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Embracing the Seasons of Life


Principles that Rise to the Surface When Looking Back Ten Years

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Ecclesiastes 3:1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

Psalm 1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

Over the Christmas break I’ve been organizing our photo collection during some down-time. Wow, does time fly! Over the past few days I’ve looked at 39gigs of photos for a grand total of 15,600 pictures dating back to 1999 when we got our first digital camera. My picture taking really ramped up a few years ago when I got a really good camera. It’s been fun visiting all these moments and memories.

In all, I’ve relived 9 Christmases, 9 first days of school, 9 sets of family birthdays, 9 years of trips to Disneyland, 9 family vacations… well, you figured it out—pretty much 9 of everything! Through it all I’ve had moments when I laughed my head off and others when I cried my eyes out—and everything in between. And there have been some things strengthened in my heart, as I look forward to 2009. There are guiding principles that rise to the surface as well as many things I don’t regret—things I’m so glad the Lord led us to do. Maybe they will encourage you as you begin your new year.

First the principles, and in the next article I will share the things I don’t regret.

1. Life is very seasonal—by God’s design, life happens in seasons. Each season is unique and comes with its own challenges and blessings. These seasons are divided by things like pre-school years, elementary years, high school years, college years, early ministry, early marriage, etc. Right now I have a high school senior who drives a car! And it’s a brief season that is passing all too quickly. Just as one season ends, a new and exciting one begins. This is God’s good plan.

2. Discontentment is when we are in one season wishing we were in another—enjoy the season you are in NOW! It probably won’t last long, and you don’t want to look back on it wishing you had done something differently. Since you only get one shot, get it right the first time. Do it God’s way.

3. Your best fruit in life will come at the right seasonfruit comes in seasons too, and God’s best blessings in life and ministry are worth the wait. Just keep doing the right things day after day… year after year. No matter how small they are or insignificant they seem, just keep doing them.

4. Even your spiritual battles will come in seasons—spiritual attack comes in waves. It’s there for a season and gone for a season. I’ve seen this dozens of times in my own life, but Scripture teaches it as well. Luke 4:13, “And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.” More than a few times I’ve prayed, “Lord, what’s really going on here?” Only to have His Holy Spirit whisper, “You are in the midst of spiritual battle.” In those times, all I can do is pray and resist—refusing to quit and determined to press forward by God’s grace. And sooner or later, the season passes!

5. In every season ask yourself “will I regret this ten years from now?“—to make the most of the season you are in, you must take the long view. A thousand times I’ve come to an opportunity or a big decision. When viewed in the light of this question, big decisions become much easier. Will I regret this ten years from now? Does this help me honor the Lord and go His direction in my life? If so, you will never regret it! Make this question a part of your daily thought process. It’s a great way to test your moment by moment decisions, and it’s a great way to look back with no regrets.

When I looked at those thousands of photos, I saw thousands of moments—memories that perhaps we wouldn’t have made if I let the urgency of a moment over-rule the value of the season. Thank God for every season, and cherish every one in contentment. If you live this season well, you will one day look back on it with deep gratitude.

And just ahead is a new season—a new year to fully embrace for God’s glory. Do it in such a way as to have no regrets.

>Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

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5 Comments

  • I have enjoyed EVERY Season with you & our kids so far…..it brings tears to my eyes remembering, but they are happy tears!

  • Good stuff bro. As our family enters a new season, or blank page in God’s book of our life, we are excited and embrace the thought that we want to get the most out of this season, as we won’t ever get it back! One of our driving factors is the fact that the time we have to really position our kids to be impacted by God is getting less and less (as far as their being under our roof) We are looking forward to what the road ahead has in store!

  • As one who is newly married, new in ministry, and living in a new location, it is an encouraging reminder that everything has a season. I catch myself often dreaming and wishing it were a different season. Wishing I would be in my 10th year of ministry, and seeing lives changed and having youth work figured out. Dreaming of being comfortable living in a new location, with a new church. Envisioning what it will be like, and how sweet it will be, (not that it isn’t now!)
    when my wife and I will have our 5th, and 10th, and 20th anniversaries.

    Then your comments hit me with reality, that every moment and “season” is from the Lord. If I never learn to embrace, love, and devote myself to the current season and its blessings and struggles; I will never appreciate the future ones either.

    Thank you for your constant reminders Bro. Schmidt.

  • This is how I remember your kids… I think the last time we spent any time with you this is about the age they were. I barely recognize them on your homepage photo. How time has flown….

    Thank you for your articles. They are very helpful and I enjoy reading them.

    Hello to Mrs. Schmidt!

  • How very precious indeed! I just love reading your articles, Cary … and I’m discovering many similarities between this “Auntie & Nephew” :)
    At age 56, married 36 years (to the same man!), with Peter approaching 30, and Denise only 19 days from turning 27, I reflect back on many seasons … many pictures … many memories … many troubles … many joys … and ALWAYS … God’s great FAITHFULNESS through it all … moment-by-moment. In this new present season of our lives, I look forward, with great expectancy, believing the promise that God saves the GOOD WINE till last! Sipping … one sweet day at a time … the ever-increasing-LOVE from the Lover of our souls. Love to you & all your household.


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