Life is cyclical. It is a process. It is seasonal. Sometimes the winds blow, we lose heart, and run for cover. Sometimes we bask in life’s beauty. Sometimes we wait for the skies to break, for promises long awaited to come, for questions to be answered. And despite how cyclical, almost predictable, our major life events are, every day has a surprise, a twist, a turn.
We’re running on very little sleep over here. Why? Teeth. Two-year-old molars and infant incisors have interrupted the quiet of our home during the only hours of the night when our home is actually able to experience quiet. Our backs are aching from carrying our little ones who just don’t want to be put down. It almost seems never ending.
Last night, however, we remembered that this season will end. And it will end far too soon. Last night, our oldest son (only 5!) actually lost his first tooth. It was quite the family celebration! We put it in a special place for the tooth fairy (which they insist is me for some reason!) and took lots of pictures. After the excitement, the house settled down for the night. I finished tidying the kitchen, took a book to my bed and then…baby cries. One tooth out, another tooth in. This is just how life is right now. And if it weren’t teeth, it would be something else. We live in Cleveland, where it could be 80 degrees and sunny one day, and snowing the next. So it is with the parenting seasons in our house…80 degrees, then the storm blows in.
It is not just parenting that keeps us on our toes. Finances, jobs, friends, health…it seems that we have a season of favor, followed by a desert season. I am reminded of a popular refrain that says “He gives and takes away. My heart will choose to say blessed be your name.” Just today, we were reminded that there are no guarantees about how our day to day lives will be ordered. This morning, as my husband was traveling to work, he was in a car accident. He is perfectly fine, as is the other driver. To say that is a relief would be an understatement. Just as I let the relief and blessing set in that he was safe, reality set in. His van wasn’t as safe as he was. My husband travels constantly and needs to take a load of tools with him wherever he goes. In other words…no van = no work. We’re not sure if the van will be totaled. We’re not sure where we will come up with the deductible. Our one income budget with 4 little ones is tight, but God has always provided. As long as we are diligently obeying, He is diligently making a way.
This morning, as I bundled up my children to brave the storm and get my dear, teething baby girl a series of shots, we got the call to pick up my husband. Years ago, I would have had knots in my stomach. I would had been frazzled by the time constraints, the stress of 4 coats, 4 hats, and 8 little shoes. I would have driven with financial worries in the back of my mind, panicking and wondering how I, in my own strength, could fix this. This afternoon, as we are holding our drooling children, making phone calls, and racking our brains for a solution, we had some good laughs. We are healthy, happy, and know that our God is, well…God.
God had this day planned. He allows speed bumps to happen. And that is all this is: a speed bump. I would be over dramatic to pretend that some chaos with our kids and a financial hurdle amounts to a crisis. But the truth is, we have choices to make with speed bumps and with road blocks. We could choose to complain, to throw in the towel, to point fingers, to panic. Or, we could choose to trust, to dig deeper, to unite together, and to figure out how to overcome yet another bump in the road. All of life is cyclical. It’s a process.
Isaiah 55: 8-11 says:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
His word, His promises, and His way will be accomplished. But in His time. Often I hear the first and last part of this passage. My thoughts and my ways are not yours. And my word will not return void. But the best part is right in the middle. It clearly tells us how our needs and desires will be met by our perfect Maker. It’s a process for us to realize how He’s working, just as it is a process to cultivate food from our garden.
First, the rain and snow must fall. Then it must water the ground, saturating it. Next, buds will form, and then those will flourish. Next, seeds will appear, and those seeds will be harvested to make the food. Phew! That takes some time. What a comfort to know that in the seasons that don’t make sense, when it is easy to feel anxious, we’re somewhere in this beautiful growing process. We’re either waiting for the rain to come, or we’re being saturated, or we’re budding and flourishing, or we’re yielding seeds, or we’re being harvested, or ground so that we could produce food. And then it all starts again.
Life is cyclical. It is a process. But through the process, through the winds, rains, and freezes, there is a hope and a glory at the end. It may not be what we had expected, but it will be what He has purposed. He is our author and perfector. So, get an umbrella out and watch for the clouds to break or bask in life’s beauty, but have that umbrella ready for the rain and snow to fall down again.