3 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
9 What gain has the worker from his toil? 10 I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12 I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; 13 also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.
14 I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. 15 That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away.
It’s been a while.
I don’t know about you, but I have had a little extra time to stop and think lately. I have three kids I’m trying to wrangle /homeschool, so the emphasis here is on a little, but nonetheless it’s there. And this time has me rethinking what season I am in right now.
Three kids in the house, plus three adults means lots of forced interaction. Lots of time together. Lots of chances to either try to understand each other and live better together or each try to make it work our own way.
It’s a season of family togetherness, not entirely by choice. But I am choosing to make it a season of trying to understand each other and ourselves better. I want this time be a of strengthening our marriage, despite the lack of date nights or normal activities. And I want my boys, ages 7 and 9 to come out of this knowing and loving one another better. One is incredibly extroverted, the other fairly introverted. One loves sports and physical activities and constant conversation. The others loves art and writing and creating on his own.
My husband and I are also on either end of the introversion-extroversion spectrum. He wants people around, he doesn’t want to text or type he wants to talk, even if he’s going to read a book on his own he wants it to be in a room with other people. I crave time by myself – this is how I process things, how I relax and how I prepare for everything else in my day. If we are arguing he wants to get every word and thought out right now, to ask all the questions, get all the answers and then go ahead and hug it out. I am inclined to yell at first, to release emotion and then to walk away and process on my own, to get the words and thoughts just right before presenting them. Getting the words and thoughts out just right, writing them, rearranging them, contemplating them, is huge for me. Yet I’m incredibly impatient. I am a walking contradiction. And here we are, nearly 15 years into marriage, still figuring each other out. We both definitely have our strengths and weaknesses in this relationship, but I know for sure that we are stronger together.
And then there’s our 2 year old daughter. We’re still figuring out all the ends and outs of her personality, but so far I know that she thrives on both having her family altogether in one house and having her daily nap time all by herself in her room. Sometimes we hear her in there just talking to herself as she lounges in her bed for a significant amount of time after waking. Sometimes she talks herself to sleep.
Oh, and my sister-in-law lives with us too. She’s somewhere in the mix of wanting time together as a family, time on her own in her room and time to create.
And here we are altogether in one house with limited physical interaction with the outside world for an unknown period of time. So, I am declaring this a season of relational intentionality within our family. A time to rethink and reinvent old ways of interacting and seek out and embrace new ways of loving. This is “a time to love” (v.8) and “a time for peace” (v.8). It is a less physical and more mental and emotional “time to embrace” (v.5).
The point of this intentionality is not simply to improve relationships within our family. It is also to better understand our own individual, God-given, strengths and our strengths as a God-created team, so that when the time comes for us to reach farther outside the walls of our home we may be better prepared to love and to serve as part of God’s great plan for a beautiful eternity.
As verse 14 says: “whatever God does endures forever, nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it so that people will fear Him.” This is not a living in fear. This is not an anxiety about the outcome of the day to day. This is believing that “he has made everything beautiful in its time” (v.11). Even these current moments of toil (v.9 and 13); these temptations to grumble and complain, to break down (v.3) and lose trust, these moments will be beautiful in their time (v.11). These moments can be gifts (v.13) for those who have the eyes to see them.
I’m praying for those eyes right now – eyes to see the people in my family as God created them, to love them as God created me to love them, and to see needs and reach out in the time that God is preparing us for even now.
How about you? Are you setting an intention for this unexpected season in your life?