Have you ever stopped to think about how different times in your life are similar to how the seasons change? What have you learned in the different seasons of your life?

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. -Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Some people are morning larks, while others tend to be night owls. I’m definitely in the first group. I love to wake up early when the house is still quiet and dark, pour a cup of coffee, light a candle, and nestle into my favorite spot in the front room. This is my devotional time, where I sit near the window and open the blinds so that I can see the first signs of morning as the sun peaks over the trees, read from my Bible, and end with prayer. It gets me off to a good start to my day.

There Is Beauty In Every Season

Recently, we had a snow day, so I got to sit and rest longer than usual. My devotional ended with this guided prayer.

“God, how majestic is your name? When I look at the sky, I see glimpses of your glory. When I spend time in nature, I’m amazed by your creativity. And when I talk to the people you place in my life, I see your beauty reflected in their faces. You are so good and so worthy of all of my honor and praise.”

As I prayed this prayer, I stared at the morning sky. It was gray and dull. The sun was coming up, but it was not a bright, warm sky. It was no longer dark; however, instead of an obvious source of glowing light from the sun, the sky was just an even shade of white as the storm clouds masked the sun itself. The snow had accumulated overnight, clung to the trees, and covered the ground. No other colors were visible except the white snow and the dark contrast from the bare trees. It was so simple, yet so beautiful. I was thankful for the extra time to just sit and watch the gentle flakes fall and accumulate on the snow-heavy branches. As little bits of daylight began to hit the fresh snow, it created a sparkle. It was as if someone had sprinkled tiny diamonds on the tips of the trees.

My body was quiet and warm as I looked through the window at this perfectly painted winter scene. It was the stuff screensavers are made of. As I appreciated the artwork God had created that morning, my mind went back to the days during this past year when I had sat and looked at the same scene, yet it was so different.

Necessary Changes

Jesus said, “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near.” – Matthew 24:32

I remembered the summer season, when the daylight hours were plentiful. The sun rose early and set late, as the earth was closer to the sun. The nature around my house was busy, active and full of color. Every day, a new flower was blooming and bursting forth a new color to add to the mural of my flower bed. Each flower bloomed in its own time: first the peonies, then the lilies, and as the last lily lost its colorful petals, the shasta daisies bloomed; filling the flower garden with a fresh coat of white.

“As long as the earth endures, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.” –  Genesis 8:22

As the season changed into fall, the same view of trees began to turn from bright green leaves into a mirage of rich, warm colors. A tree with beautiful, bright yellow leaves stood in the midst of the warm red and orange tones. It added the most unexpected and beautiful contrast. I was sad to see the final leaves drop to the ground. As winter approached and the days became shorter and the sun rose later and set sooner, a sort of sadness set in. I missed the days of beautiful colors, warm sunshine and signs of life. In the winter, everything slows down and an innate sense of hibernation seems to overtake all living things. The trees have a stark and stripped-down appearance.

“He made the moon to mark the seasons, and the sun knows when to go down.” – Psalm 104:19

Preparing For The Next Season

One year, we had unusually heavy snow in the fall before the trees had lost their leaves. The snow stuck to the leaves, and the weight of the heavy snow tugged the branches until a huge portion of the tree cracked under the weight and split the tree.
It occurred to me how important and intentional the seasons are. God’s design is perfect. He thought of everything from efficiency to renewal, and He even cared enough to throw in beauty.

“See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.” –  Song of Songs 2:11

Spring is a time for planting. We sow seeds. It’s a time of watering, tending and waiting. Summer brings growth, beauty and sunshine. The fall season comes with a full harvest of all the things that have been growing as we faithfully tended to them. The bright summer colors blend and fade into the warm colors of autumn as we store up and prepare ourselves for the harsh, cold, bleak days of winter. Losing the beautiful leaves is God’s way of protecting the tree from the weight of the hard conditions to come.

Can You Relate In Your Own Life?

I have felt the seasons change in my own life so many times. Seasons of transitioning from a college student to a wife to a mother. Hardship, pain, illness and loss, and seasons of planting, tending, and growing my young family. I have reached a new season with three high school kids, and my husband and I are seeing some of the harvest from the seeds we have been planting as our oldest child prepares to graduate high school and enter the world of adulthood.

I challenge you today to look outside. Notice the season. Resist the urge to wish away your current season. See the beauty, even if it comes in the form of a harsh winter. Embrace the season you are in. Know that God, the creator and designer of the universe, created you with great detail and purpose. He loves you and knows exactly what you need. Lean into the season, whether that be beautiful and joyous or stripped down and barren, knowing that the season will change, and His work will be revealed to you.

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