Monday, December 17, 2007

For Everything There is a Season

I enjoy reading Ecclesiastes. The more I read it, the more I become aware God wrote that for ME! Being a creature of habit, I like my continuity. I'm not so good with change and I like to know what I can depend on to be the same. I am routined. Boy, God has really shaken me up these past 4 years!
Over the last 4 years I have seen more change in my life than I have in my entire life span! We have made more friends; we have lost more friends (from death, from selfishness, from distance); we have had 3 children and getting ready to have #4; I have been of ill health; we have had more money and not-so-much money; we have moved 4 times (not all once a year); and we have gone through some of the best and worst times of our marriage. My faith on all levels has been tested, and quite honestly, there have been times I have failed the tests. But praise God, He doesn't fail me! Amen! I have been stretched and beat up more times than I ever thought possible- often times by those I loved the most. We have dwelled in the valley and longed for the mountain tops. But, through it all, it too has passed. This has been our season of change. I cannot say I have loved it- on the contrary; I have beat my chest, laid prostrate before my Lord, questioned His leading; wondered if He really does love me. All of this not because I thought I was above the trials life offered, but because I thought I had paid my dues already. My eyes have stared into the eyes of hell and I have seen Satan work his evil first hand. Coming out of that, I was for sure my God found me exempt of any other ill-workings of this fallen world. WRONG! I love that He gives us no more than we can handle. The question is, how long will we try to handle without Him?
When I was growing up, our pastor would end the message by saying. "God is good." and then the congregation would reply, "All the time." He would say, "All the time," and we would retort, "God is good." I think that gave some people the wrong impression. We were never meant to have easy lives. Jesus, God with skin on, didn't have an easy life. Why would we be above that? What we forget is our whole life is a season.
We were made to live forever, but our bodies gave out on us the day Adam took the fruit in disobedience. I love this next part... We are but passing through! If we could grasp that concept the way we live our lives would totally change! No more would we even be concerned how much our jeans cost. We wouldn't plague our hearts by allowing filth through what we watch or read because we are only here for a season! We don't have time for all of that!
I can not begin to explain the flack I get for being college educated and choosing to stay home with our children. And now that we are struggling to pay our bills (or it's more like we decide who is going to get paid this month and who will have to wait), the criticism and under-the-breath comments flow freely. But I know why. We are raising Jesus-lovers and warriors for the Word. It is no accident we have 3 boys! In such a time as this, we need men who have learned to love Jesus! Sadly, they don't do it naturally. Scripture is so clear that we are BORN evil- we don't have to learn it. That means in July, when I am nursing my sweet baby ?, I will not have to teach that child how to be bad. I won't have to give lessons on how to cheat, steal, lie, throw a temper tantrum, or be deceitful. No, no,no, that will already be the default mode. Knowing scripture is right when it says,

"Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him" Proverbs 22:15 (and no, we don't beat our children with rods, we have a Mr. Spank).

I know it will take EVERYTHING I have to combat that. I must teach that while we are walking up the road. It must be seen as I interact with the cashier who is slow as molasses; my boys need to value life as we choose which bugs to kill and which ones we let out the door. I can't pursue those opportunities after working a 40 hour a week job. I personally can't do it working any job, but that goes back to the beginning of this blog when I said I'm not good for change. There are some women who can. Kudos for them! But I am pursuing my Master's because I know my children are teachable from me for only a season.
The day will come when they no longer will take my word for it. They will question and pull away from me; but it's our job to make sure they have been ingrained with the truth. It's our hope we can provide an obsequious passage to those they can run to who reinforce what we have taught them.
So, in this seemingly unending season of change for us, I hope I am brave enough to pick up the lessons He has laid out for me. I pray I do not get so side-tracked from things that are so unimportant I miss out on what truly is important.

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven... What does the worker gain from his toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him." Ecclesiastes 3:1, 9-14