What Season Are You In

The writer of Ecclesiastes 3 makes some startling observations:

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break 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 cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace. (Eccl 3:1-8, ESV)

Even as I write this, we are smack dab in the middle of fall in Texas; which mean temperature changes, striking colors, holidays and transition. I’ve never liked transition in my life, unless it was from extremely bad to extremely good. But I don’t control the hands of time and every year that goes by I learn more and more just how little I am able to control. This fact makes me even more drawn towards the very few things I can control such as particular types of foods, drinks and movies that I know in advance will be good because I’ve experienced them several times.

Lately though, I’ve been moved to make the most out of every season, as it will in fact pass. Though very cliché and seemingly insincere, it is true that everything has a season to it. Friends with whom I’ve cried and shared life do occasionally move on. My kids are much older and dealing with different sorts of problems now than they were just a couple years ago. My bank account is radically different than it was at the beginning of the year. Transition seems to be everywhere around me.

Several years ago I’d have said in a very boisterous, aggressive tone, “Rise up, change your season, make it happen and if things don’t change, you’re not doing enough. You don’t have enough faith. You’re doing something wrong. Toughen up and get with it!”

After several years, several counseling sessions, even more books, and both dark and light moments of my soul, I’d now like to say to you, Rise to meet today. Find the grace to keep going today, as this is a season. It may be good, or it may be more traumatic than ever before. Nevertheless, it is a season and there is something to be learned in this season. Sometimes not giving up means we decided to get out of bed today, and simply survive one more day. Quitting or giving up hope altogether only hurts you and shreds your perspective, vision and emotional tenacity.

I’ve learned that what you learn in this season will make the next season that much more sweet, encouraging, and meaningful. But if we don’t get what we need now, we may be lacking in the future and we suffer most when we are incomplete. In many ways, there are lessons we can learn in life now, in this season, that can change us and alter us and make us who we were ultimately meant to be.  

To be constantly wishing for another season, or constantly wanting out of the season we are in, crushes the opportunity to grow now, mature now, and find hope now. It tends to lengthen the season we are currently in as well. We simply can’t control what others do, but we can control what choices we make and what coping mechanisms we utilize to live our life now, despite how good or bad things may be.

Remember “My response is my responsibility.” 

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Comments

Thank you, Samuel.

Not two hours before you posted this article, I was crumpled up in my closet, crying and begging God for strength to get through one more day. I'd been literally running from all my anger and the memories since last week. I'd been feeling good, proud about how my running times were improving, how I could go farther without struggling... I was glad that I could blank out my mind for the duration of the run and just feel free. And then yesterday, my husband made an offhand comment, about how he was feeling about me now in comparison to years prior... he meant well, but it just reminded me that for years he thought he didn't love me, and just treated me like property... paying attention to me only if he thought someone else might be looking at me with admiration. All the good feelings crumbled and I felt all the years come down on my shoulders and crush me.

Then the memories started flooding me. I'd outrun them all week and here they were, waiting for me as I was most unprepared. I prayed to God to give me strength enough to hold on to what is now and leave behind what was. I prayed for his guidance, in any way, to keep my keel even and not lose hope. And then you published this. I am taking it as God reminding me I'm not alone, He hears my prayers, and He puts people and circumstances in place that I may realize this, and know He is walking with me, all I have to do is open my heart, my ears, and my eyes to find Him.

Thank you for being a part of that.

How am I supposed to respond

This season has served to teach me to never blindly trust another person again. It has taught me that I have endured not only my husbands two affairs with the same woman, but that I thought so little of myself after years of verbal and emotional abuse that I had become a doormat.... And that I had allowed it to happen because I had made my happiness dependent on my husbands moods. I am trying to get out of the codependency. But I still continue to be on the receiving end of verbal abuse when I continue to ask questions that I need to know about his affairs. Yes I can hang up the phone when it gets bad, but the hurt is still there,eating away at my self esteem, especially when he does his usual thing of blaming me for his having the affairs. How am I supposed to respond to this season when there is really no hope in sight of any kind of resolution for a better marriage after. He simply does not want to do the work to change. i have changed by becoming stronger and not taking his abuse and not trusting him as i did before. In fact, trust will more than likely never return. I admit that my responses have not always been good, but that is due to the hurt and frustration and many losses and changes his affairs have caused. Yes, My response is my responsibility. Perhaps my response should be to run as far and as fast as I can to my lawyer. I just can't see a happy ending to this situation or a happier, sweeter future with a man so hell-bent on keeping his secrets and taking his anger at himself out on me. This season can't end soon enough for me.

Thought I had a handle on it.

Samuel. I thought Ihad a handle on things until a trigger last month. I am an emotional wreck again. It's been 3 years since I overheard that first conversation between them. Tons of circumstantial evidence since but no smoking gun. She changed jobs and Iam sure it is over but she has never admitted the affair. Most people tell me not to expect a confession and either accept it or leave. I don't want to leave but I can't accept that she won't come clean and help me heal. Some counselors say a full confession is the starting point. What is your take on expecting full disclosure? I am to the point of leaving just to regain my sanity.

getting a handle....

wow devastated, that's a challenge. it sounds like you are at a personal breaking point and if that's the case, like rick always says, if you keep doing what you've been doing, you'll keep getting what you're getting and what you're getting isn't working it would seem, right? i think expecting full disclosure is a must, but then again, it's about what your spouse will do and if they won't, then at some level you're in a bit of a pinch. some spouses would then say, OK for me to heal, I need a lie detector so we're going to get one and then see what that says and if it works and proves you're telling me the truth, we can heal and enjoy lives forever. however, if it shows that you're not telling the truth, i will expect full disclosure of what you're hiding.
some spouses forgo the lie detector and will simply issue an ultimatum which says: if you don't tell me everything, i'm leaving. i know you think i'll leave once i hear everything, but i commit to not leave after you tell me all you need to tell me for at least three days. after three days, i can't guarantee it, but for the first set time, (for some it's 2 or 3) i won't leave. but if you don't tell me the truth, i'm leaving as i can't trust you or cope with this.
another option though, would be to consider getting help for your own recovery, and seeing if you can't better cope with it. some spouses are stuck in situations where they may never know the truth. they will ultimately have to either 1. decide they know enough and get healing and recovery to move on in the marriage and realize it's over, they don't know and they won't know. 2. decide that they can't keep doing this and living with this pain and hurt, so they ultimately decide to separate and ultimately divorce for their own healing and recovery. you never want to make a rash decision so i certainly encourage you to think hard about the course of action you take. does this make sense? i'm happy to continue to dialogue with you more if you like. hope that helps in some way.

getting a handle

Thanks Samuel. The problem for me is how do you build a marriage on an on-going lie about the lies? If someone keeps denying an affair they will have no problem lying about anything else either, including another affair or saying "I love you" when they don't. What kind of marriage is that?

building a marriage

Devastated.....i get it, however, the problem is, you have only a couple choices. you can keep doing what your doing and get help to cope with the pain of it, and then start a new. meaning build a new marriage, with new openness, and with a new approach, and get the best type of professional help you can and 'see' if you can move forward in recovery, though you have no proof she did or did not have an affair. the reality is though, you can't change history or the past and if she did, you will have a good sense of relief at finally knowing the truth. if she did not, you can then put things in proper perspective and move forward.
OR, you simply can't handle it and need space to heal, and grieve, and consider what you ultimately want to do. depending on what state you live in, maybe it's time to at the very least, separate. some states will or won't allow a separation so before you do so, I'd make sure you know you're legal rights or else it could cause some difficulty for you in the divorce. perhaps getting some time to breathe and think through this all will help you? I don't disagree with you, meaning, what kind of marriage will that be and how can you ever trust her again.....but is it enough of an issue to cause you to divorce and move on? would she take the lie detector?
i would consider talking to her and saying 'listen, i love you, i want you, i want to be with you and i want to have a happy home (just giving ideas) but I need you to know, that I need the truth. I need to know it all if I'm going to live securely in our marriage. so if you don't tell me the truth, i feel like I need to separate from you and heal. i feel like if i don't have the truth, i'm living a lie and if you can't tell me, i need to leave and if she is not willing to tell you the truth under those circumstances, then you'll probably need to follow through with the threat. just some more thoughts for you.

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