As I headed for the river bay, the freezing autumn wind bit through my sweater and scarf.
Warm sunlight streamed across the choppy water and broke the chill a few degrees.
So many changes had unfolded over the past week. Each one weighed on my heart as I turned my back against the breeze, sat cross-legged on the pier, and opened my journal.
Everything whispered a new season. With a strange mix of sorrow and anticipation, I kissed old things goodbye and welcomed new things into my life.
The bittersweet traces of changing seasons are etched on every life. God tells us in His Word,
“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under the heaven:” (Eccles. 3:1a, NKJV).
The next few verses go on to list common threads—or “times”—in the ebb and flow of living (v. 2-3):
Being born and dying. Planting and harvesting. Killing and healing. Breaking down and building up. Weeping and laughter. Mourning and dancing.
The list continues to pour out more times of life in the four following verses.
Each time, each circumstance is different depending on the person, but the changes are still distinct and visible.
Here are some times that have touched my life and the lives of those around me—
Perhaps they parallel yours or that of your loved ones as well:
- Friendships ending, new ones beginning.
- Good health gnawed away by chronic illness.
- Teen years lived, crossing the edge of adulthood.
- Singleness replaced by love and romance.
- Life fading, death coming.
- Broken hearts mended by His wounds and time.
- Parents made into grandparents.
Although seasons are a natural part of our lifetime, it can be difficult to adjust and accept the change they bring. Often, I find it hard to practice gratitude during the transition period between different seasons because their newness can be scary, sweet, and sobering all at once.
I have discovered three steps to take when seasons change:
1. Don’t waste time you’re given during each season
Each season only comes once. It can last as long as years or end as briefly as days or weeks. Sometimes, I’m filled with regret that I did not live a period of my life to the fullest while I could because those days, once gone, can never be regained or given again.
2. Trust God has orchestrated the circumstances
How I plan my days and dreams is shabby compared to God’s exquisite design for my life. The more I let go and trust His design, the more beautiful and fulfilling each season becomes. Life goes more smoothly and can be enjoyed more richly from the heart.
Even if life is turbulent with uncertain or unexpected circumstances, I can rest in this promise,
“Man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps” (Prov. 16:9).
For all my stressing and planning my life the way I think it should go, He is constantly redirecting my steps and orchestrating everything for good.
3. Believe He is making everything beautiful—in time
God gives particular beauty and gifts during every season; every second of it is planned by Him. There are certain ways He wants us to serve in that particular set of circumstances.
“He [God] has made everything beautiful in its time…” (Eccles. 3:11a).
The One who fashioned time and is outside of time has given us various seasons for everything in life. Although the changes they bring may be uncomfortable at times, it is comforting to know is that each season is unique, orchestrated by God, and beautiful.
With this truth glowing brightly in our hearts, let’s endeavor to live every second, every time, and every season fully.