We at Redeemed Girl recognize our readers are at a variety of life stages and each of these seasons present their own unique struggles. Our dear friend, Donna Stuart shares a powerful word this week on how we can embrace the season. — Marian
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
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. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NIV)
Seasons come and seasons go. Some are full and fast. Some feel bleak and endless. But there are a few things that are clear about seasons; each has a beginning and an end, each season prepares you for the next, and I would dare say that each season, “seasons” the one who lives it.
When Marian asked me to write a blog about motherhood, I immediately thought, “I know you know more seasoned mothers than me.” You see, my oldest daughter, Hannah, is just three, so I have only been a part of this thing called “motherhood” for just a few short years. There is still so much that I need to glean from others before I start giving advice in my still very green mothering adventure. But when Marian specified that she wanted me to share the meaning behind my Instagram hashtag #thisseasonmoments, I felt more purpose behind my offering.
Here’s the history behind my hashtag. Besides the full-time job of raising three babies three and under, I’ve had the privilege of leading worship since 1996. Writing songs and leading others in worship has been such a gift.
During my walk with Jesus, I’ve gotten to live many different seasons: single, married, motherhood, worship leader and stay at home mom. I have found that each season has been perfectly planned by Jesus.
Here’s the thing, when we are in one season, we tend to get frustrated and look ahead and wish that we were in a different one. For the single, she longs to be married. For the married woman, she longs for babies. If there was one word throughout my different seasons I felt the Lord trying to drill into my very driven self, it was the word “WAIT.” Let’s be honest, very few of us like to wait. I certainly don’t. But we must wait upon His timing and lean into Jesus for the grace and life-lessons He wants us to take away from our particular season.
One of the keys to understanding each season is timing: there will be a beginning and an end to it. The problem is that as finite human beings, we are not often privy to “when” the end will come. Often, we want to rush into the next season, instead of embracing the present one, only to hit a wall of frustration. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to barrel forward to the things I felt the Lord calling me to do, only to be met with His ever- loving words, “Not Yet… wait.” Ugh.
Psalm 23 has been such a comforting passage to me over the years.
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Psalm 23 (NIV)
God is my Shepherd. He knows what is best for me. He leads me through each season in this thing called life. I view Psalm 23 as the life of a believer split into different seasons. A resting season, a grieving season, a receiving season, and glorifying season. The first stanza is a season I want to focus on the most in this blog. In it, King David describes a season of forced rest. I say “forced” because he uses the line, “He makes me lie down in green pastures.”
I shared with you earlier that I have three kids, Hannah Rae (3), Sparrow Ann (2), and our son who is currently 37 weeks in my tummy! Today, I sit in my bedroom, ready-to- pop- pregnant and so uncomfortable as I try to type because I have been “made to lie down” since he was 33 weeks. Friends, I am on bed rest. Talk about a forced season.
Don’t get me wrong, there are perks to this whole bed rest thing. Breakfast in bed is not bad, but not being allowed to go downstairs feels like I am grounded to my room. But as I lie here, and think about motherhood, with my baby boy in my womb and toddler world spinning around me, I feel the Lord has given me insight into why He calls us to wait.
First of all, He knows best.
The Lord made me, He rescued me and redeemed me. I am His.
So He knows what I need. In this bed rest season, I need to do just that… rest. I need to keep this little guy in, safe in my womb so that he can fully develop. In this season, I need to release all the daily tasks of motherhood to others so that I can do what is best for my unborn child. I do this so he will be healthy and one day grow to be the man of God I pray he will be in Jesus’ Name. The freedom to say “no” to something good, and say “yes” to what is best, is the beauty of learning to embrace the season.
I had to learn this important lesson as a worship leader. There’s a huge temptation to say “yes” to every invitation to lead. It sure isn’t easy when asked to sing to say, “I’m sorry I need to stay home with my little ones for this season, you should call … I know she will lead your event beautifully.” But just because things in life aren’t easy doesn’t mean they aren’t the best decision. Embracing the season I’m in frees me from fear and helps me choose the best for today.
As a full-time mommy, I still lead worship occasionally. I am just very selective with my commitments. Choosing the best and embracing this season of motherhood has proven to be a good practice in other areas of my life.
Seasons prep us for the seasons to come. Interestingly, learning to say “no” for what is best by not leading worship at every event actually helped me prepare for bed rest. Bed rest has been a clear picture of embracing the season. If I were to ignore the doctors orders, so that I can accomplish all the tasks that beckon me (organize the nursery, take care of my girls, clean the playroom), then my son would be forced to enter this world underdeveloped. So to ultimately love my son, I must keep in step with the Holy Spirit and patiently wait during this season.
As I said, seasons “season” those who live them.
Just as David said in Psalm 23, I have a choice as my Shepherd leads me through this season. I have a choice to see the pastures as lush and green, and not dead and brown. It would be easy to see this “forced rest” as a time of missing out. But I am choosing to see this season as GREEN, which is a symbol of life and I believe that God has His best for me and my baby in it.
Today I find myself back in bed where I wrote the blog. Our baby boy, Jonathon Owen Stuart was born on May 3, 2015 via c-section.
This proves a testimony to the words above before I even knew the circumstances of his birth.
I was in the operating room with my husband, Ben, who held my hand as a plethora of doctors worked to tend to me and baby. My doctor said something quite interesting. She said I have a “uterine window,” which means I had such a thin lining of my uterus that she could see Owen before even making an incision. Ben and I didn’t know what her statement meant until I was in recovery when my doctor told me what exactly a “uterine window” was. Essentially, if I had not been on bed rest and if my uterus had ruptured, both me and our precious boy would have had a very small window for survival. What a sobering thought about embracing the season. The only person in this universe who knew about this “window” was my Good Shepherd.
He knew my body perfectly
He knew and loved Owen.
He knew exactly what we both needed in this season… Friends, our Shepherd knows best.
I’m so thankful for the Lord leading me to “lie down in green pastures” during bed rest. Even though I didn’t understand why, I can see now His perfect mercy. I’m so grateful for a healthy Owen sleeping soundly next to me as I type these final words. Friends, I pray in whatever season you are in, trust your Good Shepherd and embrace #thisseasonmoments.