I am a huge fan of summer. Growing up in Michigan, going to the beach was my favorite summer activity. In college, I was in Western Michigan where I fell in love with Lake Michigan. The West Michigan shore on Lake Michigan is beautiful with the natural sand, lake grass, and huge sand dunes. One of my favorite college memories was climbing an enormous sand dune at Warren Dunes State Park. That became one of our favorite camping spots when my husband and I were in our early years of marriage. When we lived in Western Michigan with our family, I fell in love with Tunnel Park in Holland, Michigan. There is a tunnel that goes right through a sand dune so you don't have to climb over it to get to the beach; however, our kiddos always chose to climb over the dune anyway. We found a county run campground and beach in Muskegon, Michigan that became our favorite campground because the dunes were beautiful and the beach was small and not crowded. But, the downside is the winter. I'm not a fan of cold weather because the cold wind seems to go right through my bones no matter how many layers I wear. Even with all the cold I still have to admit that the snowy view is amazing. The picture above is what my backyard looks like today. I now live in Western New York, where the weather is similar to Western Michigan. You have to admit that God's design is amazing!
Something I learned about the snow and cold is that it is very necessary. I don't have to like the cold and driving on slippery roads, but in order to have the summer things we enjoy the snow and cold has to happen. Last year we had a warm winter with very little snow for our area, and we paid for it this summer. Because the winter was warmer than usual, all the fruit trees began to bud early and then most of the fruit was destroyed by a heavy frost. We also saw a lot more bugs this summer - bugs that ate my strawberry plants. As a result, I didn't make any apple pie this fall because the apples are just too soft and would become applesauce in my pie. I didn't make cherry pie this summer because there were no cherries to find at an affordable price. It was so bad that we couldn't even find an orchard that was open for picking (one of our family's favorite fall activity); all their crops were going to the stores.
Life brings all different seasons, doesn't it? Some of the seasons are full of wonderful events and memories and other seasons feel life-less. Some seasons are even filled with pain. But just as seasons are necessary in nature, our life seasons are important, too. I look at winter as a time of nature's chance to rest. The trees can rest after having a season of putting a lot of energy into growth and production. And late fall or early winter is a great time to prune certain bushes because we have a better view of all the branches without cutting off new growth.
Maybe you feel like your heart is in winter right now. You don't seem to be growing and things actually feel like it has come to a stand still. Maybe it is time to allow God to prune away at some things in your heart that just don't belong. Maybe it is time to rest in God and let Him do His work to prepare the soil in your heart for an even greater produce when summer comes. This week, I plan to look at some parables that Jesus told about the Kingdom of God and how He related to farming with some of them. I would challenge you to consider what season your heart seems to be in right now and how you can apply the truths that Jesus told us in these parables.
For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NLT)
Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NLT)What season are you in right now?
How can God use this season to prepare you for even greater growth and produce in the future?
This post is linked with Sharing His Beauty.