Monday, October 3, 2016

A New Season

I’ve had many seasons in my life; some wonderful and some I thought would never end. Sometimes I felt God was right beside me and other times I thought he had forgotten all about me. We all experience these different, ever-changing seasons. They are part of life. The truth is God’s presence doesn’t change. He is always right there beside us, but we may not always realize it at the time. Often we don’t realize how present God was in our season until it passes.

We experienced a very difficult season that I thought would never end. My sister, Robin and I took care of our mom for 25 years. She lived with us so she was right smack dab in the middle of our lives.  She slowly developed dementia and caring for her became more and more difficult. Sometimes she would be an angel and other times she would say very hurtful things to us. I didn’t realize at the time that it was the disease and not Mom saying those things. I took it personally and really struggled with her stinging words. I would have conversations with God, telling him I didn’t believe she even loved us any more, even though we did everything possible to care for her. I guess I just vented to him instead of praying, but he was silent most of the time. I’m not even sure what I wanted to hear him say, but he just let me pour out my heart to him every night.
I felt my life was slipping away at times and that God was distant and uncaring. I wanted him to wave a magic wand and make everything easy and comfortable. Sometimes I felt anger, resentment, and even numbness. I wondered how such a loving and caring God could be so distant and detached from what we were walking through. I finally resigned myself to repeatedly praying for peace and joy in our home because it had somehow gone missing over the years. I clung to worship in our church because it was my source of strength to face the unknown.

I remember one morning waking up tired and just not ready to face the day. I took off my clothes and stepped into the shower with my eyes still closed. I just didn’t feel 100%. As I showered I began to pray, trying to pump myself up. I remembered a verse in Romans 8:30, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (NIV). I started repeating to myself “I am more than a conqueror.” However, I didn’t feel anything like a conqueror at that moment. Then, as I looked down, I noticed I was still wearing my bedroom slippers. They were sopping wet. I had to laugh out loud. Yeah, I was more than a conqueror.

It’s been four years now since our mom went to be with the Lord. We miss her terribly. But we know she is in a place where she will never have to face sickness again. Her journey is just beginning and never ending.

Now we are in a new season and just recently Robin and I were talking about how hard those years were, but how we can see God’s hand in everything we walked through. Those times we thought he was distant and cold, it turned out he was working on our behalf. We traded stories back and forth about God’s faithfulness in all of it. Why didn’t we see it before? He was there all along, right in the middle of it all.  He gave us strength we didn’t have and favor to open the doors that were closed when searching for options for Mom’s care. Now I can see that he was not distant at all in that season, but very close.

I’m reminded every morning of those prayers I prayed for peace and joy that seemingly fell flat. Every morning when I get out of bed I walk to the front of the house and look out of the windows to a beautiful lake. I stare and thank God for his strength, peace and faithfulness. I take a deep breath and feel a sense of calm and joy. Without fail I look out over the beautiful, peaceful view and recall Ephesians 3:20: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” (MSG) Even when we have friends over they often comment that they feel such a great sense of peace in our home. Now I understand I can trust him through any season, whether good or bad.

No matter what the changing seasons bring, we can rely on the fact that God’s ability doesn’t change. He is always able to do more than we can ask or imagine and his power is always at work within us, even when we don’t feel powerful.  He walks through every season with us no matter what it may bring. It’s in his strength that we are more than conquerors, even when we find ourselves standing in the shower wearing nothing but our soaking wet bedroom slippers.

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