By: Patti Wharton Johnson
I used to love to sew.
My three children, at the time too young to realize matching clothing was something they apparently should have protested, happily wore all that I created on my simple machine. I relished the days of creating while being a stay at home mommy to our three little blessings.
When my youngest was about five, something changed. Somehow, life got even more busy than it already was. My final sewing projects became victims in the fallout of a list of things "put off until later." I can still see the little pink flannel nightgown pinned to the tissue pattern pieces, along with three matching "almost finished" Christmas outfits. Every time I would run to the sewing room to patch a pair of pants, or sew on a button, they were there, a testament of my failure to complete what I started.
Over time, the unfinished outfits came to represent a kind of albatross around my neck, forever reminding me I did not finish well. One quick glance towards the mending basket and I was immediately reminded that I was obviously not "enough.” I had become captive to a project whose season had clearly passed. I kept the unfinished pieces even though my children eventually outgrew them.
When we moved to a new house, I carefully packed my partially completed projects and brought them along. Some part of me still tried to convince myself that the sewing season might return. As years passed, any time we would look at old family photo albums, my much older children would now roll their eyes at "those clothes,” while I just stared misty eyed, glowing and internally reveling in the wonderful memories of my three little matching babies.
God's Word tells us "there is a season and a time" for everything. In Ecclesiastes 3, He gives multiple examples of this truth. Seasons change. God's intention for His children is that we learn and grow through these different seasons of life as we move through them. The lessons of "a time to plant" will be different than the truths we experience during the "time to pluck up what is planted." If we are to experience the full cycle and blessing of sowing and reaping, we must not only plant, but also be willing to harvest when the time is right. And so it is with each and every new "season" we find ourselves in.
How wonderfully freeing it is when we are finally able to let go and realize the end of one season in our life journey is simply the beginning of another. Like the caterpillar who must rest inside the cocoon for a season, we too can rest in knowing that God's plans are good through each season of our lives. When the time and season of change in the cocoon is complete, the caterpillar will eventually emerge and take flight as a beautiful new creature. This is our Creator's plan, and it is good. Likewise, we will experience many seasons of change. Our Heavenly Father requires us to let go of the old as He brings us to a new levels of growth, trust, faith, and understanding.
The beautiful and ever changing seasons in nature serve as a reminder of this truth. The cold of winter is necessary to prepare the bulbs to grow in Spring, and to bloom in Summer, and to die back as Autumn approaches. If we pluck the blossoms on a grapevine too early, they will never become fruit. If we keep the fruit on the vine too long, it will be ruined. Seasons change. This is God's good plan with "every purpose under Heaven.”
Would we hold on so tightly if we truly realized holding on to things of the past might be getting in the way of the joy, the experiences, the learning, the growing, and the fruit bearing of our todays? Life changes inevitably occur. We can trust that the seeds dropped from the wilting vine will produce the new growth of a coming season.
Do you hold on to things, ideas, or plans whose season has passed? Do you feel guilt, failure, or "less than" when you think or look back at unfinished plans? What would it take for you to be willing to let go of some of yesterday's stuff (ideas, plans, dreams, wounds, and personal agendas) in order to make room for the season you are currently in?
Word of the Day:
“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.” Ecclesiastes 3 (KJV)
Heavenly Father, Thank you for the changing seasons of life. Help me to grow through each one and receive the grace you freely offer when I am found clinging to remnants of season's past. Help me to take time to experience each joy in my current season. Help me to recognize your mercies are new every morning, and to rest in knowing that though life often brings change, your love and grace are constant and sure.