Seasons of Life and Purpose

We just got back from one super long, great and memorable family vacation, which is why I haven’t written in so long.   I thought I’d relax and blog on the trip, but that obviously didn’t happen.  John’s idea of vacation is packing in full days and seeing as much as you can see, so that’s what we did and it was a great time.

My favorite person in the whole world to be with - even if he loves to drive and drive and drive and drive
My favorite person in the whole world to be with – even if he loves to drive and drive and drive and drive.

We drove over 50 hours in all and visited Yellowstone, my sister and her family in Steamboat Springs and John’s sister and her family in Colorado Springs.   We laughed a whole bunch, saw amazing sites and just enjoyed being together.

Not our best picture. The funny part is we actually thought it turned out until we looked at it.
Not our best picture. The funny part is we actually thought it turned out until we looked at it.
A somewhat better one, but family selfies are a little hard. I am NOT buying a selfie stick. We saw a guy get hit in the head with one :/
A somewhat better one, but family selfies are a little hard. I am NOT buying a selfie stick. We saw a guy get hit in the head with one :/ No joke…

If any of you read my last blog, you’ll be glad to know that the rest of packing day proceeded quite well.  Everyone got packed (half-grown one’s suitcase even closed – can you believe it?!), the house was pretty clean and the smiles when we left were genuine.  I felt that this was some cause to celebrate.  Usually a few smiles are missing at the end of packing day due to my nagging and general bad attitude that I am the only one who does anything around here, why won’t you help?, this will never get done, I don’t care what you need, it’s all about me attitude ninja cleaning and organizing skills.  I think I am actually learning that while a clean, organized house is nice, good relationships and grace are a lot more important.  This is good.  This is God – really it is.

Anyway, back to our trip.  I found out that we are in a different season than we used to be and it just kind of happened all of a sudden.  You know how fall kind of sneaks up on you and then all of a sudden the trees are awash in beautiful colors?  It struck me as we were driving and driving and driving and driving that we had no complaining, endless potty breaks, fussing or entertaining that needed to be done.  I looked back and they were listening to music with headphones, listening to the Les Miserables audio book (instead of Veggie Tales), playing games or just enjoying the scenery.  Trips used to be crazy and really not all that fun which is why we didn’t go on any many.  Mostly we went to Kearney, NE just two and a half hours away to visit John’s family and even that trip consisted of swinging toys over a crying baby, cleaning up smashed cheerios from the floor or spilled milk from a sippy cup, stopping to nurse, stopping to change diapers, listening to crying just because there’s nothing else to do, praying they’d sleep in the car and heaven forbid – NOT MISS A NAP! Naps were the rulers of our day.  I didn’t mess with ‘The Nap.’  Even when they were a little older, the car would get a little long.   I didn’t realize how much our season had changed.  Now they joked with each other and said things that were witty, hilarious and so grown up.

I was already thinking this way when I went to visit my sister in Steamboat Springs.  She is amazing – really she is.  Her little guys are only 10.5 months apart and her life is kind of like uncontrolled chaos right now.  Showers are pure luxury – well anything is luxury.  Her favorite line before someone is coming over is, “Well, I better put pants on.”  I mean who has time to get dressed with a 7 month old and 1 and a half year old?  Not all toddlers are created equal, I am the first to say, and hers is one busy little guy.  Three of us watched them once at my house and had to eat dinner in shifts.  We watch video footage of the kids almost every day because they’re that entertaining together.  I’ve never seen such pure love between two siblings.

Katie - totally dressed and out and about with her two.
Katie – totally dressed and out and about with her two.

After we left my sister’s family, we went to Colorado Springs to see John’s sister and family.  They have a three year old and brand new little guy.  Their little girl is so sweet and expressive.  It’s so fun to watch the pure excitement for life that she has and their little guy is so sleepy (kind of at the wrong times, but sleepy nonetheless) and in that newborn snuggly stage.  Their house is a lot quieter right now than my sister’s, there’s just not a lot of sleep happening.

My sweet niece and nephew.
My sweet niece and nephew.

My sister-in-law and I had a long time to just talk and hang out and something she said really gripped me.  She used to be an accountant and then owned a boutique downtown for a while before becoming a mom.  I noticed a peace in her that I had never noticed before and a confidence that was beautiful – even in the middle of jangled postpartum days.

She told me some things that God has been speaking to her and that this time around has been easier because she understands her season.  She said, “I will be a hundred different women over the span of my life and right now it’s my season to be a mom.”  

When she was talking I began thinking, “YES!  That’s it!  That is where the profound peace, contentment and confidence is coming from.  Understanding the season we’re in brings all of these things.  If we’re living in a frenzy, constantly discontent and lacking confidence, perhaps we are trying to live out of our season.  We need to understand the seasons of our life.  This is not a stay home/don’t stay home thing, but it just became so clear that we need to understand our seasons and what God has for us in the season we’re in.  Sometimes we can look so far in the future, we miss the present and other times, we can’t seem to shake our past – good or bad.

This applies to all of us no matter who we are and what we’re doing. Of course our decisions will be different and look different and that’s fine.  God thankfully hasn’t called all of us to live the exact same lives. That would be really boring!  So many times we try to grasp things for our lives that are meant to be in other seasons.  I see so much about ‘finding our purpose’ and this grasping that keeps happening when so often it is just a mirage. Our purpose isn’t separate from who we are.  God is using the seasons of our lives to beautifully make us and form us into who He designed us to be if we allow Him to.  We need the season we’re in for the next season He has for us.  He wants to be working throughout the seasons to mature us and grow us up, hopefully – if we let Him.  So often in one season, He plants a seed and in the next season it’s a little plant and the season after that it’s mature and full-grown.

Ultimately, our fulfillment will only come from knowing Him and from THAT our purpose will be fulfilled.  When we are intimate with Him,  obedience will follow.  Out of intimacy flow trust, love and faith in who He is.  Purpose is the outflow of a life that is intimate with Him.  Intimacy with Him is central to all seasons.  It may look different in one season than another, but if intimacy with Him is not central to our life, we will never be content and always be grasping.  That doesn’t mean don’t dream, or pursue things because those are often God-given, but we just need to make sure that He is the center and those things are for the season we’re in.

If it is the season, there will be peace along with it.  So often, a telltale sign that something may be out of season or not for us at all is if the drive behind it is to prove our worth.  Anytime that drive is there, there definitely needs to be a heart to heart with God so that we can get His view.  Sometimes when we think our current season is not valuable, we begin grasping at things to try to prove our worth to ourselves or others.When this happens, we desperately need His perspective.  In fact, I have found that sometimes He NEEDS to change that before He can allow us into a new place.

I’ve mentioned this before, but He very specifically had me step out of some things and slow way down because I wasn’t seeing clearly.  Sometimes He needs to clear the fog of busyness or what we think we should be doing so that we can see.  When I am asked to do something or want to take on something new, I now take time to check my motives and pray about it. I find that I used to be often motivated by what others thought of me.  I couldn’t enjoy where I was and was always reaching for something else.  I felt kind of ashamed to say that I really really enjoy being a mom and homeschooling the kids.  I do absolutely love it.  Clearly not every day has me singing that song, but as a whole, I wouldn’t rather be doing something else – right now.  That doesn’t mean that I can’t see myself ever doing something else or that I don’t have things I look forward to or hope to do.  In fact, something that we have wanted to do for years, God has recently shown us that we are now in the season for.  We are super excited!  It is clear now that had we tried to do this sooner, the timing would have been wrong. I used to feel so guilty for enjoying the season I’m in because I thought it seemed so ordinary and unorginal, but understanding and knowing my season has helped so much.  I wish I would have sooner like my sweet sister-in-law.  My sister seems to have a pretty good handle on it too.  I watch her give and give selflessly to her babies with not much of a break and I am amazed- they are both such wonderful moms.

I think that God wants to unattach our purpose from our worth and when we find our worth in Him – He will fulfill His purpose in and through us.

Philippians 1:6 And I am certain that God, who began a good work within you will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

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