Tuesday, June 30, 2009

At the Well: Seasons

Today, all the talk at the well is about seasons. Boy do I love to talk about seasons! I didn't really understand seasons, beyond the traditional winter is cold, summer is hot, etc., until a couple of years ago. Now, however, I understand that seasons are such a complex, vital part of who we are. I can think about one specific "mini-season" (or seasons within seasons) that stands out to me: our seasons of ministry.

Our first season of ministry brought many things to the table. We learned some hard lessons and we grew to understand disappointment in the most pure sense of the word. We learned to build amazing relationships and we learned that even "authentic" relationships can often turn out to be the exact opposite of what they are designed to be. We learned the logistics and structure of ministry. At then end of that season, we were broken in many ways, but we were so much stronger in others.

Our second season of ministry was amazing and truly something that only God could have done for us. We thought we were going in to do the ministering, but in reality, God placed us there so He could remind us of the bigger picture. He used that season to show us what fellowship among believers is designed to be. He used that season to heal us from any brokenness that remained from the first season. He also used that season to transition us into parenthood and teach us that ministry goes beyond what happens in a church setting. He used that season to teach us that who we are each day of our lives has a strong impact on others - people we don't know very well and people we love with every fiber of our beings, like our son, for example. God used that second season to make us stronger, to shape us, and to hold us.

Our third season-the current season- is just beginning, but I look back at the first two seasons, and see so many things God has taught us through them. I think these seasons of ministry are just so typical of God. Romans 8:28 says "We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose." "All things" includes times that are tough and things we don't quite understand. It all comes together in the end! Looking back at our first two seasons of ministry, the first one in particular, I am reminded that we didn't understand it at the time, but once we stepped away from that season and even the season of renewal that followed it, it all became clear. We don't understand everything that happens in our lives immediately, but please know that God will show you when He's ready to show you. This revelation alone often transitions into a new mini-season - a season of gratitude and purpose like we've never known before. Isn't God good?!?

I told you I like to talk about seasons! These seasons of ministry aren't exactly the seasons mentioned at the well today, but they are important to me nonetheless. In closing, each time I reflect on the seasons of ministry that James and I have shared, I am reminded that what God is doing in my life today, in every area, is molding me and preparing me for another season in my life. I may not understand it right now, I may not understand it in 20 years or 50 years, or even until they day He calls me home, but I'm positive that all things in my life, the good and not-so-good, are working together for His good.

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