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April 18, 2010

seasons of life

I'm making excuses to be on the porch swing. The sunshine is beautiful and warm today, beating on my bare shoulders, filtering through my sunglasses. After months of cold and snow, summer is a welcome change, a beautiful relief. I'm loving it.

Growing up in northern Brazil, summer was year-round. I loved warm weather, but, with the exception of a few winters spent in Canada, I didn't have a lot to compare it to. My appreciation of warmth wasn't nearly as deep as it is now. I welcomed it, but now I stand up and applaud. I sigh; I sing; I update my Facebook status. Short winter nights have turned into long, summer days with sunshine to spare. Brown grass is giving way to green. This new season brings a much-welcomed change.

Life is full of seasons, too. I've begun to realize that my appreciation of the most pleasant seasons is deepened only by knowing something different. Peaks seem higher after valleys. Duller days are a foil for the gorgeous ones. In my life I have been blessed beyond measure, but I don't think I realize it fully until I have something else to compare to. "You never know what you've got until it's gone."

For example, I enjoyed the years of my life spent in "full time ministry", where my daily work was visibly spreading God's Word. Now I work a job that seems less spiritual. This occupation is enjoyable too, but in a different way. How is producing a road builder's rate guide furthering God's work? I know it is, in a way, if I am sanctifying the Lord in my heart. Bible curriculum development and teaching is squished into evenings and weekends during this season. This I know: if the Lord allows me to give my time more fully to Him again, I hope I will do that with a much deeper appreciation. Being in ministry is a privilege: one that I may have taken for granted too often.

As a kid, time was fairly easy to come by. Summers between years of school were whiled away in hammocks with books or helping with kids' clubs. I enjoyed my free time, but now that my time off is much more limited, I realize what a valuable trust time is. I knew before that it was important to make good use of time, but now I understand at a new level.

These are just a few examples, but the list goes on. A dental bill reminds me of the good ol' days when mom and dad paid my way. A cold shower is better if I sweat first. Maybe it's just me, but the carrots I planted, watered and weeded last summer--even with their sunburned tops--seemed extraordinary. Going back to store-bought carrots in the winter was a sad adjustment. Time is teaching me the value of the hard days, heightening the joy of the sweet seasons.

I'm sure you have some contrasts of your own. We don't fully appreciate good health until we're sick. Precious friends are more valued when they leave: we ache for those times we took for granted. God indeed works "all things" together for good. I'm thankful for the seasons of life, my tutors in contentment, thankfulness and appreciation for God's sovreignty.


  1. Thanks, Julie, I love your writing. I'm praying for your future ministry. Remember, the Father spent 30 years preparing His Son for a 3 1/2-year ministry. And you'd probably be surprised at the ministry the Father is accomplishing through you right now.

    Jason Sipes

  2. Mr Sipes -- I appreciate your insight about time (I think of Jacob, Moses...many others who waited and were taught over time)...thanks for your encouragement.