It’s a Season….

About 14 years ago I was in throes of teaching full time and attending school full time to complete my teaching credential.   It was pure insanity.  Some days I would be at school from 7:30am – 3:15pm, jump in my car and zip over the hill to St Mary’s in Moraga and attend class from 4-10pm, stay up grading papers and preparing for the next day and then climbing into bed only to do the same thing again the next day.  It was pure and utter insanity.  But, I didn’t have a family at that point, I was young and fairly energetic, and it only needed to be sustained for 6 months.   I kept reminding myself of my mantra during that time.  It could have easily been “I think I can, I think I can…”, but instead, it was always, “It’s a Season.”

Sitting in church a week ago, hearing about all of the fun opportunities for service & involvement, I noticed my heart beating a little faster.  I was getting excited for a chance to plug in and serve, connect with the community.  MLK, Jr Day of Service…..Tutoring…..viewing the movie Race to Nowhere….the youth Thank You Fair….the Women’s Retreat…..

I was so excited.  And then it dawned on me that few, if any, were real options for me.  {warning:  this post isn’t meant to be a sob story…bear with me….}  I got a little sad/annoyed/let down/frustrated, sitting there realizing the place I’m in these days.  It’s a time where my needs and desires and priorities really need to come fourth behind Matt’s, Alex’s and Drew’s.  And when they come fourth in line, I can’t get all cynical and bitter and annoyed.  Because.  It.  Is.  A.  Season.

Many folks, especially many MOMS, have traveled this road before me.  Many WANT to travel it and are unable to have kids for reasons beyond all of our comprehension and thus, don’t have the *gift* of being fourth.  And many are in this stage NOW and are my companions if I’m vulnerable and let them in.

I truly have no reason to complain or get grumpy.  My husband goes way way way way out of his way to arrange his schedule to allow me to see girlfriends, have some alone time (aka:  grocery shopping late at night!  ha ha), and find others to provide support when work makes it impossible for him to be present.  But, I’ll confess….. even with all of the love and support, I still get grumpy and lash out, saying things I later regret.

On Sunday while at First Presbyterian in Berkeley, I had the chance to hear Tim Shaw preach on Justification using the text of Galatians 2:1-21.  I loved the chance to hear some “meaty teaching” as Tim shared.  It was a reminder of how often we just don’t “get it”…and by “it”, I mean that we live in anxiety that we aren’t good enough vs. settling into the grace of the gospel.

I love how Tim reminded us that the “key verse”, Gal. 2:3, might get lost typically and that it won’t be etched on a coffee mug or beautifully embroidered.  Paul states to the Galatians, “But even Titus, who was with me, was not compelled to be circumcised, though he was a Greek.” In this seemingly ODD verse, we see a truth.  Agitators at that time in Jerusalem, were telling folks that faith in Christ was good, but it wasn’t ENOUGH.  It had to be accompanied by strict adherence to the laws.  Titus, in other words, was willing to go against the law, and to focus on what was truly important…the unconditional {UNCONDITIONAL!} nature of God’s love and grace.  As Tim reminded us, we have the tendency to follow the teaching of the agitators….to forget the truth that we are loved and accepted no matter what.  To apply the truth of the gospel in our lives means that we are called to look for patterns of behavior where we’re trapped, enslaved and stuck.  For me, looking for the patterns of behavior that are messed up in my own life could take a long time.

Tim shared that Earl Palmer, former pastor at First Presbyterian, often says that “marriage and family are amateur institutions….they need to be places of grace, learning and growth.”  And that’s where all of this started meshing together for me.  Often times, as I mentioned earlier, I find myself bitter, annoyed, frustrated, short tempered with those I love most.  WHY IS THAT???  Why are we so quick to be so mean to those we are closest too?  I know the psychological answers to that question, but why is it so hard to actually turn those “knee jerk” reactions around and choose to speak and respond and act differently?

I am going to make an effort to keep getting up, trying again, saying “I’m sorry” and attempting to live out this truth.  God’s embrace, Christ’s love for us, the gospel, is the central core of what I need to be about.  This teaching is hard.  Facing challenges.  Embracing unknowns.  Interacting with my family and friends.  These are the areas where this truth and this teaching need to be applied and lived out.  And even though I’m just “in a season”, not able to participate in all the activities and opportunities that might grace my inbox, I have a choice to make.  How will I live out the gospel in my family?  With my kids?  With others whom I share the literal streets of Sunnyvale when I zipping around in my car?  Will I respond with bitterness, agitation, and desperation to be elsewhere?  Or….will I choose to face situations by applying this truth?

Hopefully this wasn’t too preachy.  You can blame Tim for that since I took most of this from his message.  But even if this whole train of thought isn’t your deal, I hope it still encourages you to think of places in your life where you feel stuck and trapped.  And instead of approaching those areas with excuses and blame and frustration, to instead choose to respond differently with love as the foundation.  And if you come up with any tips on how to do it, let me know.  I’ve got a lot of work to do and need all the help I can get!

One thought on “It’s a Season….

  1. What a wonderful balance of the seasons — especially with the photos. Your message seems to be a longing for summer — the one last season not portrayed in photos. I’m amazed you find the time to carve out for this type of reflection. And that is all about balance, too. Elaine

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