Author Margaret Feinberg wrote a blog about seasons of life and challenged readers to identify the season of life they’re currently journeying.
That’s because I don’t think we’re ever in just one season. My life has seasons, most definitely. But typically it’s not just one at any given time, but a combination of many seasons that I’m traveling, juggling, surviving … and sometimes overcoming.
For example, I am definitely in a season of grief. I’ve been in this season before, at the very bottom of what seemed a bottomless pit, when my husband died 12 years ago. I was in a raw season of grief again when my daughter, my only child, moved away to college and I came home to the emptiness of physical separation from my best friend and someone to mother full-time. That season of grief actually started a good year prior, when I knew her plans to leave were cast in concrete. It ebbed and flowed as she married, moved to another state, and then to Haiti to be a missionary with her new husband.
My current season of grief is a really difficult one. It is one of intensely missing and longing for the physical nearness of my daughter while all my closest friends (no exaggeration here, I literally mean every one of them) enjoys either having children still in their home or adult children living nearby, many of those with children of their own. I deal daily with scenarios like one friend putting pictures on Facebook of a weekend vacation with her son and his girlfriend, and another calling to excitedly tell me she’s on the way (a trip of a whopping 5 miles from her home) to help her daughter give her new grandson his first bath “because his umbilical cord fell off today!”
To be honest, just writing these sentences is making me cry.
But grief is not the only season I’m in right now.
I’m also in a season of new opportunities (and, hopefully, growth along with that) as a writer, of freedom with my time, of relearning how to be a loving wife after 9 years of widowhood, of new experiences and adventures with my new husband, of discovering new things every day about the world and about myself. Of learning to deal with my grief in a healthy way. Of practicing expressing gratitude every single day for the many blessings, lessons, and tender grace showered upon me.
I’m in seasons of figuring out how to be a long-distance grandma, of trusting instead of worrying (a lot easier desired than actually accomplished), of new volunteer opportunities helping abused and vulnerable children, of exploring new friendships—and finding creative ways to hang onto long-standing ones with women whose lives, like mine, are experiencing frequently changing seasons.
Not all seasons are welcome or kind. Some are downright and universally painful and scary. But in most of our lives, those dark seasons are mixed with concurrent seasons that are lovely, some of them expressions of beauty from ashes. For example, when my husband died, I found myself not only in a season of grief but also one of great love in the form of repeated little rescues by great friends, barely-known acquaintances, and even total strangers.
If you make a list of the seasons of your life, prioritize them in terms of growth and peace. Put the hard seasons at the bottom of the list. Focus on the top of the list as much as you can. Be hopeful about those at the bottom. Remember that your life—just like you—is multi-faceted and changing all the time. Let yourself be seasoned—not with hardness or bitterness, but with the grit and grace and peace and maturity that will lift you up and allow you to lift up others.
You’ll also like Grit Without a Hard Heart, You Can Manage Seasons of Change, This Is Your Brain on FOMO, and When Life Gives You a New Normal, and Mixing up the Seasons Of Our Emotions.