Seasons

3 To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:

A time to be born,     And a time to die; A time to plant,     And a time to pluck what is planted; A time to kill,     And a time to heal; A time to break down,     And a time to build up; A time to weep,     And a time to laugh; A time to mourn,     And a time to dance; A time to cast away stones,     And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace,     And a time to refrain from embracing; A time to gain,     And a time to lose; A time to keep,     And a time to throw away; A time to tear,     And a time to sew; A time to keep silence,     And a time to speak; A time to love,     And a time to hate; A time of war,     And a time of peace

I would imagine that just about every Christian has read or heard this passage at some point. It has been used in church services by pastors to teach that, even though we may be walking through a bad time in our lives, things will get better. It was used in the classic movie Footloose by the character played by Kevin Bacon to explain to the city council that even the Bible indicated that dancing was a part of our lives.

But, in spite of a former post, this post does not regard dance. This is a post about seasons. We all have experienced different seasons in our lives, and I’m not just referring to our age. God has given me a life with many different and varied seasons.

As a young adult, I was a public school teacher. I loved that season! I taught music to elementary school students. I gave them opportunities to explore sounds and compositions that most would never have heard. At one point, I had been playing music by American composer Aaron Copland. I wanted students to hear this music that is often built around American folk songs. My favorite piece is “Appalachian Spring” so my students heard it more than once, especially the “Simple Gifts” theme toward the end. One morning while I was walking through the halls, a couple of students ran up to me and spoke so quickly that I could barely understand what they were saying. They animatedly told me that they had heard “that song” on a TV commercial the previous night. Sure enough, a car company had released a new model and had used that theme in the commercial. I hope you will get to experience this at some point, but if not, let me make sure you understand this. When you have taught something to students (for example, that “classical” music is beautiful and fun and functional) and then they run up to you with the proverbial light bulb on over their head because they suddenly understand, it will give you the most incredible feeling. You actually reached someone! You’ve made a difference in their life. You gave them a gift they wouldn’t have had without you. I didn’t reach all of the students I taught in my career, but I reached them.

Then God gave me children of my own and I moved into a new season. I became a stay-at-home mom when we had our 2nd child. The stay-at-home mom season is one in which there is no glory, no fame, no riches, and no rest. Instead, there is plenty of pee, poop, vomit, blood, and snot. No glory. But I would not trade this season of my life for all the gold in the world. Because I stayed home with our children, raised them, homeschooled them, trained them up in the way they should go, and cared for their every need (but not their every want), I have a relationship with my children that most parents will never know. My older son, who is currently serving in our armed forces, calls me just to talk. No, I’m not always at the front of his thoughts, but he’s okay with being seen with me in public. I’m even Facebook friends with his girlfriend, and when I won an election last fall, she called to congratulate me. Our baby is about to graduate from our homeschool this year and, although he is not a touchy-feely person, he will still tell me he loves me. Well, at least sometimes. This is a season with no glory, but many rewards!

We even had a semi-season in the midst of raising our children in which we were foster parents. That was an interesting season and one I will address at another time since it is what prompted a career in politics.

As my younger son is preparing to leave home, I have been transitioning into a new season. About five years ago, I began dabbling in government and political affairs. Not too much, but I got in deep enough to run for office last fall. I regularly attend political, governmental, and educational conferences and I’m learning, growing, and sharing information with constituents and elected officials.

What? Government and politics? I promise, if someone had told me twenty-five years ago that I would be a conservative Republican, I would have fallen over laughing. If they told me that I would run and be elected to an office, I probably would have had a stroke.

But God doesn’t do that, does He? No, he gives us the “lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.” He doesn’t show us the whole picture. And He only gives us grace for the day, just what we need today, but not grace for what we will do in another season.

Now that my own children are leaving my home, I would love to have more children in my house and become a foster parent again. But God has made it abundantly clear to me that He’s not giving me the grace to do that in this season. This is a season to research, write, be at government and political meetings, and serve the general public. Yes, raising children may have greater rewards, but then, I don’t think I can muster up the grace to handle the diapers, colds, stomach flus, and sleepless nights by myself. So I’ll just stay in this season.

I’m very thankful that this season, unlike those before it, includes a time to dance.

~Temerity Dowell

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