As I drove to work one morning, surrounded by six-foot piles of snow on either side of the road, while the rain simultaneously fell and hit my windshield, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of joy! Joy because we’d hit the time of year where the seasons collide once again, and the much-awaited spring weather was on the horizon! I have often heard people talk about the “seasonal blues” that they feel during the long winter months here in Minnesota, but I have never been one to struggle with them myself. The last few weeks, however, was a different story. For some reason the endless winter months had begun to wear on me. I found myself longing for sunshine and warmth like never before! Maybe it’s because of the endless amounts of snow that continued to fall week after week or the fact that winter had seemed to hit earlier than usual this year, but for whatever reason, this season felt different. Harder for some reason.
As I went about my day, I couldn’t help but draw comparisons to the seasons of life. While the seasonal weather changes can have an effect on us psychologically, I began to realize that the struggle I was feeling had more to do with the season of life we were going through than the physical weather outside. Don’t get me wrong, I do desperately want physical warmth and sunshine outside as well! But we had been going through a difficult season of life in our family. The business of life was taking a toll, the load of ministry, pregnancy insomnia causing sleepless nights, toddler transitions, multiple family members navigating health scares, the list could go on. But I had grown weary. I was weary of the difficult season we were in. No matter where I turned, there was no way to alleviate the load of the season. As the snow physically accumulated outside, I was also feeling the load of life pile on, one thing after the other, with no reprieve. I was longing to feel not only the physical warmth of a new season, but also the restoring of my soul that David talks about in Psalm 23. I was longing for the season of life to change.
As I sat at my desk looking out at the collision of rain and snow piles, I was reminded that just like the changing of weather seasons here in the great state of Minnesota, seasons of life come and go as well. Sometimes the seasons of life change much quicker than we are ready for; I have learned this quickly watching our daughter grow up! But sometimes the opposite is true. Sometimes life seasons linger much longer than we would like, and we find ourselves growing weary.
I found myself at a crossroads of sorts. I had two options of how to handle this season. First, let it overwhelm me and crush me under its load. Or second, learn to embrace it. Grow within it and let it stretch me beyond what is comfortable. Now, thankfully for us as believers, we do not have to embrace the challenges of life on our own. Matthew 11:28-30 says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Jesus WANTS to walk with us through the yuck of life. Through the difficult seasons we face. And not only that, but He promises to give us rest within them! We don’t have to wait for the season to change in order to feel a refreshing of our souls. Jesus meets us where we are and provides rest and refreshing in that place. All we have to do is come to Him!
We also see in Scripture the importance of community (Colossians 3 and Galatians 6). God created us as relational beings that need community. This need to be in community is felt more strongly when life is hard. Being surrounded by a biblical community that supports you, prays for you, and points you back to God can make all the difference in enduring the seasons that life brings. At Friendship Church, we not only have the church community at large, but we also have the blessing of being a part of a LifeGroup! A smaller community that we get the privilege of doing life with. Sharing the joys, trials, sorrows, and excitements that life brings! When life gets hard, we pray for each other and care for one another. When life brings joyous occasions, we celebrate with one another! We do life together, no matter what it brings.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” Not every season is easy or enjoyable, but they all have their place in life. Every season grows us in unique ways and the hard seasons we experience give us a new appreciation for the joyful, less difficult seasons of life. When the difficult season collides with a more joyful season, there is a renewed sense of hope and joy that comes with it. A sense of appreciation, not only because we get to move on from a difficult season, but because of what we have learned and how we have grown closer to Jesus and the people around us through that season. Just like when the long Minnesota winter begins to collide with spring!
What season of life are you in? Are you in a difficult season or a season of much joy? Are you in a season where you feel like the load of life is too much to carry? Like it keeps piling on more and more? Or a season where you feel happiness and warmth? Regardless of the season you are in, remember this: Seasons change! Sometimes more quickly than others, but they will change. If you are in a joyful season, embrace the joy that this season has! If you are in a difficult season, embrace it, draw close to Jesus to find rest within Him, and surround yourself with a community that will support you, pray for you, and walk through the season with you.