Here we stand on the edge of another season. The calendar says it’s Autumn, but the weather isn’t so sure. The trees hint at shades of orange while summer refuses to step into the shadows with October still in the high 80s here in the PNW. However, the early morning dew and chilly evenings betray the facade of summer.
I get a little sappy and reminiscent in the fall. Maybe it’s simply the softening of the days I’m feeling, where nighttime surpasses daylight, causing us to reach for the comfort of indoors a little sooner.
Or could it be because it’s the time for the kids to head back to school? With each grade they leave behind, I’m reminded of how short my time with them is. After all, one is already in college, my middle son is a senior, while the youngest is shedding childhood before my eyes as the teen years stand ready to enrobe him. My mama’s heart feels this transition deeply, and the process of letting go isn’t an easy one.
I can’t help but feel the parallel between summer’s warm fingers not wanting to release the thermostat and my relentless grip on this passing season. It’s hard to let go of one season for another when we’re not quite sure we spent it well.
The days are long, but the years are short.
My knees get a bit weak, and my stomach ties in knots when I allow myself to wonder if I did enough with the years my boys were small. Especially because I spent so much of it depressed and anxious. When this temptation arises, I often think of this quote about motherhood; the days are long, but the years are short. I don’t know that I’ve ever heard a truer statement.
When we’re in the thick of it, we forget that today is truly all we have while we long to be out of a hard season. And as we grow older, the years get shorter, and we come to realize we can’t go back. It’s a futile circle of wanting to be where we’re not.
I know it’s useless for me to try and right the things I perceive I did wrong or where I was not at my best. And yet, I so often find myself caught in the circle. Instead, I must trust that what I did do is enough. And I know I have to release the things I feel I didn’t do well to the One that holds my boys’ futures, as well as my own.
I’m confident I’m not alone when I say I’d love to stop time or at least slow it down a little. Maybe put life on pause, and tell the kids to stop growing and life to quit moving at a breakneck speed. Perhaps then we could figure it all out and make the perfect choices.
Looking behind while bracing for what’s next
I wonder if you’re like me and struggle in the changing season because you’re either too busy wishing you could have a do-over or you’re bracing for the impact of what’s coming next? You know you’re not “supposed” to live in the past or the future. But how many of us actually live this way? I doubt many.
Friend, I have no clue where this crazy roller coaster called life will take us next, and while, yes, that thought can be frightening, it can also be thrilling. So, the question is, how do we practically live in the moment we’re in?
A paradigm shift
What I’ve come to realize is—like most things in life—we must shift our perspective to change our response. To truly be present, we must choose to rest in the truth that God has a full-proof plan rather than listen to our what-ifs and if-onlys. So, whether you are fretting over your mistakes in your past or the unknown of your future, one thing stands true; you can absolutely trust God with the unknown as well as with the missteps. He is behind us and before us. In every season.
A season for everything
I don’t think I’m alone when I say it’s hard to believe every season we go through matters equally in the broad canvas of our lives. And yet, God tells us they all matter. He tells us there is a season for everything, and in every one of them, there is beauty and purpose. It’s extremely difficult for me to come to terms with the seasons I feel were wasted by fear and depression. However, when I shift my mind from my knowledge to God’s, I find the courage to trust that He has a purpose even in the worst season.
Choosing to live in the promise of potential
The days were long when my boys were small, and I had no idea then how short the years would feel as they grew. I am grateful to know now what I didn’t know then; every moment is precious, even the ones I don’t love being in. They all matter, and they all work together to create a story that wouldn’t make sense otherwise.
While we cannot slow down time or stop the inevitability of the season’s change, we can choose to be present in each one. Friend, you and I can choose to listen to the promise of potential rather than the whispers of what-if and if-only. It’s an art we must practice to become proficient. But I think we can learn to embrace the beauty that comes in each season by choosing to have a grateful heart rather than a regretful one.
I’m willing to try if you are—we can work on it together.
As always, friend, thank you for stopping by,
Susan, I love your message here. And I so appreciate your insights and encouragement within.
Visiting today from G&T
Susan McIlmoil says
Thank you, Paula. I’m so glad you enjoyed this post.
Donna B says
Susan, I love autumn and the changing of the leaves and welcoming a new season. I don’t always welcome the uncertainty of new life seasons, as easily! Thank you for the reminder than God never changes; I have been meditating on this truth much lately.
Susan McIlmoil says
Thank you for stopping by Donna!
Linda Stoll says
Susan, I love your writing, I hear your heart. Life seems to be a constant stream of transitions, changes, and unexpected turns. So grateful that God doesn’t change like shifting shadows. What an encouragement that is …
Susan McIlmoil says
Thank you, so much, Linda. And I agree, I’m so grateful for God’s unchanging ways and constant faithfulness. Thank you for stopping by today.