Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “For everything there is a season, as time for everything under heaven.” For me, the changing seasons are a reminder of that. When the leaves start to fall, when the first snowflake floats across the sky, when the flowers start to bloom, and when the heat of the day takes our breath away, well, those moments serve as reminders that life is full of change. There are beginnings and endings and stories and moments in between. And honestly, I am thankful for that change. I don’t want to stay in November forever and relive that moment my husband boards a plane for Afghanistan. I don’t want to stay in the season of deployment or sickness or family crisis. I need rebirth. I need change. I crave the smell of freshly cut spring grass and the sound of summer thunderstorms. Changing seasons remind me that there is always hope.
What he told me was this....
"I don't live in those seasons, but they are a part of me. There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about being in Afghanistan. I don't dwell on it, but it is a part of who I am."
I had to think about it for a moment, and then I agreed.
I think about the seasons of life that have changed me, that although I don't wish to relive those moments, they are a part of me and have made an impact on my life.
My miscarriage was probably the first thing that came to mind.
There is rarely a day that goes by that I don't think about that season. In a matter of weeks, my life changed. From finding out that you are pregnant with baby number 4 to finding out that child has stopped growing to actually losing your baby from your body.....that changed me. I never knew that I could love someone I've never met face to face that much. I never knew that baby would still be a part of me. As I sat looking at the stockings hanging from the mantle last night, I fought back tears, knowing that an almost two year old should have a stocking up there too.
But in all that devastation, I learned something else. I learned just how much God loves me.
Now, I don't know why I had a miscarriage. I'm not going to question those specifics. But I do know that God took care of me. He provided for me in so many amazing ways. Through my husband, my doctor, my nurses, and my friends and family, God's love was evident. The peace He gave me is indescribable. And now, I'm more aware.....I'm not claiming to be the best mom in the world by any means, but I've learned to focus on my children, to give them my full attention, to cherish each moment with them. I find myself just watching them, taking them in, deep into my soul. Their love, their laughter, their innocence.
Jeff's deployment also changed me, impacting who I am today. Deployment is rough, I'm not gonna lie, but God works through all things. He provided for our family during deployment. He kept my husband safe. He gave me peace during times that I thought there would be none. He gave me an amazing church family to care for us and pray for us. I've learned not to take my husband for granted. He is a gift, an amazing husband, father, and servant. As I've watched him care for his soldiers, I am moved. He has a gift, an ability to connect with others and speak truth to them.
And through this thing called deployment, I learned that I'm not alone. There are women who did this before me, alongside me, and continue so after me. I've learned all the more that I don't have it all together, and that's just fine. As long as I have God, He will provide for me in ways I could never imagine.
And as I type these words, I'm seeing a pattern.....Do you?
It's not in those mountaintop moments that I realize how much I need God. It's in those valleys when it seems hope is gone, when I feel lost, when I feel afraid, when I'm weak....it's those moments that I realize my great need for Him. And it's then when I feel Him closest to me, when He reveals Himself to me in amazing ways.
Those are the Valleys of Blessings.
And I'm thankful for them.
Without those seasons of life, I would become prideful. I would push God aside and claim my victories as my own. But Christ is the one who has overcome the world for me. And so I am thankful for those seasons that remind me of my neediness for Christ.