No, I didn’t fly south for the winter . . .

I live in the Midwest, and I live through the four seasonal changes for better or worse.  In fact, I think if I did not live those cycles, I might not fully appreciate those wonderful days of late Spring, Summer and early Fall.  And what about those picturesque Winter snow days?  There is something about living through the seasons that enriches our lives.

Still, I have had to acknowledge that this winter, my season did not follow the typical ‘at rest’ pattern that often develops in the heart of winter.  This winter the days have filled to overflowing with a new direction.

I have shared that I needed to take a year off for rest, but I also know that during that year I was refueling for the next phase whatever it might be.  Resting was difficult and I filled time with the full year-long Bible study.  I did my best to maintain weekly blogs and connections.  And the year passed quickly.

How easy it is to fall into the classical use of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8:

 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up 

what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

The passage is referenced often as we make transitions in our life and remains a staple in our Bible library.  Its wisdom is timeless and reminds us that we all do go through various seasons in our lives.  We are human and the Bible repeatedly reminds us that all of humanity experience the same patterns in our human lives.

I am just one more who has to be reminded that I am human and that I, too, must experience life transitions.  I must admit that I have my limits and how I live my life revolves around the priorities I establish–and those priorities change from season to season.

You, too, know this truth.  You, too, must realign your lives based on the seasonal changes that you experience.

Therefore, I must forgive myself for the lapse in writing a blog for the last month.  I must ask your forgiveness for not reaching out to you personally.  I must realign reality with my priorities.

My first priority is to God, true, and he expects me to worship him, to serve him, and to do all that I can to make disciples of him for the transformation of the world–more importantly for the personal transformation that occurs for those who come to know God through the life of Jesus Christ, his son.

With that understanding, I returned to an active pastoral role in my home church.  The work is a passion and I want to do all that I can for this community of faith.

At the same time, I know God expects and understands that my family is a priority and for seven months that has included the emotional and physical support needed as the result of a tremendous accident.

Therefore, I must balance my passion for ministry with passion for my family.  The pause in blogging is the result; and the reality is that I have no idea how I will balance these three elements on into the seasons ahead.  

I did not fly south for the winter, which is in our country a phenomenon that happens when winter hits the Midwest and the North and individuals reach retirement–or now can work remotely during the winter-ravaged months.  

I make no promise to the regularity of my posts, but I want all to know that God is present in my life and in your life.  I pray that all who read these words know they are part of my faith family and that I love them as God loves them.  May your seasons be filled with God’s glory and for us in the Midwest, may the sun shine, the daffodils pop up, and spring begins to creep in.

Dear Patient Father,

Thank you for your everlasting, ever

     present love in our lives.

Thank you for the words of Scripture

     that guides us in the transitions of life.

Thank you, too, for the community

     of believers who love one another.

Guide us in accepting our humanness

    and grow into our faith.

Guide us in loving one another,

     so they, too, may experience your love.

Amen.

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