As I sit here at my computer I glance up at my calendar and it says “March.” March. One of my favorite months of the year. March is spring! March is flowers blooming and trees budding. March is the sun shining and planting the garden. March is flying kites and riding bikes for miles. March means February is over!
Now I know February has a lot to offer. It’s short. It has Valentine’s Day going for it. All the Presidents are honored. It’s short…I know I’m reaching. See February is limbo to me. It’s that month that isn’t winter anymore but it’s not spring yet either. It’s just gray and rainy and…the longest shortest month of the year!
But today I’m looking at a calendar that says March and a day that is still screaming February! It’s actually snowing a little here in Atlanta today. March 6th and it is snowing! I just watched a squirrel outside my kitchen window bury an acorn like winter was on the rebound!
I was considering all the weather and my frustration that my spring is being held at bay by the stubborn winds of winter and I was drawn to King Solomon’s wisdom.
There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven –
A time to give birth and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.
A time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance.
A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.
A time to search and a time to give up as lost;
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;
A time to be silent and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace.
So many of these timely events are easy to embrace as a part of life. Birth and death – check. Plant and tilling under the plant that has served its purpose – check. Weep and laugh; mourn and dance – check and check.
But it is the harder “times” on the list that make us stumble and struggle. There is a time to kill? There is a time to give something up as lost forever? A time to tear things apart and to scatter the stones? A time to shun embracing? A time for hate?!
We work so hard to build our lives and our relationships that it seems hard to understand that perhaps they are just here for a season. You mean I painted all these rooms and did all this remodeling in this house and now we have to move because my husband’s job is transferring him to where?! I have worked so hard and invested so much time in this friendship that has suddenly become toxic to me and my life? I have to till it all under and tear it all out and scatter the stones and start again? It’s all really lost and not just lost but so completely lost that I just have to stop searching for it?
The season changed and the calendar didn’t warn me. Perhaps the spring of life ended and I was so busy enjoying the summer that before I knew it, fall had turned to winter and suddenly I found myself in the middle of a February that just wouldn’t end.
My oldest is starting to hit some milestones that remind me regularly that she isn’t a “little girl” any more. She is growing taller; her attitude is changing. She’s taking on new challenges at school. And then there’s the baby who just had a first birthday and is going to walk at any minute. I compare the two and it occurs to me that life, unlike my calendar, doesn’t fall into neat little seasons that I can check off and mark by some steady change in the weather. Sometimes our seasons overlap one another and it’s in that muddy February that we get lost.
We see our circumstances and our challenges and we want to hang on tight to the old season. We want to jump over this season and go straight to the easy one that is coming. Here in the south, the spring can be severely stormy. The past few years have spawned tornadoes and chaos and devastation. If we had a choice we would bypass all of that and just go straight to summer barbeques. But in those moments communities are bonded. God’s word is passed on. People learn to lean on one another and grow. It’s messy but it serves its purpose.
Even as flurries fly by my window, I know that spring is coming. Not because the weather man said the temperatures are going to be warmer this weekend, but because that is the way the earth works. One season gives way to another. Even as I struggle to understand parenting a tween and an infant at the same time, I know that this season is temporary.
I started this piece ten days ago. Yes, I’ve been working on the same short essay for ten days. Chaos happens like that around here. In those ten days, Little Bit has gone from “about to walk any minute” to “running full tilt.” Top Big has gone from struggling with interpersonal conflicts at school to deciding her school is her mission field and she’ll love them whether they like it or not! If the past ten days are not proof that seasons change when we aren’t looking, I don’t know if we will ever prove it.
And so like David, I stand at the change of another season and I am comforted by the nature of God.
2 Samuel 22:2
“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge;
My savior, You save me from violence.”
David’s season change was much more profound than mine. He was being delivered from Saul the madman, and Philistines, and a myriad of other challenges on his way to the throne of Israel. But sometimes I feel like I too am being pursued by a slew of trials all at once and this February is never going to change. I am consoled by the fact that my Rock is steady and firm and no matter how rough the season change may be, He will hold me firm.