Sunday, September 13, 2009

Turn, Turn, Turn

Tonight I stand at one of those pivotal moments in a life, poised on the boundary of the past and the threshold of the future at the same time. I have been studying and planning for this moment all summer, but I have pondered what this moment of change might look like for a number of years. After being home with my children for 10 years, last spring I received an offer to begin teaching full-time this fall, which I accepted, so it's not a moment unexpected.

In mid-August I lifted my eyes from a book long enough to deadhead my flowers, when I realized it was the first time I had done so this summer. The first deadheading, and at the same moment summer was almost gone. As I clipped the old, spent blooms to encourage a continuing bloom it occurred to me that God was doing the same thing in my life. The seedheads fell into the tangled mess of leaves in the flowerbed along with my tears as I recognized God's hand. God was trimming away the old things to encourage the growth of the new in my world. I stand at the end of my time as a stay-home mom and at the beginning of my time re-entering the world of full-time responsibilities.

As with all of God's works, these changes in season are good and will be of great benefit to our family. At the same time, this moment cannot help but be bittersweet. These years of staying home have been such pleasant ones for me. Taking my little ones to explore autumn apple orchards in the late September sun; napping in a quiet house in the middle of the day with my son snuggled into my arms; driving north to visit Grandma on a whim; all these things have been precious. As Mary treasured up things and pondered them in her heart, so have I. God has been gracious in allowing this time.

He has also been gracious in gently easing me from this season. The change to a working mom has happened slowly, in His time and in His way. I have often wondered what I would do if I returned to the workforce. The field I was in previously doesn't even make the software I used; in ten years I have become a dinosaur. To work as a teacher never would have entered my mind, yet God has made a way through part-time work and I have enjoyed it, along with learning so many things--not all academic. Sometimes I still have doubts. How do I know this is His will for me? Am I really sure? Can I teach these children? To be sure, this summer several naysayers have crossed my path and tripped me up with more uncertainty. But when I examine the elements of my life in the whole I see that He has prepared me for this moment for much longer than just one summer.

When I passed by the flower bed a few days ago I noticed the gallardia is ready to yield more seedheads to my scissors. Then I looked more closely and saw how once again the flowers were the visual metaphor for my life. On one plant are blooms in three stages of life: the old spent and falling away, the middle full of color and life and the new bud opening to the future. And here am I, the year of 40, leaving something behind and turning to something new, all in God's timing. To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven.

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