Saturday, January 18, 2014

Seasons of Love

In some of my recent blog posts I've shared about the new season of life and marriage that Jonathon and I are experiencing.  The first parts of this season were not fun, I must admit.  BUT GOD.  I think it's important to share this because experiencing seasons is perfectly normal and natural.  All relationships go through seasons.  It's how we deal in these seasons that determines whether our relationship will be strengthened and sustain, or weaken and fail.  Hmmmmmmn....  Most people want to share when they are in a summer or spring season.  It's more comfortable to share the good things.  There is nothing wrong with sharing the good things.  It is just as important however, to share, with discretion, some of the not so great things.  Now, I'm not talking about some misery likes company type stuff.  I mean, sharing for the greater good.  Sharing, so that others know they WILL face challenges, but CAN overcome these challenges.

During a Women's Night ministry at World Worship Church in Charlotte, NC, Pastor Pam Bustard discussed ways to identify and flourish in different seasons.  Although it has been more than a year since I heard this sermon, it impacted my thinking so significantly that I find it helpful to refer back to the notes I took.  I believe you will also be blessed by this message so I will share the notes below:

1) It is important to recognize the season that you are in so that you may understand the purpose for the season.

2) Winter-
     ** You often do not understand why in the winter season nothing is happening or bad things have happened.
     ** In this season people often try to make something happen on their own but it doesn't produce fruit because God is not in it. (Galatians 6:9, Psalm 1:3, Eccl. 1)
    ** Winter is a time to plan.  Stop wishing and daydreaming. (Yes, great ideas often begin as a daydream or a wish IF you plan.)
    ** Winter is spiritual Sabbath.  It is a time to rest, reflect, and gather strength for the Spring.
  
3) Spring -
    ** This is a time of opportunity.  If you spent your winter planning then you're ready for action.
    ** For every act of faith, a multiplicity will come back.  For every act of love, an abundance of love will come back to you.
    ** The pain of DISCIPLINE weighs OUNCES, but the pain of REGRET weighs TONS.

4) Summer-
    ** This is a time to protect.  You must guard against the bugs and weeds.
    **  Bugs and weeds exist to test our spirit.  ALL good will be attacked.
    ** It is in the time of trial that our character is developed. (Luke 8, Levit. 26:16)
    ** To prevent the enemy from stealing our seed we need to be obedient.  It is often the one act of disobedience in the midst of every obedience that is keeping God from blessing your seed.  (Obedience is better than sacrifice ... I Samuel 15:22)
    ** Your seed will grow f you meditate on God's word.
    ** Questioning Him and His word chokes and aborts your seed.

5) Fall-
    ** This is a tie to reap.  In this season it will be obvious if you did not do what you were supposed to do.  Excuses will not change the circumstances. (29:11)
    ** Affirmation - Discipline = Disillusion
    ** Your body is a temple so stop treating it like a woodshed.
    **  Don't allow circumstances to write your life story.

After looking at these notes again, I realize that Jonathon and I are coming out of a winter season.  Yep.  Winter.  A number of really trying things have come across our path over the last few months.  Things that have caused us to reevaluate our faith.  Things that have caused us to reevaluate our marriage.  Things that have caused us to reevaluate our life goals, focus, and priorities.  As I said, we are (Praise God!) coming out of a winter season.  Some things have had to die.  Death ain't easy.  I will admit that my attitude through some of this season has not been good.  Mmmmn actually, my attitude at times has been down right nasty.  Believe me, I hate to admit this, but it's true.  I am not perfect.  I do not proclaim to be.  I struggle.  I struggle with my words.  I struggle with my actions.  My rock, my constant, is Christ.  He keeps working with and on me.  SO THANKFUL.

Listen, marriage is a journey.  There are parts of the journey that are absolutely exhilarating.  Other parts are rough and murky.  I think it's important for me to share because so many couples are fooled by the fantasy  of marriage.  This fantasy creates unrealistic expectations and often times leads to the end of a marriage.  A girlfriend of mine said, "Jocelynn, they lied!  Marriage is not all roses and romance.  It's not a fantasy.  It's real."  I just laughed in agreement.  Now, you all have read my blog before and know that I love my husband.  He is a wonderful man.  We have a strong marriage; one worth fighting for.  The reality is however, that we experience the highs and the lows just like everyone else.  The difference is that Christ is our center AND we realize that these are just seasons.  When we forget this, the Lord always places a friendly reminder in our ear gate.  That is the wonderful thing about keeping Him in the center of your marriage and seeking Him in times of trouble.


I'd be lying if I said I didn't pray everyday for this season to end, but as Ecclesiastes 3 states:

A Time for Everything

For everything there is a season,
    a time for every activity under heaven.

A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest.

A time to kill and a time to heal.
    A time to tear down and a time to build up.

A time to cry and a time to laugh.
    A time to grieve and a time to dance.

A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
    A time to embrace and a time to turn away.

A time to search and a time to quit searching.
    A time to keep and a time to throw away.

A time to tear and a time to mend.
    A time to be quiet and a time to speak.

A time to love and a time to hate.
    A time for war and a time for peace.
What do people really get for all their hard work? 10 I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. 11 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. 12 So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. 13 And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God. (NLT, www.biblegateway.com)

So, I am thankful for the tears because sometimes you just need a good cry.  I am thankful for a partner who is willing to continuing working on our relationship.  I am thankful for a husband who never ceases to look for ways to fulfill his role as head of our household.  I am thankful for my imperfections that allow me to learn and grow.  I am thankful for God fearing friends who constantly pray for and lift up my marriage.  I am thankful for the sister/friends with whom I can have open, honest, uplifting conversation about the realities of life and love.  Most of all I am thankful for a God whose love never fails and never gives up on me.

I see the snow melting and the first tiny buds poking through the soil.  Spring is coming!

Always Striving,

Jocelynn

1 comment:

Thank you so much for reading my blog! I hope you were blessed by the shared experiences. Please share your thoughts and experiences. I'd love to hear from you!

Joce