We're on our way to fall! Football weather... vibrant colors... you know all the descriptions. Isn't it great to live in a place where the seasons really do change? But have you ever noticed... the season never pleases everyone.

Being a woman past my 30's... I'm experiencing "changing seasons." Every joke I ever secretly laughed at about midlife is whizzing by me like bullets in a firefight. But, even with its challenges, being in my 40's has great benefits. Each season does. We're all in our own season. An interesting choice we get to make is whether we have grace for those in seasons different than our own.

Sometimes grace is letting people express the joy or frustration of their season without correcting their bearings with our "wisdom." Or listening to those who are years ahead of us and thinking "maybe I can watch, listen and learn from them."

Does the woman celebrating 35 years of marriage have grace for the newlywed? Or does she diminish the young woman's joy by saying "Oh honey, it's SO much better when you're older." Does the empty nester have grace for the young mom of 4 kids under age 6- or does she leak out her own sadness- sternly advising “You better appreciate all this (exhaustion) before your home is empty!” When she’s having a lonely moment, does the single woman have to hear "How awesome it must be to not have to clean up after anyone!" from the married woman with 2.5 children?

I’ll admit it. I’ve done a pitiful job at listening to people share their frustration without trying to forcibly redirect them toward being grateful or gleaning some unsolicited“nugget” from me. Not sure I’m much better now… but at least God’s making me more aware! Romans 12 says: “Laugh with your happy friends when they're happy; share tears when they're down.” (Or, as a group of amazing friends did recently… give flowers instead of advice!) What wise instruction for us to be gracious!

Is it frustrating to you when people don't hear what you're going through... only comparing it to where they currently are? HOW do we build a community full of grace for the different experiences we are living? What kind of grace does that take? Share your experience or what you do to keep the well intentioned thoughts in your head from discouraging others.


Janice said...

Every age has its ups and downs. I have to admit that I've had a hard time adjusting to being the "mother of adults" --- our kids are always supposed to be our babies needing our guidance and protection, aren't they? But they no longer are --- they soon have babies of their own, and THAT is the compensation for having grown kids --- grandchildren are indeed the best blessing of becoming older. Along with that blessing is the one of seeing your now grown children being good parents and you can thank God that he enabled you to go through the season of parenting somewhat successfully in order to enjoy this colorful autumn season of life.

HillsideWomen said...

Janice, one of the things I love about you is the way you share the hope of the next season without diminishing the reality of the present one. You are such a wise and thoughtful woman.