Seasons

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.

. . . . . .

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?

A Time to Give Thanks

Give thanks to the lord for he is good! His mercy endures forever. – Psalm 136:1

I like to view thanksgiving as an opportunity for me to really focus on the good. As I have been preparing my apartment for the Thanksgiving feast, I marveled at how far I’ve come in a year. This time last year, I didn’t want to see my family, and I certainly didn’t feel thankful for a darn thing.

But this year is different. I feel thankful for quite a few things. Some things I have written about here, some I have not yet. November isn’t over, though, so neither is the Thankfulness Challenge.

As you spend time with your family on this day, I pray you would find yourself in a space of gratitude at some point. Reflect on how God has blessed you. You may not be in exactly the place you want to be, but the Lord is right there with you and is blessing you along the way. And that, in itself, is something to be thankful for.

thanksgiving-2903166_1280

Time to be Thankful

When November arrives, we all seem to get a little more thankful. Maybe it’s the cold weather, the reprieve from the blazing summer months. Or maybe we just feel a little guilty about not feeling as thankful or being as good at expressing our thanks during the rest of the year. Or, maybe it’s just the holidays. Either way, the month of November and the Thanksgiving holiday remind us to be thankful.

Throughout the past year, I’ve had a difficult time reminding myself to be thankful, even for the little things. The first November I was swept into this storm, I felt like I had nothing to be thankful for. That wasn’t true, of course–I was alive, I had Belle, I had the cats, and I had a loving and supportive family. And all of those things are still true. So why has it been so hard to be thankful?

I started creating a gratitude log in my bullet journal, but I struggled to remain consistent and fill it up. I always ended up writing the same, non descriptive things, and when I looked at it, instead of feeling thankful, I felt sorry for myself. Is this all? I would think.

So, this year I am challenging myself to be thankful for at least one thing a day and to be specific in that one thing.

For the month of November, the theme here is going to be thankfulness. Each post will have one thing I am thankful for, with a brief explanation as to why. At the end of the week, I’ll sum up what I was thankful for that week.

But this isn’t just for me. I want to encourage you to find reasons to be thankful, especially if you struggle. If you want to join the challenge, join my email list. I’ll send some reminders and motivation and ask intentional questions to get you thinking about what you can express gratitude for. And feel free to link back here if you decide to share this journey.

I am looking forward to finding all the ways I can be thankful, and I hope you are too.