Monday, March 17, 2014

God's got me when seasons collide

People talk about life in seasons. Summer. College years. Single years. Fall. Newlyweds. Winter. Parenting littles. Parenting school-aged kids. Spring. Empty nesters. And so many other seasons in between.

But sometimes weeks are like seasons.

There was the first week of March that was a snow week around here. Five snow days. In a row. {I already told you about that week.}

And then the next week of March was nuts.

It started with me having a vicious but thankfully short stomach bug while we were out of town and then my husband getting it a few days later. My friend Holly was visiting. There was my physical therapy appointment, the related follow-up appointment with the orthopedic, and Ben's ENT check up. Normal school carpool resumed. My mom, my sister and 3-month-old nephew visited one afternoon, which happened to the warmest day we've had since October. In one day I had two parent-teacher conferences -- one at 7:15 a.m., which meant leaving for school quite a bit earlier than usual, and another at 11:15 a.m., which meant getting home with my preschool boy later than usual. I had to organize a craft for Ben's preschool class's St. Patrick's Day party, which they celebrated a few days early because Friday was his teacher's last day before she enters her new motherhood season and she is fond of the the holiday. Plus I had signed up to bring dessert and drinks for the monthly teacher appreciation lunch. Y'all, I appreciate these teachers. They're worth more than some peanut butter and chocolate squares {Yes, like homemade Reese's Cups. Yes, they're easy and you'll want to make them.} and Diet Coke. And the school/work week ended with three families coming over to celebrate my best friend's 36th birthday around our table.

I'm not sure you could find two completely opposite weeks. But, you know, they were both good. And in some moment of clarity as that busy one was winding down, I realized that contrast I experienced is real life. Like quick seasons, weeks are different. That's part of the process that is life.

Sometimes the weekly seasons even collide, like when Ben found a stick in the 70-degree weather that he used to swat out the mound of snow in the Dairy Queen parking lot. He was wearing short sleeves and we had walked to our outdoor DQ, yet there was still a massive mound of snow sprinkled with asphalt that hadn't managed to melt itself away yet.

I obviously didn't have as much time to write or read in the latter week, but I had opportunities to share life with friends, support my kids' school, and take care of myself. That to-do list of ideas I want to write and projects I want to tackle will still be there next week. Or even the week after that, depending on which one is less filled.

That's life.

God reminded me truly living in a way that embraces the now, even the busier version of now, is better than idolizing Productivity. Ah, yes, remember that idol of mine. I've been reading Jennifer Dukes Lee's "Love Idol," often before bed at night. The house is quiet and the truths slip into my life as I'm processing my day.

"Maybe you have not always been into process. Maybe you have preferred the quick fix, the promise of three steps to a better you. Or better yet, a full-blown miracle. Poof. We're fixed! God could do that if He wanted to, but I'm getting the idea that He has something more to teach us, right in the middle of our battle."
{Jennifer Dukes Lee in "Love Idol"}

Ah, yes, me too. Too often I've rushed the process because I'm too focused on getting wherever I'm going. But so much of my life lately has been about the process. I know God is changing me through the conversations, decisions, reactions, surprises, unmet expectations, relationships, and days. I see glimpses sometimes and other days I just believe.

While it sounds like I may have worshiped Productivity in the latter week, I didn't feel like I did in my heart. And my heart is what God is after anyway. I welcomed the relief in my heart I've been feeling lately. It's so much freer than the demands Productivity makes with its hurry and distraction and crowded ways. When I worship Productivity, I care too much about producing good works and fruit and finished projects. Then I end up failing anyway. When I worship God, I realize my faith sustains me while my stubborn will is shaped to the moment. I don't have to produce or complete or perform to be approved in God's eyes.

So this past week, I laid down projects and ideas and chores so I could be available ... with friends and family, at the school, for my kids, to drive carpool. There was more coming and going, but I didn't feel as distracted as I have in the past when I make myself believe laundry has to be done on Monday. It's OK to fold it on Thursday when I finally have a chance to sit down in front of the TV. {Plus, hello, there is some good Thursday night TV these days.} I took care of some lake house management emails when I could, but not necessarily the second I saw them. I grocery shopped when my appetite returned days after the stomach bug passed, knowing bringing home take out or making scrambled eggs and cinnamon toast wouldn't hurt anyone.

Maybe you had a busy week. Maybe this coming one doesn't seem as crowded. Or maybe you feel like this is a hard one. Like seasons, the weeks change. In some ways, this winter feels like it's dragging on, but I believe spring is coming. I've seen hints of it, like the fresh grass sprouting in my front yard and the single daffodil my girl picked on Saturday. I've had to remember this week and next week will probably look even different than these past two.

But God is still good. No matter the season or the week or the day.

He's still calling me to lay down Productivity and trust him more than my to-do list. God's got me and my days. And here at the beginning of a new week, I hope you know he's got yours too.

I got an early copy of "Love Idol" for being part of the launch team, but Jennifer Dukes Lee's message about how we're preapproved in Christ is one my heart needs. I'm about half way through the book, but I've read enough and been encouraged enough already that I'm recommending you pre-order "Love Idol," which officially releases April 1. 

Joining Jen Ferguson's Soli Deo Gloria party and Jennifer Dukes Lee's #TellHisStory with this post. 

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  1. I'm so glad we linked up next to each other, too! This post hits home for me. I often have weeks like this - one season jutting up against another season, and back again. And i'm also learning to let go and not worship the productivity. To just enjoy the people around me (making me so busy!), to let the laundry rest for a day, and yes, to serve breakfast for supper. It is a life-saver :)

  2. I'm really, really looking forward to reading Jennifer's book. While I'm seriously lacking in productivity lately, I enjoyed a weekend of letting go of everything and spending time with my son and his girlfriend. It's those moments that matter most and I don't want to miss them. Thanks for always sharing your heart with us, Kristin.

  3. KristinHillTaylor3/18/2014 9:19 AM

    Thanks for coming over, Courtney! Letting go of that productivity is hard for me, but every time God reminds me it's worth it.

  4. KristinHillTaylor3/18/2014 9:20 AM

    Thanks for always seeing my heart in my rambling, Beth! Jennifer's book is one you'll definitely want to read. It's so powerful for me. I'm glad you've gotten that quality time with your family. Love you!

  5. Productivity haunted me over the weekend and into yesterday. "You've had a good day but WHAT HAVE YOU ACCOMPLISHED?" It's a slow learning process for me - productivity isn't always measured by the checks off the to-do list. See, I'm still recovering... "isn't always," because part of me wants to (has to?) believe that sometimes it is.

    An an unrelated note, it was so great to share time and space with you.

  6. KristinHillTaylor3/18/2014 10:09 AM

    I used to judge my days based on what I did or didn't accomplish. It feels so free to know a day can still be good without conquering my to-do list. I think we'll always be recovering. :) I LOVED SEEING YOU. And I'm glad you never caught our stomach bug.

  7. So, I was talking about this yesterday with my therapist...this idea I have that personal growth operates as a to-do list. Like I can check things off when I've mastered it. But yeah. That doesn't happen with issue of the heart. Duh, I know, but it feels like I learn and relearn this very often.

    No stomach bug for me! :) I'm glad we didn't share that.

  8. KristinHillTaylor3/18/2014 10:13 AM

    Oh, yes, that's so true. I've often viewed life as one big to-do list. Of course, that would leave vulnerability out of the equation ... ah, yes, right back there again. :)

  9. Ah, vulnerability. :)

  10. Amen, girl. These seasons - they are rich in helping us to learn great lessons, but sometimes I find I wish them away instead of learning deeply. So proud of you and all your progress. God is good. Yes, all the time.

  11. KristinHillTaylor3/18/2014 1:23 PM

    This little progress has been part of a LONG process. Jennifer's "Love Idol" book came right when I needed another nudge. I just read Chapter 9 - and it's been my favorite yet! So glad you're part of this journey with me!

  12. "Laying down projects, ideas and chores" imagine that! Who knew the world wouldn't fall apart and you'd be blessed. AND you'd bless me in sunny CA. Keep writing, Kristin. You're refreshingly real. God bless.

  13. KristinHillTaylor3/19/2014 4:17 PM

    I could go for some sunny CA weather right now. :) Spring is coming though after this crazy winter we've had! Thanks for your kind comment, Pat!

  14. To be in the now...yes, I am hearing that echo louder and louder from women everywhere. And so true, He is good in every season!

  15. KristinHillTaylor3/20/2014 8:24 AM

    There are lots of pressures to live somewhere other than the here and now. I need reminders to come back to the present. :) Thanks for your comment, Mindy!

  16. Good stuff I need to read, with that I am going to bed! Seriously I took some time yesterday for lunch :) and girl time today, feeling guilty so here I am trying to run around my house getting things done, catch up on reading, emails, and why, it can wait. Thank you!!