Embrace Your Season

beach angel
We’re on a bit of a vacation this week, staying with dear friends on Cape Hatteras. Unfortunately, no one informed the children that mommy was on a bit of a vacation this week. The boys have succeeded in waking one another up the last two days around 5:30 am. And of course, once they are awake, Mommy is awake. I’ll admit I was sorely tempted to be out of sorts about it. But on the first day, as I was getting up with them God lifted up my eyes to notice the glorious sunrise bursting over the Atlantic. I turned on some cartoons for them and sat myself facing the shore.  I comforted myself with the thought, “This is a sunrise I would have missed if I were still sleeping; God wanted me to see this sunrise.”  And I praised Him for it.

Before we left home, I was looking at a stack of books on my counter and thinking about bringing them along and then just laughed about it aloud to my husband. “What’s the likelihood of reading a book on the beach with a toddler and a 3 year old running around?” I asked him. He shrugged and said, “About as likely as me taking a nap on the beach while you read.” We laughed and I brought them anyway, if only because that’s what I do: I bring books places. Today, I didn’t read and my husband didn’t nap on the beach, but we made one mighty fine sand city—I called it Minas Tirith after The Lord of the Rings. We shoveled and the boys buried our toes in sand. I jumped the baby in the icy cold crash of the surf, and flipped not a page, nor closed an eyelid. And this afternoon as I snuggled up next to my three year-old, him sleeping soundly after being kissed by the sun and lullabied by the waves, I praised God for this season.

There was a season of my life where I slept in on weekends and vacations. There was a season of life where books were devoured seaside and naps in the sun were a possibility. This is not that season. This is the season of early wake-ups, of sand on the beach blanket and in our hair and everywhere else because toddlers don’t know any better. This is the season of little boy laughter and giggles and yes, mighty tantrums too. And it’s a season of my life I longed for more than naps and books and sleeping in late on vacation. It was a season I was willing to sacrifice to know. And now I don’t want to miss this season longing for another one. I don’t want to grumble through it. I want to enjoy it. I want to be thankful in it and savor it in all its messy glory.

One day there will be time for books on the seashore and naps, once more, but there won’t be sand-castles, and baby squeals; there won’t be sandy-wet baby footprints on the tile or a boy angel snuggled up next to me on my pillow—his breathing coming soft and steady as the waves.

All seasons are a gift. All are to be cherished. All we need to do is lift our eyes to the break of light we would have missed otherwise. All we need to do is open our ears to the sounds only this season can offer us. With eyes wide open and ears a-tune to the moment, we’re right where God wants us: present and thankful in the now.

Wherever you are today, embrace your season. Open wide your eyes, turn your head to hear the sounds of how God is loving you in the midst of your now. And give Him thanks, right where you are. You will never have this moment again to give to Him in praise.

 

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Comments

  1. Kristi says:

    Thanks for your post, Catherine. I’m going to play the cynic here though and give my honest response. I understand that motherhood is difficult, and I know that you are aiming to minister to moms. But, motherhood is something that you signed up for. It’s something that you longed for. And it something full of many blessings. The times that are hardest for me are the seasons that I did NOT sign up for. I did not sign up for singleness in my mid-30s. I did not sign up to go to bed alone at night, to figure out everything from my finances to how I will spend my free time on my own. And, I have no indication of if/when this season will end. There is not a “terrible twos” to embrace that I know will only last for a short while. This is my heart’s trouble, and it is hard to find joy in the midst of it.

    • Catherine says:

      Kristi, thanks for your honest response. Having been single into my thirties, I know intimately of that time and the longing and the unknowns of which you speak. That’s part of the reason that now having received the gifts of marriage and children, I don’t want to miss them with a grumbling spirit about the parts that are hard. I think you’re right that the hardest seasons are the ones that are seasons we did not choose and season which we do not know how long they will last. Whether its a mother on bed-rest with a high risk pregnancy wondering whether she will make it full-term, the couple struggling through infertility, the single person longing for marriage, or the mother of many who finds her husband suddenly and unexpectedly walking out on the family–these seasons which we feel powerless to change and did not choose are the hardest, especially when we don’t know if they have a terminus. But I do know that if we are believers, we must hold resolutely to the wisdom of God’s hand at work even in the midst of these unchosen seasons. For while we did not choose them, God is working all things together for our good, including these. His wisdom is perfect and His love for us is perfect also. I’m so glad that in that long season of singleness for me that I didn’t waste the special privileges of it. While my heart ached and there were days and weeks where I did give in to self-pity, overall, God helped me (as I know He is helping you) to make the most of that special season. I think about the chance to take long-term trips to Cuzco, Bogota, and later Rwanda, about the ability I had to pour into the church-planting efforts and discipling efforts of the Church of the Rez when it was still in its infancy, and I think about even quiet moments I had to nurture gifts like writing or interests in painting. Those are things which would be difficult to do now, at least in the way I did them then. And even beyond specific things I was able to do, I think God had a special way He showed His love to me in that time that was different than now. He showed me His specific and particular love for me as a husband to my heart. Knowing you, I know you are embracing your season as well (you have done so much for His kingdom in your particular season–it’s beautiful and breathtaking–I hope you can see that as clearly as those around you see it about you!), and whether or not marriage is part of the unfolding story of your future, I know the season you are in will change in significant ways you can’t now see. That’s why we have to grasp this day for God’s blessing to us in it. We’ll never have this day back to give to God in praise. And we can open our eyes to see His grace in the midst of even our unwanted circumstance and bless Him for it or we can miss it. Thanks for your question because I think its an important one for all of us because we all face those unwanted and unchosen circumstances often many times over throughout our journey.

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