Tuesday, September 18, 2007

September 18, 2007

"To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under Heaven." Eccl. 3:1

We have a farm about 45 minutes from our home where the deer hunters in our family hunt. Now I am not a hunter, but I love going there just the same. It is so quiet and peaceful, so removed from all the hustle and bustle and stressful demands of everyday life.

I am a "beach" person by nature....I LOVE THE OCEAN!!! I do not have to get IN it to enjoy it as long as I can SEE it, SMELL it and most of all, HEAR it! So when we first bought the farm in 1999, my husband didn't anticipate my really going up there much. "It's not the beach" he kept apologizing. No, it's not, BUT....I love it all the same. It has its own beauty and appeal and it has grown more special as time has gone by.

Our land is covered mostly by woods, but interspersed with plots of open land. When we first began spending time there, I would walk along the roads just taking it all in. My husband and son had hunted this land for years before we bought it and I had been up there with them occasionally, just to "drive through". So although it was their "old stomping ground", it was new to me. So I enjoyed exploring and just being in the quiet of outdoors. One of the roads I often took would go into the woods. I would walk up to the edge of the woods, and sometimes even venture a little ways into it. But then it would seem so eery and I was not sure where that road would lead, so I would find myself turning around and heading back.

Since then we have had timber cut and the skidders made trails through the woods. The guys now ride their ATVs through the woods along those trails and those have made perfect walking trails! There are varied trails that branch off different directions deep into the woods. Oh how I now LOVE walking through the woods!!

Each season presents a new panorama of beauty. Last fall was one of the most beautiful autumns we had ever had. The leaves were spectacular! God, the Master Designer, had outdone Himself with the splendor He had painted in those woods! I could not get enough of its beauty....the kaleidoscope of colors was amazing! In the spring, the dogwoods were just breathtaking they were SO beautiful! As I walked and marvelled at God's handiwork, I literally began to sing and praise Him, lifting my hands in adoration and praise to Him. Then I suddenly thought about the deer cameras that are set up throughout the woods to capture photos of the deer! Not wanting to be the subject of "candid camera", I decided I better keep moving..HA!

We were there recently in late August. Having suffered record breaking temperatures in the triple digits and a drought, the likes of which we have not experienced in 40 years, the woods presented a new landscape. Weeds had overgrown the paths. (Isn't it amazing that heat and drought will kill your flowers in a heartbeat, but the weeds thrive? ) Dead limbs littered the path where they had fallen from the trees. It was difficult to walk and sometimes I was not sure where the path was any more. The dogwood leaves were scorched and brown. The earth was dry and literally cracked open. Our small watering hole was not much more than a mud hole.

In winter, the leaves are mostly gone. Only the evergreens of cedars and pines remain with any color. The woods are much more open. You can see farther and see more of the blue skies above. The wind whistles through the trees with an eeriness and you can hear the sound of every animal that moves, as they crunch along the dry leaves scattered on the ground. Ice and winds of winter will leave fallen trees in its path as well as more limbs that will once again fall and litter the pathways.

Each season brings its own beauty, its own problems and its own changes. Life is the same way. We go through many different seasons in our life here on earth. We begin in the spring of our lives as children, when everything is new and pure and innocent. As our lives unfold like the buds on the trees in spring, we experience so many exciting, wonderful new things! Life holds so much promise as we look to the future and all its possibilities.

As we mature, life gets a little more complicated. We have decisions to make....what career path will we take...who will we marry...will we have children...where will we live, etc. We stop being children and take on adult responsibilities....mortgages, car payments, providing for our families, being the spiritual leaders of our families, raising children. The heat of stress and worry invades our life and can begin to parch our souls and dry up our faith. What once seemed a walk in the park can become an uphill struggle, littered with broken dreams, broken promises and unmet expectations.

Then we find ourselves in the fall of our life and there is unexpected beauty that refreshes us and gives us renewed hope. The fulfillment of seeing children become responsible, caring adults is a blessing. And grandchildren.....well, grandchildren are the compensation God gives us for all we lose as we age!!! Without them it would be easy to get depressed as our bodies age and things don't work the way they used to nor do we look the way we used to. Everything changes!
But....hope and joy live on in our grandchildren! Through their eyes we get a fresh perspective on everything, for they are still in the spring and all is beautiful.

But around the corner, winter looms and much is stripped away. Grown children find themselves parenting their parents....a place they never anticipated being. Now they must be the caregiver to the one who once nurtured and cared for them. A time to give back for all the years they gave to you and poured themselves into caring for you. Although not a fun place to be for either, it is an honor and a privilege.

Seasons....each one is different. We are all in one season or another. There is beauty to behold in each one as well as obstacles to overcome and lessons to be learned. As Solomon so wisely put it..."there is a time for every purpose under Heaven". May we learn to approach each season on our knees, seeking to learn all that God has for us in that season, holding on to His hand as He walks us through it. We have never been down that path before, but He has and He knows the way. If we hold onto Him, walk with Him and let Him be our Guide, it will be an exciting adventure...no matter where the road may lead.

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