Maria A. Mansfield
The Seasons That Change Us
9-28-2021 - by Maria A. Mansfield
This month marks the beginning of Fall in the Northern hemisphere and Spring everywhere South of the Equator. Fall is one of my favorite seasons. It starts as a chiller version of Summer and then evolves into a postcard of gorgeous trees tinted in all shades of yellow to burgundy.
In the same way, I feel like we also experience different seasons in our life. Although they might not be as clear-cut as in Nature, looking in hindsight, we recognize how each season defined us and changed some part of our lives to some extent. Of course, not all seasons are the same. Still, they offer opportunities that hopefully make us wiser, stronger, and more resilient as they chisel at our character and core values, shaping us into who we are.
Many of the seasons we go through are full of joy. Thankfully, others might bring renewal, new beginnings, and even love. Fortunately, others bring breakthroughs, achievement, and success. And, my favorite, the ones that render second chances, redemption, and hope, to name just a few. We all love these seasons! They're sunny and full of excitement. They energize our days and bring out the best in us. But then there are the other kinds. Those seasons we experience challenges in which they almost get the best of us. Those when there's uncertainty, stress, loneliness, failure, disease, or loss. We feel less than our best at these times. How do we navigate these seasons? What works for you? What hasn't? If we're honest, we don't always have the correct answers. Sometimes we just wait our seasons out in the hope they will eventually pass.
My Mother-in-law, I love her, she believes that: "Experience is overrated." She's totally convinced, so I asked her, "How so? Her answer is genius. She says that when you go through an experience, you probably won't face the exact same challenge twice in your lifetime. And if you did, it would still be in an entirely different context. Although some may glean from the lessons you learned, they still might not be able to resonate with your exact same struggle either. Seems like once you finally know the answers to a particular challenge, all the questions for the next one will have changed. So maybe she's right after all!
I want to believe that even if we cannot change the lived experiences in past seasons, we can still redefine our beliefs about them and see them in a more positive light allowing us to make peace with them. Because we're still here today, it means we were able to somehow overcome all the challenges we've faced so far. Maybe it wasn't a "somehow" but a "Someone."
What season are you in now? Are you aware of what it looks like? I believe whichever one we're in, although it might seem permanent, it won't be. Whatever we're facing, if it's a dark season, it will eventually pass. Whenever there are shadows, that means there's a light nearby. On the other hand, we don't want it to end when we're in a fulfilling season. Yet, the new seasons bring us new challenges, new growth, and continued learning opportunities. It's interesting how we're sometimes caught so off guard at the impermanence of our life seasons. -Why?
I believe faith is a gift we all receive from God. We cannot earn it. We can't repay it. And although sometimes we might think it's lost or dead, -it's not. It's still inside of us. The giver of a gift will never hear the receiver say if they can pay for the present. It's a gift! Although some will say they don't deserve the gift, the giver knows it's not about the receiver earning it for their performance. It's about the love shown by the giver through the present.
I sincerely hope this new season brings you and your family all positive and lovely experiences. But if that weren't the case, remember your faith and Who gave it to you. My faith is not always enough. Life is real. But even when my faith has wavered, God remained faithful to his promise to never leave us nor forsake us.
God is the giver of all good things. I hope you find comfort in the gifts he gives us when we ask for his help in any season we face. We don't need to be strong all the time. We can't. But we can ask for help. He always listens. Always. So I wanted to share with you the times I've experienced firsthand these unique gifts in different seasons of my life. I hope they encourage you because they're available to everyone.
When we're in a season of waiting, God grants us the gift of patience.
When we're in a season of stress, God offers us his unfathomable peace.
When we're in a season of loneliness, God promises us his holy presence.
When we're in a season of love, God blesses us with sacred unity.
When we're in a season of joy, God shows us sheer delight.
When we're in a season of failure, God extends his embracing mercy.
When we're in a season of brokenness, God shows us his relentless love.
When we're in a season of lack, God meets our needs with his faithful provision.
When we're in a season of sickness, God extends his healing and hope.
When we're in a season of loss, God embraces us with his loving compassion.
When we're in a season of season of success, God shows us unconditional support.
When we're in a season of learning, God offers us increased inspiration.
When we're in a season of confusion, God provides us with higher clarity.
When we're in a season of healing, God infuses us with his mighty strength.
When we're in a season of transformation, God encourages us with unfailing grace.
If your season is not on this list still, you can ask in faith for what you need this season. He will bless you and get you through it. God walks with us through every season of our life.
Happy Fall and all my best for you in your new life season,
Maria A. Mansfield, PRS