Weakness as my witness.

When it comes to raising teens, I’m becoming a seasoned traveller. The journey with them throughout high school is quite the emotional rollercoaster. With the desire to raise a young adult better prepared to face the demands of the adult world, it’s no small job to get them across the Year 12 finish line. In the 10 years I’ve had the privilege of parenting teens, I have observed there are some commonalities in the challenges they face. One being, that many young people desire the approval of their peers… standing out as different is something they avoid where possible. Another being, that grades and comparison to peers can become a personal definition of success or failure - no matter how much you tell them it is not. As a mother, I not only want to have words of wisdom for them, I also want to model to them what a life looks like that is shaped and defined by Christ and who I am in him. But here lies a struggle for me - the older I get the more I am aware of my weakness, sometimes to

A new perspective in grief

Typically, the beginning of a new year has always prompted in me a fresh resolve to begin or recommit to a resolution that fell by the wayside long ago; usually a casualty of the inevitable hurly burly of life and the big beautiful mess that it so often is. The turning over of a brand new calendar page will evoke in me an optimism for the year that lies ahead. I am an optimist at heart and therefore am hopeful that a new year will be a little better. Summer has naturally been a time to take stock and plan for the year ahead. 

However, this year I’ve approached things very differently. The events of the past 18 months have left on me a big heart wound. Last year was filled with so much sadness and grief, one does not simply turn the page and move on as if all that was in the past has no lasting impact on the present. While the end of a year naturally brings to a conclusion some things, feelings and emotions are a little more elusive to box up.

Rather than resolving to do and be something new, (though there are new things I am doing) I have found it more helpful to see things as if I were moving through a season. Nature so beautifully displays how that looks. It’s a gentle progression of change, rather than an immediate dramatic before and after. The vibrant green summer leaves slowly changing golden and then eventually dropping onto the ground below. Or the emerging shoots of a spring bulb breaking through the hard ground to reveal a most splendid colourful flower. The change is gradual, but also predictable. Seasons do have beginnings and ends.

Throughout the season of my sisters illness, I was often overwhelmed with grief at what was happening to her and to her family. And it was on one such day that I read Ecclesiastes 3 vs 1-4, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…” I found myself in a painful season, it was a time to weep and mourn at the passing of a life. Reading Ecclesiastes reminded me that God is in control of the seasons, there are many seasons that he allows but he puts borders around them. I am not to know how long a season may last, but I know who is in control of it, and that it will pass into something new. What follows a time of weeping is laughter and dancing. How beautifully hopeful for those that mourn.

While I am still moving through grief, I am seeking to pursue things that are nourish me. Being engaged with activities that bring me out of myself, contributing to things that are worthwhile and purposeful. Learning new skills that challenge and encourage me. And most importantly, creating space to be still, reflect and heal. These are all steps I take in a helpful direction. Yes I have setbacks and bad days, and often need a good cry. But I also have days where there’s lots to laugh about and be excited by. (One of my daughters got engaged over the summer, and the prospect of a family wedding is something that brings joy.) I am learning to be at peace in this season that God has allowed and am trusting him to lead me through it.

What season do you find yourself in? Are you discouraged that it has seemingly followed you into a new year? Take heart… God is lovingly in control. Are you beginning to blossom and thrive? Enjoy the good things God has for you. Trust him with your season.


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