As a child, I always looked forward to whatever new season was approaching. I recall the restlessness of hot August days and my excitement at the prospect of new books and a new teacher for the upcoming school year. In fact, I regularly had difficulty sleeping the night prior to the first day of school. As we devoured the remains of the Thanksgiving turkey, I could hardly wait until Christmas; I think I relished all the preparations as much as I loved the holiday itself — the music, the smells of special treats baking, the challenge of wrapping the packages and making the bows myself (yes, we did that back then!). Of course, I loved the first scent of spring in the air; in fact, one sunny February day, as I watched the snow melt outside my dormitory window, I even wrote a poem about what I imagined to be the smell of dusky books and robins’ eggs, with snowmen basking in pools adorned with tiny green blades of grass. As May approached, I was always excited at the prospect of summer at home with my sisters.
As an adult, this sense of constant anticipation has turned, in some cases, to a certain degree of dread. Of course, I still feel excitement at times, but I have learned through experience that the things I use to long for and excitedly await were generally too quickly behind me. A child’s graduation seemed to come at warp speed, almost hard on the heels of the miraculous birth process. Over the years, I have developed a rather complex set of coping mechanisms in an attempt to keep the roller-coaster passage of time at bay. Nevertheless, despite my efforts, I feel myself catapulted into new seasons that I am abysmally unprepared to face. I never imagined myself as a mother with no children to supervise. I never imagined that Christmas could come far too soon for my taste and find me behind schedule! I never imagined I would NOT want my next birthday to hasten its arrival. I never would have thought it possible that I would feel outdated, outmoded, or that my familiar ways of functioning would be rendered ineffective.
What is the Holy Spirit saying to my heart? I believe He is directing me to move with confidence out of my old season and into a new, unfamiliar season where I have much to learn and must trust Him completely. Just as a caterpillar (who is probably perfectly happy munching his way to oblivion every day) must move into a dark, confined space and be rendered immovable, at least for a season, for God’s magical transformation to take place, I am compelled to recognize I can no longer fuel myself with the things of the past and trust Him in the places I cannot understand. Only then can the metamorphosis take place; only then can He fashion wings for me to fly in the next season.
Of course, I could very well insist on staying the same. However, I would miss the mystery and glory of what God created me to do and be. Each season of life serves to move us into a greater experience of His glory and goodness (“And this, so that I may know Him [experientially, becoming more thoroughly acquainted with Him, understanding the remarkable wonders of His Person more completely] and [in that same way experience] the power of His resurrection [which overflows and is active in believers], and [that I may share] the fellowship of His sufferings, by being continually conformed [inwardly into His likeness even] to His death [dying as He did];” Philippians 3:10, Amplified Bible). Even if we do NOT enjoy the transformation process while we are in the throes of it, Hosea admonishes us NOT to remain too long in the womb, which ultimately would mean certain death: “The wickedness of Ephraim [which is not yet completely punished] is bound up [as in a bag];
His sin is stored up [for judgment and destruction]. The pains of childbirth come on him;
But he is not a wise son, for it is not the time to delay [his chance at a new birth] as the womb opens [but he ignores the opportunity to change]” (Hosea 13:12-13 AMP). The name Ephraim has to do with fruitfulness; if we refuse to move out of the womb of the past or present into our next season of life, we will surely die in situ and will not experience the fruitfulness God has planted is us.
I pray that I will move willingly from each larval stage (aka caterpillar) to the dark changing room of the pupa in the cocoon, then fly free and reflect God’s light and life to others. Hanging onto my old coping strategies, the old seasons, and the glories of the past will not look too glorious as time rushes past me. My former clothing has become tattered, and what used to be fresh bread is old hat now. Father, help me to shed things from the old season that have become a shroud, and teach me to fly!