He knows our seasons

April Sharp

“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven – a time to give birth and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted; a time to kill and a time to heal; a time to tear 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 stones and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace and a time to shun embracing. A time to search and a time to give up as lost; a time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear a part and a time to sew together; a time to be silent and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace.”

-Ecclesiastes 3:1-9

I am a prepper. Not of meals, although that would be helpful, but of disasters. I can sit at the kitchen table or stand in the shower and imagine the worst of any scenario. I can see the devastation. I can smell the carnage. My brow will furrow, and my stomach will tighten, and I think of all the things I would do in that moment. Once the image has passed, I am not left feeling lighter or more prepared for life’s crisis’, I am left feeling exhausted and usually nauseous.

There are moments that you can rehearse in your head but never truly be prepared to live. Some are too beautiful to ever capture before they happen. The day you get married and see your bride walk down the aisle. The birth of your child. The day they leave the house. Others are so heartbreaking, that you cannot possibly know the pain until it envelops you. The death of a parent or a child.  A car accident. A loss of a job. A natural disaster. And it makes no difference if you knew it was coming or if it was sudden, there’s no way to prepare yourself.

Grief is like that – easy to think you’ve got a handle on, but in reality, there are no handles or footholds inside. The idea of it seems simple. There are steps that lead to acceptance, and the word itself is small and simple. Five letters. So inconsequential. But when it hits you, and in this life it will because none of us escape it, it feels like the world is collapsing and you will never be whole again.

I’ve experienced grief in varying stages. I lost my grandmother to Alzheimer’s. She lived an incredible 86 years on this earth and is now home, with the one she loved most, dancing and free to remember, but that knowledge did not make the loss any easier. I lost my aunt before she was 50. I have watched pets die. I have watched marriages dissolve. I have been rejected and lost friends. I have sat through doctors telling me my son had autism and would likely amount to nothing. I have begged God for reprieve and felt the biting sting of prayers that reverberated around my four walls and slapped me in the face with their hollowness. I have found little comfort in the pages of His word and turned my back on Him more than once.

And that’s ok.

You see, God knew all of this in advance. He knew I would spiral into a depression that lasted years after the word autism became synonymous with parenting. He knew the exact moment my grandmother would draw her last breath. He knew the moment when my parents would sign on the dotted line and rip their marriage license in two. He knew my seasons.

He knew I would reject Him and lean into my failures and my fears and my flaws. He knew I would pick back up addictions and reopen old scars. He knew I would lose my breath every time I am around a child the same age as mine and hear them speak. He knew I would weep with bittersweet joy over my second child’s first I love you. He knew my seasons.

Grief is no stranger to God. He has wept. He has laughed. He has asked burdens to be lifted from Him that were so heavy He could scarcely breathe. He knows our seasons. He is intimately familiar with them and with us.

He made trees to bud and sprout and then look alive in beauty as they change and grow. He made them shed and stand still as skeletons as snow blankets them. He made flowers to bloom and wither. He made us to flourish and to fade. To grow and to grieve. To dance and to die.

Your grief is not too much for Him to bare. It’s not too little or insignificant for Him to notice. He knows our seasons. And that’s ok.