    At this time…it is kind of like a woman who is pregnant and waiting to hold what she knows is there.

  27. Elaine,
    This post has given me pause to stop and think about how often I do not live ‘for the moment’ but instead I want to rush toward something I want or rush through something I dread!

    I would rather love to learn how to enjoy the ‘season’ that I am in RIGHT NOW!

    Thanks for the ponderings today!

    Marilyn in MS

  28. As you place and keep your focus on Him, He will open new doors and fill you with peace for those which should be pursued.

  29. Oh yes seasons of my life, this summer has been a new season, I have no children in my home, with my 15 year old daughter in Utah, plus she registered for school there, and i’m here, its a new season, and i know God wants me to go through this… You are in my prayers…
    Connie
    GBU

  30. Ah my friend, an unexpected "season" has fallen on me, and I'm not welcoming it with joy. It's not a season I would have chosen. It's not what my expectant heart was hoping for this Fall. This season looks like it is endless – wondering if I'll ever know again the seasons that used to thrill my soul. The dreams I cherished are fading as the tyranny of the urgent binds me now.

    A long road lies ahead. My life, my choices, my decisions seem to have been suddenly snatched away. Praying that as my days, so shall my strength be.

    Thanks for your prayers,
    Love & hugs,
    Joy

  31. Is is a season to embrace when our children make it to the next grade. Our family dynamic will change as my 2nd child goes off to college. Giving me evenings of quiet, which I long for, yet knowing what I am without makes me fumble in my thoughts. I pray that God is placed in that time like never before. And for you too.

  32. This is the first time I have stopped by your blog and wow do I love it!!

    I am in a season of waiting and I am learning to be content with this season of my life.

    Blessings,

  33. Though I do not like winter, I love the change of seasons because of the beauty and creative our Creator shows in them.

    Our lives are nothing but seasons, huh? We are constantly either entering one, leaving one, or about to enter another.

    You know the season I am in and it is still a painful one but I’m giving it my all to make the best of it FOR my Lord and only BECAUSE of my Lord.

    I’d appreciate your prayers not only for me but that my beloved would be released from his pain, bitterness, and unforgiveness so that he can fully rest at the Cross and have the open heart to choose God’s path and not his own.
    I teary on….but I too don’t want to simply get through it. How poignant that you mentioned that because that is exactly what I feel I’ve been doing and I do not want to just get through but to live for what He wants.
    Paula

  34. Hey Elaine,

    I really like this post. You are right about spending time with God as the most important thing, and most certainly not a filler!:) My season is right now, trying to start a family through fertility treatments. Just being a fairly newly married person-three years:) Thankyou for your prayers:) May God bless you immeasureably as you seek HIM.

    katiegfromtennessee

  35. To be honest with you I don’t if I am coming out of a season or not. The reason being there have been many times when I thought it was ending to find I was still there.

    I live in the south, have all my life. Often in March we will get unusually warm weather. The wasps will emerge, bees come out of hiding, green will burst forth. You think winter is over and spring has come…..and then next week shows up with cold temperatures and sometimes even snow. Everything is shocked and sent back into hiding.

    That’s how life has been…. I think I am coming out to find out “not yet”.

    I found your blog through Susan’s reference to the book Anonymous. I just ordered it from Amazon a few days ago, due to my friend, Tiffany’s recommendation. I can’t wait to get my hands on it. I’m going to look for that review you did.

    Thanks for sharing your heart. It will be exciting to see what Papa God has for you in this new season of your life.

    Blessings,
    Julie

  36. Hi Elaine,

    I am right where you are. You spoke words I couldn’t speak, about where I am at with school starting again(next week). I’m entering this new season with some restlessness and stirring inside. Unsure of what that all means, I am trying to rest in His peace and grace for today.

    If I cannot live with passion and for His namesake, I don’t want to live at all. Life is meaningless without my relationship to God. And because of His love, I can sprinkle a little joy into this world, letting the winds of change take it wherever He wants it to go.

    Seasons, a topic I think a lot about.

    Thank you for sharing! I needed this.

    God bless you as you seek His face and find new words,

    Tiffany