On our trip to Langley Island Nick and I came across a massive bookstore with new and old books, complete with an entire upstairs section just for kids. Elias is just getting into reading & every afternoon and every night, we climb into our favorite comfy brown chair and read something. Our family and friends have bought him massive amounts of books, but we were missing him on our little babymoon, so we perused the children's section until we found one to bless him with. We settled on one with beautiful pictures - Ecclesiastes 3 (to everything there is a time...) set to the illustrations of a South African rural family. I thought it would be a sweet way for E to hear scripture while physically seeing what "a time to plant" and "a time to embrace" looks like.
We haven't even read our new book to Elias yet, because at the moment - he's stuck on 'Good Night Moon' & his children's Bible. Nevertheless, that book and that passage from Ecclesiastes have been on my mind for the past few weeks.
I've always read that passage instructionally... My mind picture looks something like this: I'm an elementary school student running through the halls, slipping as I round the corners, rushing not to art or computer lab - but the next season in life. I'm hurrying to the next babe, or city, or job... frantically searching for the next friend or level of life. Jesus, my ever-present hall monitor is standing just in front of me, arm & hand outstretched - signally me to stop, repeating this refrain... reminding me "there is a time for everything... slow down."
It's just in the past few weeks that I've begun to recognize this is what's happening in my head and how wrong it is. My women's small group has been talking about praising God and this week we've been bouncing back and forth emails of things we're thankful for. I've felt overwhelmingly compelled daily to thank God for Ecclesiastes & and specifically - that it is so true.
Not only did He create us, give us a way back home when we fled and promise to lead us until we get there - but He provided seasons for us to make it through this sin-stained earth. Can you imagine if the first half of Ecclesiastes 3:2 was missing? What if there wasn't a time to be born, only a time for death? What if there wasn't a time to be silent and only a time to speak? My thoughts are so wicked and my tongues is so loose - if that were true, I'd have no friends and certainly no husband. And while we can be sure we live in a fallen world - what if there was no promise of a time for peace?
I think the gift of seasons is truly why we can ENJOY life in Christ. I can always praise God regardless of my circumstances if I'm in a period of death or strife because I know He's good - I know He's faithful. However, I can enjoy and find joy during those periods because I know they will end. And for the good seasons - I can enjoy them all the more because I know they're temporary and they won't last forever. I'm able to push through the annoyance of late pregnancy and ignore the fear of post-surgery pain and middle of the night feedings because I know this beautiful time of birth is a massive fleeting gift and it has an expiration date on it. Eventually, possibly sooner than later, my body won't be physically capable of carrying or birthing babies. Rather than live in fear for that date, I'll live in joy of my present season.
Likewise, I daily mourn the distance between my loved ones back east and I. That sad feeling of loss is real and painful, and still I can find joy in my Savior because I know the time to dance is coming. So today, I'm thanking God that Jesus is truly not a frustrated hall monitor... He's a giving friend and Lord who didn't stop at saving my soul, He blesses it as well.