I’ve been gathering a collection of melancholy thoughts this fall about how a Christian woman can move in faith through the seasons of her life, particularly mid-life and familial changes that come with this season.
Melancholy always hits me in the fall, even since my youth. I am learning to accept the tears that accompany it, the reflectiveness it offers, and I try to appreciate what it has to teach me.
Fall is a more defined transition than a new calendar year. Progressions are more noteworthy in September: the next grade, a new school on some occasions, another year older…and another year older for me too. My children are not growing up in a vacuum. As I have said since they were little, I am growing up with them. And I sense more keenly these days that I am not only growing up but I am growing slightly older too.
For friends whose kids are also approaching adulthood, there is recognition that we are in a blustery season of motherhood where the changes mean more than minor progressions. All of those yearly milestones total up and deliver our children to adulthood. Instead of sending them out the door to catch the bus, we may be sending them off to new locations altogether, and goodbyes must suffice for longer than for a few hours. This can pang a mom’s heart like seemingly no one else’s. Moms have been noticing these changes from the start and now the years have brought her to this? It hurts a little bit.
Then you have changes in a seasoned marriage. 25, 30+ years of marriage is a progression to celebrate! Commitment, love, and chutzpah–filled with the grace of God, have brought you to this day. And here you are too tired to enjoy it. You look and feel differently than you thought you would when you used to imagine the kids growing up. You don’t feel as vibrant as you once did. Instead you have mellowed and really you just want to take an extended nap. Lol I joke, mostly. Still it’s a shame that youth is wasted on the young.
As a friend and I discussed these changes recently we needed to encourage one another…that our best was not behind us. That being middle aged is not a curse. It is right where God has us. And as women of God, we can and should thrive in the God-ordained season we are in, whether as a single woman, a busy mom, a grandma, a widow. And we can, by faith, walk into the future with a smile (and not afraid)–even as pain and heart-ache inevitably await us, because God is faithful and He will be with us in every season!
But why did God make life as it is? Why do we fade? How can we laugh at years to come?
I came across this Spurgeon quote recently and it guided my thoughts well. Just a reminder that we are like grass.
As my friend and I concluded our talk, we figured this is how God settled the matter for now. When sin ushered in the fall it was a fall from how things ought to be. But our hearts still long for the way things ought to be. Instead of realizing and sustaining all of our hopes and dreams in this lifetime, we are year by year reminded that this world is not our home. Which is a great reminder to store up our treasures in heaven, not on earth. Because we’re just passing through. We were made for another world and our hearts, if we have trusted in Jesus Christ, are already being fit for eternity. May we not think too highly of ourselves nor focus on making our mark, but instead may we make much of HIM, because therein lies a glory which will never fade!
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
2 Corinthians 4:16-18