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Colleen Elisabeth Chao is an editor and author. She enjoys dark-dark chocolate, side-splitting laughter, and half-read books piled bedside. She makes her home near Boise, Idaho, with her husband Eddie, their son Jeremy, and Willow the dog. 

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Life comes in seasons

Life comes in seasons

Life comes in seasons

Life comes in seasons

If we could sit on a sunny patio and chat leisurely over iced coffees tomorrow, I’d want to ask you, “What’s the best part and worst part of this season of your life?”

What would you say, dear one?

What’s making your life painfully difficult right now? And what’s making it beautiful and sweet?

We might shed a few tears together as you answer. Some seasons feel more bitter than beautiful when you’re in the midst of them.

Or maybe I’d laugh with joy as you describe a long-awaited hope fulfilled. We’d talk fast and excitedly, and the time would fly by.

Most likely, though, we’d do a little of both, wouldn’t we? Some tears. Some laughter. As Elisabeth Elliot wrote, “Rainbows are made of sunlight and rain.”

So in lieu of that patio conversation, I’ve settled into my couch tonight with a cup of chamomile tea, to share a few things I’m reminding myself these days:

This season of life is a gift. The precious and the painful, they are entwined by gracious hands that never stop doing us good. The very thing that brings us to our knees, makes us weep in despair, or feels like our undoing—that is an integral part of the gift of this season. In time (His time), we will see that our desperation was the beginning of our deliverance.

Sometimes the bitter aspects of life can overshadow the beautiful. Don’t miss out on the joys of this season.

Years ago I had a young friend who was married to a faithful man who loved her and provided lavishly for her. She hated working and wanted nothing more than to get pregnant. She griped constantly. Her husband made it possible for her to quit her job, but even then she was miserable. Soon she became pregnant and gave birth to gorgeous twins. But she couldn’t stop complaining about how easy working used to be and how hard being a mom was now. In every season she had neglected to enjoy the gifts God gave her, so when she finally got what she wanted—she was shockingly unhappy.

Don’t compare seasons. We’ve all lived through those long winter months of life when the dearest ones around us seem to be enjoying a balmy summer. Their joy may feel like the final blow to your hurting heart, and it takes all the grace you can muster to rejoice with them.

But seasons change, sometimes quickly, and someday they too will know their winters while you celebrate your summer. In this mysterious dance of seasons, we learn to offer both comfort and joy to one another, each in our turn.

Some seasons last a long time, but none lasts forever.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”

Singleness was a long season. But my twelve-year wait came to a sudden end, and in the blink of an eye a new season was upon me, with brand-new joys and challenges.

Psalm 116:7 says, “Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.” So dear one, here’s what I keep preaching to myself:

1. Embrace today’s hardships. They are gifts from God.
2. Embrace today’s joys. They are gifts from God.
3. Stop playing the comparison game. It robs me of these gifts from God.
4. This season will soon pass. Don’t miss out on these gifts from God.

 

This article also appears on TrueWoman.com. 

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