To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…
Ecclesiastes 3:1 KJV
I spent my twenties in a dark place. Away from God, unhappy, and struggling to find my place. People I loved abandoned me, let me down, deceived me, shamed me, and humiliated me so often that I pulled away from everyone. I tried to make a life worth living and loving, but it always eluded me, so I gave up on the possibility of other seasons.
Finally, as a divorced, unemployed, bankrupt single mom, I stopped allowing my shame and hurt feelings dictate my life. Next, I moved home and did my best to make up with those I’d turned from, found a new position, and started college. I never wanted to rely on anyone again; I would make sure I could provide for my son and me. We would succeed; I’d make sure of it.
I met an amazing man and we married two years later. He stood by my side through seasons of struggling with co-parenting issues. He brought me to his church when I expressed how I missed having a place to belong, and from day one I felt like I completely belonged there. We invested deeply into our new church life together, bought a house, had a baby, and eventually moved into an even nicer house. Everything I’d longed for when I had nothing was present in my life. Life was bright, warm, and full of good feelings. I was sure I’d made it through the worst part.
I cannot tell you when or why the seasons of my life first began to change. When the sunny happiness of my life slowly faded into a fiery autumn, but I felt the winds of change coming. Feelings of less than and sadness started creeping in as I walked through my autumn season and felt the coldness of winter rolling upon me. The winter season was the hardest one. Activities I loved lost their luster, books went unread, and dishes unwashed. God led me to a new place where the familiar, warm things I’d clung to before were gone, where it was just He and I.
I was an overworked, over-volunteered, over-achieving, over-tired mom trying to keep up with what I thought everyone expected of me. Life was finally on the right track for me, so why would God decide to move me to a new season? I liked the old one.
Surely He had forgotten me, so I started to forget Him. I pulled back from obligations, church, and volunteer duties. I went from being a fixture at my church to being an occasional pew warmer. At my lowest point, I asked Him why. Why had He taken my happiness? I was mad, and I wanted answers. No matter how loud I asked Him or how many times, I didn’t hear Him respond.
When talking wasn’t working, I turned to reading. Reading, noting, and studying through my Bible like never before. Digging into stories I vaguely remembered from childhood and some I’d never heard before. His word was for me. God led me to this difficult place so He could open my eyes to His love, promises, mercy, and forgiveness. He had plans for me.
I started connecting with people everywhere I went, sharing the highs and lows of my life while cheering others on. One night, I felt compelled to pen a letter to the world about depression and motherhood on my blog. My intention was to vent and tell society we need to take better care of each other, but I saw an outpouring of women just like me who had felt alone, sad, ashamed, and longed for acceptance. I finally understood: He moved me through that season of life so I could reach this new season. It was time to start sharing my story about His love and guidance with the world, and to help others heal, know Him, and feel loved.
Our understanding is limited, but God’s work is always good. His promises are always kept and He will lead us through seasons of happiness and sadness throughout our lives. We only need to trust in Him, love each other, and stay faithful to His message to live the full life He intended for us.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing. A time to rend, and a time to dew; a time to keep silent, and a time to speak.
Ecclesiates 3:4-7 KJV
Author | Danielle Peterson
Danielle Peterson is a wife, mom, and cat owner residing in Michigan. Featured on numerous blogs, her passion for spreading love, happiness, and God’s word led her to begin writing in 2018. You can read more from Danielle on her blog, sheproclaims.wordpress.com. You can also find her on Facebook @sheproclaimsblog and Instagram @she.proclaims.