Just as we experience seasons with the weather, we experience seasons in life. Just as with the weather, some seasons we enjoy more than others. But every season has a purpose. As this winter and this holiday season set in, I can't help but think back to where I was last year. Not physically, but mentally. I know I'm different now, and I know God has changed me.
All last year I felt I was in the middle of a hurricane or tornado or some other severe weather pattern. I was on shaky ground. My world had been turned upside down. I was being batted around by negative thoughts and crippling anxiety and depression. I prayed that I could just find shelter and stay huddled until it was all over. Maybe if I closed my eyes, plugged my ears, and screamed it would all go away.
God answered that prayer, but not in the way I anticipated. Nothing changed overnight, and nothing has happened in the way I had specifically asked God for it to happen. But I had prayed to find shelter in the storm, and I did: in Him.
At first, I started with prayers of desperation and heartache. Every prayer was a literal cry for help. In every prayer, I begged. I attempted to bargain with Him--"if You do it this way, I'll never ask You for anything again." But as time moved forward, those prayers transformed from "change this" to "change me." And when I finally admitted--to myself and to Him--that I couldn't do anything, I gave Him room to move.
And move He did. I have a better sense of identity now. I know more about not only who I am as a person, but also who I am in Christ. I have a better sense of my calling and my passions. I know what I can and can't do in a variety of circumstances. Above all, I've realized I cannot expect another human to fulfill a hole or a longing they could never realistically fill anyway.
What felt like a long, cold, stormy winter has transitioned to what feels more like fall. Yes, I know that's not the real order of seasons, but that's the best way I can describe it. I still hope for things. There are good things that I can see, but there are still things I feel are missing. So, maybe then it's more of a very early, dreary spring than fall.
Don't be deceived. It took me a long time--about a year!--to get to this point. A year of introspection, of crying, of wanting to sleep it away, of reading, of therapy. And I'm not still not 100% okay, still not perfect, still not exactly where I want to be. I'm still a work in progress.
It's the most difficult season I've had to navigate, but, while I would never wish it on anyone, I can see now that God will use it, and has used it, for a purpose. It's really the first time I can say that I know God works things for good.
And that's why today, on this last day of the thankful challenge, I'm going to risk being thankful for something that may be controversial: this season. But being thankful for a thing and being thankful for what it has taught you are different things. I'm not thankful that it happened. What I am thankful for is that God has used it to make me a better person and that He continues to use it to show me, and others, that brokenness doesn't define you or scare Him.
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What is your favorite season?
Do you need to be thankful for a particular season in your life?
Have you ever been grateful for something out of the ordinary?
Is there a difficult circumstance you're facing where you need to see God's goodness? Or did you see His goodness on the other side of a difficult situation?