School has started and the temperature is showing the beginning of Fall. I was looking back at pictures from previous Falls and saw this picture from 2017. What do you see when you look at this picture? A cute toddler? Fallen leaves? A 'for sale' sign on the ground? Behind that picture, I was struggling with the identity of staying home with a child and trying to settle into our first house without family around. I am glad I took this picture to freeze time in that moment so that I could look back and see all that God has done. We often find ourselves at a crossroads of emotions when a new season comes--this could be new seasons of life, or literally when the four seasons of the year change. I recently read a blog that poses some questions to help you transition into a new season. I hope these questions are helpful to you as you step into Fall and a new schedule.
What do I love most about this coming season?
I personally LOVE fall! I get excited about having windows open with fresh air coming in. I love Fall food, such as soup. I love throwing food in the crock pot and leaving it to fill the house with delicious fragrance. I enjoy bundling up in long pants and sweaters. I also get refreshed by spending time outside. Watching the leaves change color is such a good reminder of God's handiwork.
What challenges do I think this season will have?
This was particularly helpful for me to think about. Coming out of summer break is always an adjustment for myself and my family. We go from having less activities and more family time to having activities that often take members of the family away from the house. I know that Fall will bring more work deadlines and ministry deadlines. I am challenged to balance homeschooling with regular day to day house responsibilities. The new challenge this season is that I have no children napping. This means that I have less quiet time during the afternoon to work on ministry responsibilities. None of these 'challenges' are a bad thing, it just requires some flexibility.
What kind of person do I want to be in this season?
I thought of the Master of Disguise movie where they say, "become another person, become another person". That is not what this question is saying. Think of how you can embrace who God has made you to be while growing into the person God is shaping you to be. I want to be present in each moment of each role that God has me in. That means that when I am teaching my children in the morning, I am not answering phone calls/texts about the ministries I am serving in. That also means that I can ask my children to do independent time so that I can focus on ministry responsibilities. I am working to be more flexible and not so rigid with my schedules. I know that some days will go better than others, but I am so thankful for God’s grace and hope to be able to give grace as well.
What are the immovable pieces of my week?
This question was very helpful for me. I was able to write out my responsibilities for each day and see which ones could not be moved. Those are certain meetings, bible studies and extra-curriculars for my children. I realized that I do have a few immovable activities, but many are flexible. This helped me to realize that I can give up control of my day-to-day expectations and trust God to put me where I need to be. To put that into practice, today we saw it was going to be cooler all day, so I decided to pack up lunches and we headed to Brookfield Zoo for the day.
What would serve me best to tackle challenges and embrace who I want to be?
I spend so much time with my own children and other children that I realized I need to take time to myself. I need to give myself permission to do this without guilt. I also need to spend time outside. Practically, I also want to meal plan better. I find myself struggling to decide what to cook for family dinner time-which in the Fall is the time of day when we are all together before bedtime. If you have any recipes you love, please pass them on! Most importantly, I need to prioritize time in the Word and prayer. I have found that starting my day works best, but I need to be flexible and fit in whenever.
I encourage you to spend time reflecting on and writing out these questions and answers. Talk with someone about your plan so that you have accountability. Your answers may be similar, or you might be in a completely different season than me. We are not here to compare, but here to spur each other on to transition well into the seasons of life that God has put us in!