Shaggy Maple Homestead

Honoring God in all we do on the homestead

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Winter: A Season for Rest

I was listening to a podcast recently on the seasons God built into our earth and into our lives. The book of Ecclesiastes paints a portrait of those ever-changing seasons:

"1To everything there is a season,

and a time for every purpose under heaven:

2a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

3a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to break down and a time to build,

4a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

5a time to cast away stones and a time to gather stones together,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

6a time to search and a time to count as lost,

a time to keep and a time to discard,

7a time to tear and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,

8a time to love and a time to hate,

a time for war and a time for peace." -Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

And it really got me thinking about life seasons. By the time autumn comes to an end, everything on the homestead seems a little tired and weary- used up and worn out. In a way it feels like our family is in an autumn season. Over the course of the last two years, our family has experienced a miscarriage, accidental death of livestock, death of loved ones, birth of a baby, new jobs, joys and successes, trials and failures. And it seems that there is indeed a season for everything.

But the more I pondered my current life season, the more I began to think that rather than being in a singular season of winter, with death, fading, transitioning, loss, my current life season is a bit of an amalgam of seasons. I am a Christ follower, experiencing the refreshing spring rain of a renewed prayer life. I am an excited wife in the summer of of supporting my husband in his accomplishments of his new job as a firefighter; I am a joyful mother of children, who welcomed baby number 5 this past June, treasuring up the memories we build together each day, and also a homeschooling mama persevering through the autumn weariness; the transitional phases of newborn and toddler and preschool and elementary age littles and hoping that the spiritual and moral tilling and pruning will yield fruit in the spring and summer. I am a grieving mother, still shockingly saddened at times by the loss of a pregnancy. I'm a grieving granddaughter, mourning the losses of both of my grandmothers, who passed within two years of one another. But none of these are mutually exclusive. In fact I have both grief and sorrow, joy and mourning, life and death, fear and peace, doubt and hope all simultaneously.

In some ways, it seems as if there isn't time to process it all at once, and there isn't. But each comes as a wave, sometimes unexpected sorrow and grief, and sometimes surprising joy and contentment. All are a part of life, and all drive me to my knees in prayer to my Heavenly Father, whether in joyful gratitude, or humble supplication.

But the thing that is most sticking with me through all of the various seasons within seasons is the consistency of the transitory nature of this world. The truth that in all of it, only Christ remains truly constant and unchanging. As the autumn season ends, and we prepare to put the gardens to sleep, and we cull and sell livestock, the chilly reality of winter rest settles in. There's a quietness that dwells on the land, a wintery hush that swallows up the sounds of life and summer, when everything slows down and leverages the coldest, darkest weeks of the year for slumber.

In my own life, I'm looking to put to rest all the baggage I've gathered throughout the year- bitterness, grief, sorrow-, and to lay it all down at the feet of my Savior; to come to Him for rest from weariness, and to be rejuvenated in His presence as I wait for new life that comes with the spring. Even the coldest winter will not last forever, and even the darkest of nights will come to an end. And as the writer of Hebrews says, "We have this hope as an anchor for our lives, safe and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain." (Heb 6:19, HCSB)

Hallelujah! Come, Lord Jesus!