Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Changing of Seasons

Seasons are changing.

I love the change of seasons.

I love the colors of spring, the fresh start, and everything coming back to life.

I love the crisp air, hoodies, colors, snuggles and smells of fall.

I love the long days of summer with picnics, pool days, drive in movies, and LOTS of extra family time.

I even *gasp* love some things of winter.  I love the first few blankets of white snow and the bundling up by the fireplace.

Seasons changing bring about changes and different scenery.  It can renew and bring energy.  It can even cause you to slow down (as winter does).  Every season has something special about it.

We've been experiencing lots of changing seasons in our home.  It's definitely been a time of STRETCHING me as I realize I'm in a new season of life.  I dreaded these days, but now that I'm in them....I'm finding beauty and excitement in them.  OK---I definitely have moments of panic or possibly a few tears----but all in all, I'm finding that these new seasons are embraceable.

Just this last week (Hey, God----maybe we shouldn't combine so many at once!):

Our middle son went away to his first summer church camp alone.  No family members or long time friends to watch out for him.  Kevin and I grew up with church camp being a STAPLE of our lives and we were thrilled to finally have this opportunity for Peyton.  However, being in an area without family and being in a new church environment for us....he was starting fresh.  IT was amazing for him.  Yet, sending him off was a reminder of how much he has grown up on us!

Our youngest turned 7.  Every day is a new reminder of the fact that I no longer have small children.  (Thank heavens I've been blessed with the opportunity to provide childcare to multiple little ones in our home for the last 1.5 years+....they bless my soul AND allow me to still operate in my passion of caring for newborns and toddlers). For his birthday, we were thrilled to have been able to participate in a "House Party" for Nerf Super Soakers and Cheetos Naturals.  It allowed us to have a fun birthday party gathering for him.  The best part was it allowed us to spend some fantastic time with some neighbors and our dear friends that are leaving for full time mission work in South Africa at the end of the summer.  The rain almost rained out our party, but since we were going to get wet anyway---we went ahead with the water wars and just brought the food/fun inside the garage.  Definitely not what I originally intended, but it worked out GREAT and we had a super fun time.  Though my heart does ache at times that I no longer have preschoolers, littles, etc... I am thrilled with watching my children grow.  I love seeing them learn and love life!

Our daughter turned 16 last month, but this week she met the last requirements needed to actually get her license.  You moms that have already made this milestone and understand this new season, you fully understand the bittersweet feeling.  Those that haven't, yet, it REALLY is true about life going by faster than lightning.  I didn't listen either.  Well, I tried....but I didn't quite get it until now! I remember how she was so tiny and it was a BIG joke mentioned often about how she would never be tall enough to drive or her booster seat would go with her on her wedding day.  (She really was tiny.....13 pounds at a year old and 22 pounds at 2.5 years old).

Everything has been a reminder of how rapidly things are changing and how we are "aging" and moving into new seasons.  

Yet, as emotional as it can be, it's really beautiful.  

We are entering new seasons, but we are growing and changing together.  We are living and seeing life as God intended.  

With new seasons is new growth and new experiences.  New open doors.  New opportunities.  

This week we also reached a milestone that we can't help put praise God over.  It's been a lifetime in the making.  It's been through many tears, frustrations, heartache of DARK times.  We've dreamed of this day.  We've pleaded with God for this day.  We've fought for this day.  We prayed for God to redeem us through some hard times of our own making and many hard times out of our control.  He was faithful.  

We are no longer in debt to a lender.  We are debt free!  The commitment was worth it.  Debt chains us in bondage and it did us PROFOUNDLY.  It caused more stress than I can ever express.  The freedom that comes from the chains being broken is beyond what words can describe and I PRAISE God for that!

 Now, I'm going to admit something and be very transparent and honest.  THIS new season scares me the most.  I'm beyond thrilled to be here, but at the same time it's unnerving.  We want to be good stewards of the money and blessings He provides.  We don't want to waste another day or another penny.  We have made commitments in our hearts to give like never before.  We've vowed to not change our current lifestyles of frugal living very much because we want to use our resources for Him.  We know that because of that Satan will attack.  We know that we are praying for some big dreams in HIM and that in doing so, the enemy will attack.  We know that living in debt was not God's will and we were absolutely in disobedience of what He asked of us.  To finally be in this place today, we know that we open the door to what He has been preparing us for.  THAT IS TERRIFYING.  We know that being in God's will is the ONLY place to be, but it may not be the most comfortable place.  It is a place that we know is going to bring us out of our comfort zones.  However, we know that to be able to make the steps He is planning for us, we had to reach this milestone of debt-free living.  We had to show obedience and commitment on our parts so that it allows Him to open the door and reveal the next steps for the purpose He has planned for us.

New seasons are continuing to come our way.  We are soon to say goodbye to dear friends, goodbye to one of my precious littles as her family moves.  We are soon to welcome a new little to care for and a new grandchild.  More changes around the corner.  More growing up and moving on.  New opportunities to welcome.  New school year with incredible new directions.

Seasons are changing, but God is with us!

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