Thursday, January 5, 2017

Are You Enjoying This Season of Life

When I was growing up, the only things I wanted to be "when I grew up" were a missionary, and if God allowed, a wife and mother. I worked toward being a missionary, assuming that no matter what, that was God's will, but I wasn't sure His plan included getting to be a wife and mother. That would be a bonus. During my teenage years I spent my summers on missions teams, I attended missionary conferences, and I met missionaries. I went to missionary prayer meetings. I gave to missions. Eventually, I went to Bible School, where I met a man who felt the same call of God. When God confirmed our relationship, He gave us an amazing love for each other.

Eventually, God led us to Lima, Peru. I can still picture the street we were walking along there when we came to the conclusion that our Spanish studies and adjustment to our new country were moving forward, and we wanted to try to start a family. Ten months later we were parents of a son!

I don't remember the moment we decided to try for a second child.

That brought us into a season I refused to enjoy--secondary infertility. Every month was a disappointment when it became clear that no baby was on the way. Twice babies were there, but they died in my womb early in the pregnancy. I'm pretty sure having a second child was the only thing I could talk about. If I could do it over, even not knowing that one day I would have three more children and at least six grandchildren, I wish I could trust God more and learn to appreciate what He was doing in my life during that season. I do know that I enjoyed my little boy to the fullest and got to do things with him that later I could not do with the others because I was busier.

God led us to adopt a little girl. Shortly after she joined our family, another son was born to us. Life was busy! Two babies eight months apart and a five year old. There were those days. There were those women who said things like, "Little children, little problems. Big children, big problems." And "Enjoy them now, these years go by so quickly."

Eventually God moved us to Colombia and gave us another daughter. I loved my life there. It was full of opportunities to teach women and watch new believers grow in the Lord. The ministry was exciting and fulfilling. My kids were in school. There were those days when school was hard, the kids didn't understand, and the teachers didn't understand my kids.

Health was always a struggle. Thyroid cancer followed by the onset of asthma took away my spark for quite a while.

Life moved on. One child was about to leave home. That was so hard. I would wake up in the middle of the night with a panicked feeling that he was leaving and would never live under my roof again. God must have laughed at me because He sent us on furlough for a year, and my son lived with us during his junior year of college. We got to know and love his girlfriend who today is his wife and mother of their four children.

A time of change in ministry came. My husband took on a whole new role. No longer were we missionaries together, but he was the International Coordinator of Emmaus Correspondence School. I had no idea what I would do. This was his work. It took me quite a while to find my place in our new local church.

Health problems intruded again and I had four surgeries in two years before things were resolved.

I was able to start working with the women's ministries in an administrative role. Something I never wanted to do, but God has given me joy in it, even though I still struggle to keep track of all the details. God has someone alongside me who picks up all the pieces I drop.

With one child married, two away at college, one in high school, and my husband working at an office instead of out of the home, my life became different. Then the fourth one went to college and lived on campus, even though it was only a mile away. She was home, along with other family in town, for lunch every Sunday. Were we empty nesters?

The middle two each moved back home for about a year and a half and I loved that. Then they got married and now I was a mother-in-law three times over.

All of a sudden I became a grandmother. Wasn't I much too young for this? One, two, three, and then four grandchildren four hours away. One in town. One in Germany. Three of them arrived within six months of each other. It was a little overwhelming, and a lot of fun.

Our youngest graduated from college, got a job, and got her own apartment in town. My season of life has become mom to adults, grandma, and daughter as all four of our parents are now living in the same town as us, ages 81 to 90.

I work hard at church. I'm on four committees and the head of three of them. How did that happen? I don't like administration!

...But I feel like God has given me a gift. A gift of enjoying each season of life. I always feel like I enjoy this one more than any of the others, with the exception of my secondary infertility season.

Still, if I could go back and ask that woman in her late twenties with all those little kids, she might say, "This is what I always wanted. This is the best time of life."

If I could go talk to the woman with three teens and a tween? Well...even then I remember telling people that I had never given up anything to be a missionary. I had everything I wanted.

If I could ask that woman with all those opportunities to teach other women, I know she would say it was a great time!

If I could ask the woman moving to the states, a place she had to submit to God to come to, what would she say? She was sad that her life living in Colombia was done, but excited to see what God was going to do.

If I could ask her six months later how she felt, she would have been amazed at the house God had given her, but still seeking what God wanted her to be involved in. That was a tough time, after 24 years of working closely beside my husband in ministry, now he had a fulltime "job" ministry and I was a fulltime stay at home wife and mother. But I reveled in the changing seasons of the year, each one was better than the last! Summer! Fall! Winter! Spring!

Today, I'm so busy with so many things that I'm learning to love, yes, even administration. My family is my joy...there are heartaches, there are growing pains, but I'm asking God to let me trust Him and enjoy this season of life, too.

How about you? Are you able to enjoy the season you are in now?

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  1. Thanks for joining us at the Inspiration Spotlight party. Amazing family & journey to get to this point. Right now I'm watching my grand daughter while her dad's at work & mom is on business trip. I'm glad I can do this to help them. Thankful for those little things.

  2. Just found these words of yours. Quite inspirational. I'm not sure I've enjoyed the seasons of my life as much as you seem to have , but I know that God has always been there with me in them . Thank you ...

  3. Beautiful post, Sharon! God is so good and blesses us immeasurably!



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