While the official season of summer is not yet over, mine is. Today is my last Saturday of the summer. Tuesday begins the crazy, busy and exciting new school year. It is the beginning of ten months of learning, kids, hard work, tiredness and joy.
The summer that I so greatly anticipated is over. Looking back, I accomplished nothing that I’d hoped to. I am not fit and trim! I am not completely rested and refreshed! I don’t have a photo album on my FB page from our fabulous getaway… because you really need to “get away” to be able to create that album! My cupboards and closets are… well, still in the state of disarray they were back in June! Perfect!
As I’m stepping out of summer into a new season, I realize that while my summer was nothing like the one I had dreamed about and anticipated, it will be remembered as the one that changed my life forever. Sometimes, what we hope for is not what we end up with. It’s like when you are a kid and want that one special toy… only to get a different one that was not on your list.
I leave summer wiser, calmer, more dependent on my creator, humble, grace-filled, blessed beyond measure, hopeful… and living today. I’ve let go of yesterday… for it’s gone and will never be back. Those chapters are already written and the editing is done. I’m working on not thinking too much about tomorrow… for it’s not here yet and so much can happen in 24 hours. Today is where I need to be… right here… right now. I need to constantly be reminding myself of this… for it’s easy to slip back in to old ways of thinking and worrying.
While I did not accomplish great things this summer, I’ve learned a few good lessons to carry me into this new season.
1. It’s not about me. It never has been… it never will be.
2. It’s about God and his amazing love for me.
3. If you don’t plant a garden, you won’t reap a harvest. I was too busy this spring and could not find the time to weed the beds and prepare the soil to plant a summer garden. I had a few little plants going, but not my usual. Consequently, I have not had my zucchini and tomatoes and squash and lettuce… for you can’t reap what you don’t sow.
4. If I ever thought that crying was a bad thing… I’ve completely changed my mind. For a time this summer, I was so low that I could not muster a tear about anything. Thinking that was a sign of strength over the years, I’ve changed my tune. When I found my tears, it was freeing. I never want to lose those tears again. My tears come freely now and are triggered by so many things God puts on my heart about myself and for others… at times, complete strangers. The freedom and release that come are indescribable. I do need to invest in a good kleenex company though… for I’ve gone through more tissue this summer than in my entire lifetime combined!
5. I need to reach out more… not only when I need help, but to help others when they are in need. I love to give to others… listen to others… help others. I’m not so good at asking for help myself. I’ve had a handful of sweet friends/colleagues ask me why I did not call when I was struggling this summer. My response was something like, “Oh, I did not want to bother you.” I’ve thought about how much I want them to reach out to me in their time of difficulty, so why should I not reach out to them for support. It goes both ways. I am learning that I need to not worry about being a bother (on either side of the coin.) Take a risk…
6. My transparency if not a bad thing. I am so transparent and people seem to like that about me. Whatever I am feeling is what you see all over me. I don’t hide things well. I’m learning now, that being transparent can be helpful to others, as well as myself. I unveiled some deep sorrows through my writing this summer and it gave some people hope and others knew specifically how to pray for me. I’ve always viewed my transparency as a weakness… making my neediness known to everyone. God is working to change that in me.
7. “I know from personal experience that God does some of his best work in the midst of some very dark and empty places, and that joy is just around the corner.”