Is It Berry Pickin’ Time Yet?

I don’t like the season of winter.

It gets dark around 5:00 pm.  I feel like it’s time to go to bed.

And it’s not just because I’m getting older!  As far back as I can remember I’ve always disliked it.  I need light – light makes me feel so much more alive.  It gives me energy.  Darkness zaps me.

summerGrowing up in Washington state, the seasons of the year were much more distinct than they are here in Texas.  Even though we didn’t get a lot of snow (except in the mountains), you knew when winter was getting closer.  Come September the leaves would turn colors, and then they would start to fall off quickly.  By late October most of the trees were bare, and the sunshine that made us so happy during the summer and early fall was gone – disappearing sometimes for weeks on end.  Lots of fog; lots of rain; lots of blah.

But then one day you’d start hearing birds chirp once again.  Buds would begin to burst forth from the trees, and people would eagerly wait for it to warm up a bit so we could run outside, plant our flowers and gardens, and bask in the beautiful sunshine as much as we could.  I actually think we got sun-deprived sometimes since it would rain so much up there!

Yet it also made us appreciate the warm sunny days even more when they came.  You’d grab your picnic basket and find a beach or park to spend the day at.  Or head into downtown Seattle and walk around the waterfront smelling the freshly caught seafood and ogling all the interesting people roaming around down there.

When my sister and I were young our family had a ski boat, and every sunny weekend we’d usually be out on the lake.  Mother would waterski, and then we’d find a place to tie up and have a picnic.  When the berries would started ripening we would take the boat and coast down the Sammamish Slough, pulling up alongside bush after bush of wild blackberries.  We’d eat and eat, and then gather even more to take home with us.  The days were long, and often we didn’t get home until around 9:00 pm.

Sometimes mother would make homemade blackberry jam, and we’d spread it on toast in the mornings.  Such a sweet treat!

There were also miles and miles of blueberry farms not far from our house.  That was actually one of my first jobs – sitting for hours out in the fields picking fresh blueberries.

Unfortunately I used to eat almost as many as I picked, so that job didn’t last long…

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As I’ve been sitting feeling a little grumpy about the winter season rolling towards us, I’m also reminded of life in general.  How just as we have 4 seasons that divide up our calendar year, so we have seasons in our lives – usually many more than 4 of them!

And, did you realize that the Bible talks about seasons?

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 says:

  1. For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.
  2. A time to be born and a time to die.  A time to plant and a time to harvest.
  3. A time to kill and a time to heal.  A time to tear down and a time to build up.
  4. A time to cry and a time to laugh.  A time to grieve and a time to dance.
  5. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.  A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
  6. A time to search and a time to quit searching.  A time to keep and a time to throw away.
  7. A time to tear and a time to mend.  A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
  8. A time to love and a time to hate.  A time for war and a time for peace.

King Solomon, the writer of Ecclesiastes (and the son of King David), probably went through them all.

Be strong andSitting here pondering the above passage, I realize that I’ve gone through many of these seasons, as well.

Some of the seasons have been really long, such as the healing season after losing our 2 year-old son, Matthew.  It was really hard, and really bumpy.  Yet the season passed, and even though my husband and I still sometimes grieve for what we could have had, we choose to trust that God’s purpose and plan for that season has been worth it.

And when I sit back and think about it – I know it has indeed.  Because going through that season really made me experience just who Jesus is.  It brought me to Him.

And I’ve never looked back.

Going through that particular season has given my husband and I opportunities to share with others the truth that when you stay tightly entwined with Jesus you can make it, no matter what you’re going through.  For, He is the God of All Comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

There is also the very long season that we’re still going through with our son Jeffrey who has cerebral palsy.  Our hearts grieve, but the Lord keeps mending us and giving us hope.  And, through these experiences we’ve also been able to share with people who have children with special needs – encouraging them to keep going.  That they can make it too.

I’ve gone through many seasons where I feel like I’ve just been searching.  Searching for what exactly the Lord would want me to do with my life.

And seasons where I’ve found myself in tears a lot.  Seasons when dreams have crashed to the ground and I can’t seem to lift my head from my pillow.

But then there have also been seasons where I’ve been giddy with happiness and joy.

One season that I seem to keep experiencing over and over is when I should speak and when I need to just be quiet.  Sometimes my tongue seems to have a life of its own – lashing out, and often at really not good times.  Yet my Father has always been faithful; and through those seasons He has always taught me lessons, sometimes in a hard way, but always very necessary.

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I’m sure you also have experienced many seasons that God has allowed in your life, haven’t you?  You can have the greatest of all vacations, and then come home and experience pain and hurt beyond all comprehension when a loved one dies, or a friend does something inconceivable that throws you to the ground in your grief.

Add a headingWhat about those seasons that seem to recycle themselves?  I have so many friends who have had recurring health issues.  They get a clean bill of health, and then a few months later they find themselves getting news they don’t want to hear.  Over and over again.  Sometimes you can’t help it – you start to question God.  Why God, why?

However in Psalm 37:7a, it says we’re to be still before our Father, and wait patiently for Him.  No matter what season we’re going through, God has a purpose.  He allows us to go through seasons in our lives to refine us and help us to grow into the beautiful child that He wants us to be.

Isaiah 58:11 says:  “The LORD will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.”

Yes, He lovingly gives us seasons full of laughter, joy and dancing; but He also allows us times of suffering.  But please remember that no matter what season you’re in, He will provide what you need.  And, that there’s always a new season around the corner.

Some of the seasons will be short, and some will be long.  However, it’s a season – and God promises you that joy will come in the morning (Psalm 30:5)!

So are you going to remain so focused on the season that has you entrenched in its clutches right now that you’re failing to embrace the new season that the Lord is trying to place upon you?

Are you so focused on the darkness that currently surrounds you that you’re failing to see the glimmer of light that’s peeking its head through?

There’s a beautiful song called After the Rain, that I’ve held onto for years.  Take a moment and listen to it.  Jesus is right there with you, friends, so hold on tight and feel His hands reaching out and holding you close as you go through the storms of life.  A new season is right around the corner.

 


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