Psalm One Ministries
Seasons of the soul are a part of life as we shift from new growth in spring, to the joy of summer, to the pruning and loss in autumn to the dormancy of winter.
A few years ago, I was in a good season and had been for quite a while. I experienced the normal ups and downs of life, but no major drama or trauma. Lots of tremendous blessings and surprises. I was continually amazed that I had enjoyed a summer of the soul for so long.
Then the cold winds began to blow. My parents became ill, I became ill, family and friends had some major struggles, I had two knee replacements (one of which went very badly), my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, then my upstairs water heater flooded all three floors of my home. Life happens. Trials like this are common to everyone.
Do you not know? Have you not heard?
It always struck me that Isaiah talks about weariness not so much in the ferocious battles or giant hurdles of life, but in walking. It’s those day to day pebbles in our shoes that wear us down. And for me, it has not been the huge crises of life, but instead, that obnoxious flood--and dealing with shady insurance companies--has taken the wind out of my sails.
Five months after the flood, I’m still fighting a crooked insurance company to pay for damages. My condo is still torn up, and most of my belongings are in storage. Home has not been much of a refuge for a long time.
Winters of the soul are hard. They involve a lot of loss, trials, stretching, and pruning. We can become sad, brittle, skittish, and fearful. But hopefully, we emerge more patient, compassionate, humble, gentle, loving, caring, and dependent upon the Lord. Hopefully we become less judgmental, with fewer unrealistic expectations on people. I hope and pray God is developing that fruit in me.
At the risk of sounding more than a bit whiny, here’s where I am (and if one more person writes back James 1:2 “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials…,” I’m liable to hit someone):
Frustrated. “Feeling or expressing distress and annoyance, especially because of inability to change or achieve something.” I can’t repair my home until I know my budget. I don’t want to spend my time and energy on this stuff. I want to spend my time and energy on God, friends, family, ministry, and life! I have so many good things on the horizon. But I keep hitting walls. I don’t deal well with lying. I’ve had so many people lie to me, change their story, and hand me off. Hopes raised, hopes dashed. People offer to go to bat for me, and I never hear from them again. I find someone to hire for repairs, then they disappear.
Weary. “1) Lacking strength, energy, or freshness because of a need for rest or sleep, 2) annoyed by something because you have seen it, heard it, done it, etc., many times or for a long time.” After dealing with these people, I need a nap. It’s not the end of the world. I am certainly not the only one who has had to battle red tape, shady businesses, people who do not keep their word, and irritating “money pit” household issues. It just gets really old.
“For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.” (Hebrews 10:36)
Discombobulated. “Upset, confused. State of disarray.” Where’s that book? Oh yeah, it’s somewhere in a box in the garage. Movie night at my place? All of my furniture is shoved against the wall. Can I fit that in my schedule next month? Who knows? Is that within my budget? Who knows? Can I count on that promise? Probably not. Should I just give up and let the insurance rip me off? Maybe.
Blessed in the midst. “Of or enjoying happiness.” There have been so many blessings in the midst of these hassles.
“In the midst.” 283 times in Scripture, God uses the term “midst”. God doesn’t wait until the ceiling’s repaired or all our ducks are in a row to bless, to work, to mold us. I want Him to fix it all. Now. But sometimes He lets the rain keep falling. All through Scripture, God keeps working in the boat, in the storm, along the way, while it was still dark, through the valley, through the fire, through the water. Sometimes we can’t see it while we are in the midst of the trials, but we know God is at work. I know He is going to bring blessing out of this.
In the midst, I have been so blessed by:
In the midst of the frustration, weariness, and discombobulation, I finally broke down crying.
“Lord, I’m so drained. What do I need to keep going?”
He said, “You know what you need.”
And I knew. I immediately knew exactly what He was inviting me to do.
“There’s no way. I can’t.”
“You know what you need.”
“I can’t. I can’t afford it.”
“You know what you need.”
Long story short: Next week, with God’s miraculous provision, I return to my beloved Ireland with my beloved Jesus. “And He said to them, "Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.” (Mark 6:31) I don’t know what He has for me, but I know He’s calling me away from it all to take a little journey with Him…
"The LORD your God is in your midst,
Eager to hear what He might whisper to me…