God gives good gifts in every season.
I have found this to be true throughout my life.
Through both good times and bad times.
It’s easy to see the gifts in the good times. Though it’s not always as obvious in the bad times, they are there.
I remember the sudden death of my dad and the devastation of it all. The sun fell from the sky that day and I was plunged into a deep cavern within myself. I stood silent and still as the world buzzed around me. I lived there for months, going through the motions. The horror of it all was too much to take. I was in shock. I couldn’t comprehend my new reality. But in those first few hours, as I stood beside my dad’s lifeless body in the hospital, there was no denying that my dad was no longer with us. His spirit, his soul was gone.
But it was in those moments that my belief in God was resolute. I knew that his soul had gone to be with the Lord. And as my mom and my sisters and my brother and I began to talk about the days leading up to his unexpected death, we were each able to share how the Lord was preparing us for this even though we hadn’t had a clue. These moments were gifts that we didn’t even know we were receiving until after his death.
The anniversary trip that my mom and dad took a month before their actual anniversary that never would have happened if they had waited. The love letter he emailed her just weeks before. The last family dinner we all got to have just days before. On the last mother’s day we would spend together. The laughs we shared that day I still hold dear. Each moment a gift.
And there have been many more seasons since then, with many more gifts received. Like when I started teaching and experienced the overwhelming stress of starting my own classroom. I remember excusing myself from my first, grade level team meeting and the uncontrollable tears in the bathroom. Tears filled with worry wondering how I was going to do it all. Experienced teachers were talking about programs and methods that I didn’t have a clue about and it was all too overwhelming for my perfectionist brain.
I quickly got myself together and put on a brave face, but God knew that even though I had the heart of a teacher, this rookie needed a wiser, like-minded teacher friend to come along side me and he provided. It’s no coincidence that I was placed right next door to Mrs. Mulkey, whose commitment to challenging her students and providing thoughtful, engaging instruction had a huge impact on my own teaching. There is no doubt in my mind she was a gift placed right next door.
And then there was that time I stopped teaching to stay at home with my first child. Another hard season. Probably suffering from some type of post-partum, I found everything difficult. Breastfeeding. The waking up every two hours. The lack of sleep. But it wasn’t just that. I’m a people person, so being by myself all day until my husband got home was depressing. This made me realize how much I needed people. So I joined my sister’s moms group. And I met other moms to hang out with and to share mommy woes with and encouragement and friendship and so much more. Again, God had provided just the right people I needed for that season of life. Gifts wrapped up in the form of new mommy friends.
Last year, I went through another season. Having to take a detour and not continue down a road that I was sure was mine to go down, left me confused and sad. I remember sitting outside crying, praying to God, “Show me your glory.” I don’t think I’ve ever felt more pathetic in my whole life! I was so hurt and broken that I didn’t have the strength or the words to pray much else.
Have you ever been there? It’s an awful place to be.
And so that remained my prayer for months. And during that season, I grew closer to God. And there were daily gifts I received as I muddled through that depressing season. Gifts wrapped in opportunities to learn hard lessons, to grow deeper with God, to seek His face, just to name a few.
And as I put my trust in God, He brought me a new gift late last summer. A friend at just the right time and season of my life. Andrea and I both met at a mom’s group pajamas and pancake event. We became fast friends and so did our children, who were coincidentally the same age. We went on countless adventures and shared lots of laughs. I knew right from the beginning that she was God sent.
Looking back over this last year, I truly don’t know what I would have done without her. Would I still have taken my kids exploring in the river, to Chuck E. Cheese, on park play dates, to afternoon movies and all? Yes. I would have. But it’s always more fun to do it with friends. True friends. Friends who only come along once in a blue moon.
But I didn’t know that it was only for a year and neither did she. So as she prepares to leave this week, Texas bound, I am so thankful for the gift of her friendship. I hope everyone finds a friend like Andrea. And as this new school year begins, with my first born going off to kindergarten, I look forward to a new season of life and the unexpected gifts that God already has tucked in that I have yet to find.
So keep your eyes open! Because the same is true for you. There are gifts in every season of life. Good gifts. But no one can find them but you.