Seasons change. They really do.

I’ve lived my entire life in the Midwest, so if there’s one thing I should know something about, it’s seasons.

You have to be hardcore to live in this part of the country. You have to be willing to adapt and change to radical temperature fluctuations every few months. The harsh, dark, cold winters drag on forever and just when you have convinced yourself that there is no end, and you don’t even have the energy to get mad about a rude and inappropriate snowfall in late April, you wake up one day and as quickly as an unpredicted thunderstorm, it’s summer!

“Can you believe it’s SO HOT?!” I find myself commenting to neighbors as I pass them on my evening walk.

The boots, hats and gloves that were a necessity just weeks ago are now a distant memory. It’s hard to believe I’m even living in the same location.

No matter how many Illinois winters I endure or long summer evenings I relish, I continue behaving as if each new season is a surprise. 

How did this happen? The trees are in bloom! The grass is green! The flowers are growing! What is going on?

This is even more true in my everyday life.

A few weeks ago, I attended a retreat at a friend’s house. We spent the afternoon doing yoga, soaking in nature and enjoying the beauty of my friend’s 125-year-old historic home. For one hour, we observed a “vow of silence” during which we reflected on questions about the seasons of our life.

The questions were relatively simple. I filled in columns describing the season I had most recently been through, thinking about each area of my life: physical, emotional, spiritual and relational.

Then, I named those same categories in my current season.

When I compared my two charts, I was as surprised as if I was waking up to a tree fully in bloom after three days of nonstop rain.

It was just last December — six months ago — that I was struggling in a major way both physically and emotionally. I was in a season with a few health issues that I was convinced would last forever. I was adjusting to the changes of sending three kids off to the next phase of their life and dealing with all of the emotions that came with a quiet house.

But in early June, I was able to give those two areas of my life positive labels. I have energy. I lost 15 pounds. I’m walking three miles a day! I’m enjoying the quality time I get with our youngest child. I’m feeling content and happy for our older three and love cheering them on from afar!

Instead, the two categories that had been healthy just a few years ago — spiritual and relational — have been more of a struggle lately.

Still, looking at those two charts gave me so much hope. 

Often, the winters of our life feel like they will never end. I can’t imagine long summer evenings on the deck or kicking up leaves on a perfect fall day. Those seasons don’t even feel possible when darkness sets in each day at 4 p.m.

It also reminded me to enjoy each moment of the positive seasons that I’m in. Today is my favorite day of the year and the best day of any season! It’s summer solstice, the longest day of the year. I want this day to last forever. I love the warm evenings and the vast amount of daylight giving us so much time to go for walks, sit on the deck or play pickle ball.

But at the same time, this day brings with it a feeling of dread. I know its a signal that this is the best it’s going to get. Starting tomorrow, we lose a minute of daylight, then another minute, then 10, then an hour. We will slowly, but surely, head toward fall, then winter.

Analyzing my personal seasons gave me some comfort. It reminded me that no season is going to last forever.

It’s not just a possibility that it will change, it’s inevitable.

Instead of dreading the chill of winter or fearing the storms of spring, I’m learning to appreciate cozy fires, warm blankets and hot tea. I’ll always love soaking up the summer sun and the smell of freshly fallen leaves, but I know I can’t cling to them forever.

There’s nothing I can do to stop the seasons from changing. But I do have hope that no matter how each of my categories look, God promises to stay with me through it.

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end.”

Happy Summer!

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I’m Emily

Storyteller. Photographer. Creative.

Thank you for stopping by my blog. This is a space where I share my life through words, photos and projects. I’m so thankful that you’re here.

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