I have experienced many different seasons in my life. Some have been fruitful, others informative, and still more have been variants of adventures, chaos, and stress. Seasons do what is expected of them. They come and they go. Many times it is clear what purpose they served while being in them. Others are not as easily categorized. I currently find myself in a particular season that appears to be a merger of the two…a clear season with a purpose and a veiled season of uncertainty. There are times where I feel like I’m standing in summer while winter holds my hand. I am unable to make conclusions due to the ambiguity of where I am fixed. And so, several weeks ago, I began praying, talking with the Lord, making known my contempt for a season that’s served as a myriad of emotions. It has been exciting, confusing, frustrating, hopeful, disheartening, and a blessing all rolled up together. Summer meets winter.
The Lord knows me to the depths of my core. He is not surprised in the least that I am calling out His name and asking Him to give me an explanation of my current season. I like things to be labeled…clearly written out in an organized fashion. I like signs. I like knowing that a green light means go or that a yield sign means proceed with caution.
What I am not fond of is being put in a position where I am surrounded with perplexity as to what constitutes as a sign. It’s as though the Lord emptied out a 500 piece puzzle and chose not to leave the box with me for reference. I simply don’t know what I am looking at.
My 4-year-old daughter loves puzzles. I’ve never been one to embrace the practice of analyzing shapes and color schemes so that I may match up a disconnected array of pieces. It’s stressful. Sure, there is a certain pride one can take in the finished product. Who doesn’t like a finished puzzle? But the process…so daunting and repetitive. I watch my little blonde dynamo work on her princess puzzle daily. Attempt after attempt, she plugs pieces together that don’t fit. Rather than get frustrated, she keeps on with her persistent attitude. I could learn a lot from her 4-year-old tenacity and hope. She realized early on that she can fail and yet still somehow get to the big picture if she just keeps trying…holding strong to the belief that with time, patience, and a keen eye, the pieces will eventually fit.
I recently purchased a construction site puzzle for my nephew for Christmas. He is a big fan of bulldozers, cranes, excavators, and large dirt piles. His puzzle got me thinking. I find it nerve-racking to be anywhere near construction. Those vehicles, like the ones on the puzzle, indicate that there is a work zone nearby. Something is either being built, repaired, or torn down. And, inevitably, with any construction site, there is deep digging, loud noises, movement, change, and detours.
After wrapping the construction site puzzle and mailing it to my nephew, I started seeing construction vehicles everywhere. There was massive road work near where we live. A new restaurant was being built just down the road from my daughter’s school. An additional wing was being added to my go-to grocery store. And like a bucket of ice water being poured on my head, I had a moment of clarity. My season, the one I am in now, is not identifiable because it is a season of rebuilding, remodeling, and refocusing. I am under construction. It is not a bad thing. It is just unfamiliar territory. With construction comes both the tearing down of structures as well as the creating of new pathways…summer meets winter.
I read a quote this week by a renowned graphic designer, Björn Berglund. In talking about his eclectic and unique view of design and typography, he said, “Old ways won’t open new doors.”
I had to take a moment to breathe as that resonated with me. I am not under construction because the Lord wants to see me fail or because He enjoys seeing me wade through the weeds and rubble. He is answering my prayers. I’ve prayed for some time now for change…for a new season…for opportunities to guide me for His purpose. I have spoken and continue to speak the musings of my heart to God. I am starting to realize that I can’t simply build on top of a previously poured foundation and attach new frameworks to my pre-existing structure. Some things in my life are going to have to be rebuilt, redone, or completely made new.
In looking at scripture, Philippians 4:6 came across my computer. I stopped and read it. Verse 6 is often recited and shared from many pulpits and found within many devotionals. It reads, “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.” (MSG).
It was verse 7 that really stood out to me. The Message Bible translates it like this – “Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down.”
When I am under construction and my puzzle pieces are all over the floor, I need to be looking to my Heavenly Father who knows who I am wholly, fully, and completely. He is working on me…constructing me in this season for the seasons ahead. I may not understand and feel confident in my parts of the puzzle and how they all connect, but I feel quite certain of God’s wholeness and how He views me. So, no flip flops for this season. No heavy coats. Just some hard hats and a willing heart to be led to new doors.