A season for everything

My coffee this morning is hazelnut, with a splash of creamer. There’s a row spindly, naked trees right outside the window. A couple weeks ago they were brilliantly yellow, but a recent evening of strong winds ripped every single leaf off them.

Today, I feel the need to ramble. I think the season brings this out in me–this contemplative state. The desire to journal all the time. And the desire to blog from my heart and not my head. It might not be pretty, or organized, or structured into an essay with an introduction, 3 supporting points, and a conclusion–but that’s okay, right?

Here, I’ll wait while you grab a cup of coffee.

Ready?

One of the things I’m loving about my time in Chicago has been the time and energy to be creative. I blog. I’m in a band. I write music. I help with the worship team at my church. I cook, sometimes things a little too complicated for my own good. I’ve taken up photography.

I try to live a life of prayer and talk to God throughout the day, and I end up thanking God a lot for giving me a job that, for the first time in my life, doesn’t take all the energy out of me. Leaves me with enough fuel that when I leave the office, I have plenty left. It helps a lot that once I leave work, I don’t think about work. I don’t stress about it, so I can engage in all sorts of other things.

And don’t think that this is because I somehow learned how to manage job-related stress–I never quite figured that one out. Instead, I received the totally unexpected gift of a job that simply doesn’t entail any. This is new for me . . .well, ‘new’ as in ‘2 years old.’

Anyway, while I love dipping my fingers in every single one of those creative pots, I have to say that in particular, being a part Thornfield has meant so much to me. The musical revival in my soul–that has been wrought largely through Eric and Carrie, and forming our band–is just such a joy. However, as soon as I started making music with them, a small voice in my head piped up and said “It’s great you’re enjoying this so much–but it ain’t gonna last forever.”

As much as that may sound pessimistic, it’s probably true. Eric wants to pursue a music composition graduate degree, and it looks like that may not be happening in Chicago. During the summer, Carrie sent me an email telling me that he was probably applying for schools in North Carolina, in Ohio–even Northern Ireland (and as of this past weekend, that process has begun). The moment I read those lines, I felt my heart drop. I leaned forward on my desk and felt the tears gathering in my eyes. I had known this moment could come, but to hear that plans were actually being made, plans that could take my friends far away and scatter our little band to the wind, made all my insides clench in sorrow. Will this be the end of my musical life . . . again?

That evening, I talked it out with my husband. “Baby,” I mused, “if Carrie and Eric move away, I don’t know if music will keep such a central place in my life. I mean, I love making music, I love writing music, but I’m not the main act. I’m not a soloist. I don’t know if I would have the motivation to continue without them.” The tears were swifty gathering again; besides losing two great friends, I could just see all my musical joy from the past two years falling like a bowling ball from the sky, and creating a big, spiky hole in my heart.

At that point, my husband said something really wise. He said, “You know Jenna, you didn’t really do music during the 3 years we were in Delaware, but those were still 3 great years. There are going to be phases in your life, and just because music leaves again doesn’t mean it won’t come back.”

Hearing his words was like a breath of fresh air in my soul.

A lightbulb turned on. I realized that I have talents, but that not all of them will be called upon or used at all times in my life–and that’s okay. Just because they go dormant for a while doesn’t mean they’re dead. There will be periods of life in which music will be central–and there have been (and probably will be again) periods during which it’s in the background. Or even deeply slumbering. There will be times when I’m called to put my talents and energies fully into my job: this was the case during my first 5 years of employment. I didn’t have a lot left over for anything else–but that was okay. Now, I have the privilege to spend my time outside of work (and at work when it’s slow) doing things I love like singing and photo shoots and blogging. And looking towards the future, if we’re blessed with children, there may be a number of years during which my talents and energy are used almost exclusively to help grow and care for those kiddos, and to be the best wife and companion I can to my husband. I may not have time to keep performing and writing and blogging and photographing–and yet even if I lay these things aside that right now are so important to me, it won’t be a waste.

Do you ever have future scenarios play out in your mind like a movie? Maybe it’s a girl thing, but I do all the time. Especially when I’m in the shower. One of them is this: one day, I will be washing dishes for the umpteenth time. Children will be clamoring for my attention, I will have glops of spit-up on my shirt, there will be a million and a half ‘menial’ tasks to do, and I will think “Wait! This isn’t worth my time! I’m smart enough and talented enough to do bigger things than cleaning a diaper! Once upon a time I was a successful site manager in a high-stress sales office, by gum! Why am I washing dishes . . . again???” And then, in this vision, a voice of wisdom pipes up and says “So signing off on a review or a budget is more important than feeding a living human being?” And I realize that just because I have the ability to have some job and create some budget doesn’t mean I’m called to do that.

And just because I have the ability to sing and play the guitar doesn’t mean I’m called to do that in every season of my life.

You know that phrase “The need is not the call”? Well, the talent is not the call either.

I have talents. God will give me different seasons in which different talents and abilities will come into the foreground, or fade into the background. The main point is love. Not maximizing your potential in order to make money or be seen as a success or feel good about yourself–but maximizing love.

I find great freedom in this. Whether in the future I’m a stay-at-home mom, a mom with a career outside the home, or not a mom at all, God is in control. He will bring new seasons and phase the old ones out. He promises peace and joy for each season, no matter what. If I ever have to ‘give up’ music or blogging, it’s not necessarily forever. I need to embrace what God brings my way without fear, and have great hope for the future. And whatever life holds, whether Thornfield is around for 1 more year or 10 more years, I will make music with Eric and Carrie for thousands of years in the Kingdom. And I’ll probably keep on blogging–because who says that all technology will fall by the wayside up in the heavenlies?

20 thoughts on “A season for everything

  1. Jenny @ Words On Wendhurst

    This was really beautiful to read this morning. I love how wise your husband is – I think God is so awesome for giving us men that give us such great insight and calm us down! Learning that life has seasons is one of the hardest life lessons, in my opinion. But, it is so crucial to learn, and will make such a difference. Thanks for sharing your thoughts this morning!

    Reply
    1. Erica

      Amen. God in His infinite wisdom has provided us, so kindly, with wise, loving men. How undeserving, yet blessed we are!!!

      Reply
  2. kate

    Oh, I have thought a lot about all of these subjects. I spent a lot of time thinking about seasons of life and living fully within the current season before getting married- I knew I was privileged to be able to go to as many dance classes as I could at that time. I have been startled to find opportunities to dance opening up within marriage and childbearing, instead of closing down. Then I think… but if I have another baby, maybe I’ll never dance again! Then I tell myself to calm down, and live in this season. I love this post, and I think it is beautiful how you use your talents and love God.

    Reply
    1. Jenna Post author

      Thanks Kate! You actually wrote a post about seasons that really inspired me (I think it was centered around your migrant work?). I love following along on the happenings in your life and the lives of your sisters–I always feel encouraged afterwards. It’s so cool that you’ve had so many opportunities to dance in your new life as a mama.
      On a random note, now when I look at that calendar in our kitchen I think “Kate has that calendar!” =)

      Reply
  3. Erica

    I love the line : “I need to embrace what God brings my way without fear, and have great hope for the future”. So true. So good.

    Reply
  4. Twinky

    My goodness, you are able to express with words so eloquently such amazing truths and wisdom! I’m so glad I get to learn/relearn things from you… truth is truth no matter what age or mouth it is proclaimed from. A lot of what you have written is just what I need to be reminded of. Thank you. Love you.

    Reply
  5. Veronica Miller

    You mentioned in yesterday’s post that “thy will be done” is a scary thing. I nodded my head then and I’m reminded of it now, after reading this blog. You’ve found the key to un-scare-ifying it: knowing you’re in God’s hands at all times and finding the peace and joy to be there! I struggled with letting “His” will and not “my” will be done as a new Christian, but it is easier now as my faith grows. I am at peace if He never blesses us with children now. Even if I want them, there is some comfort in knowing that God’s plan will be wrought on Earth no matter what and perhaps my not having them is part of that. Trusting is hard, but it’s also freeing b/c then I don’t have to worry so much b/c I know…it’s in God’s hands! :) Sooooo, I totally just wrote my own post b/c of the thoughts you provoked in me so let me comment on YOUR post! LOL, I loved it. Well written, spiritual, and beautiful. You seem so zen, Jenna. We are so different (you=zen, happy go luck. me=drama queen) but we also have so much in common!

    Reply
    1. Jenna Post author

      Yes! You put it so well. “Knowing you’re in God’s hands at all times”–it’s such a comfort! And it totally gives the foundation for a life of peace. I’m glad to hear you’re having an easier time as your faith grows. That’s been my experience too, but there are still some areas where I find myself struggling to let go.
      I love reading your thoughts! And I really like you too, in case you hadn’t noticed. =)

      Reply
      1. Veronica Miller

        Jenna, do you mind if I ask how you became a Christian? Were you raised in a Christian family or did you come to God as an adult? I was raised a Jehovah’s Witness and fled as soon as I was an adult, then became a Scientologist (cult city), got scared off religion completely, and then slowly found my way back to God b/c of some things he put in my path. We found our home church and got baptized in 2008. That’s the short story, anyway! haha

      2. Jenna Post author

        Thanks for sharing your story! I was raised in a Christian family and asked Jesus into my heart when I was 4. =) I have a vague memory of it, of kneeling by the window when I was alone in my room one night. As I grew up, I proceeded to think ‘Maybe it wasn’t enough the first time I asked!’ so I kept asking Jesus into my heart when I was 6,7, etc. Finally I got over that phase and when I was 12 came to a new spiritual maturity–I started doing my own devotionals, reading the Bible on my own, praying as a lifestyle, and “owning” my faith as something personal as opposed to something I had just inherited from my family. And I’ve been on that path ever since!

      3. Jenna Post author

        . . . and have you written your testimony down somewhere on your blog? I’d love to hear the non-short story some time! Especially how you found your way back to God, and what those things in your path were.

  6. Kimby

    Jenna, it took TWO cups of coffee to ponder your beautiful, truthful musings this morning. You’ve figured out in one post what it took me years to conclude — just because God has given you gifts/abilities, doesn’t mean you have to use ALL of them ALL of the time — like your title (and Eccleasiastes) say: There is a season for everything. (Love that first photo, by the way!)

    I think the pull you feel in your heart towards music (towards anything that gives you that “I wish I could be doing something with this right now” feeling) is God’s means of identifying your gift(s). The things we feel strongest about — the most passionate towards — are the things that He will use, eventually. (“I know the plans I have for you…”)

    What helped me most was switching my focus from “Why…?” (why am I not using my musical ability to the fullest, why are the doors closing on something I love so much, etc.) to “What next?!” God is full of surprises. :) He uses every experience as a foundation for the next one.

    Last of all, I was so touched by your testimony. Amen to “owning” it — I liked how you put that. For some reason, I can’t stop smiling and it’s hard to drink coffee and smile at the same time. :) Love ya, kiddo!

    Reply
  7. Megan

    What a great reminder! Thank you Jenna.

    I was just thinking about this recently. Before getting pregnant with Kyle, all the creative endeavors I could do felt almost pointless to me compared to being a mother. (I do realize that is incorrect though) But then there have been times when I’ve felt so discouraged because my life is now filled with washing diapers and dishes. (Which is also not true because I’m watching a person grow before my eyes, and I play an integral part in that growth. It’s truly amazing!) But there really are seasons for things. Different aspects of life seem too intense at the time and feel like they will last forever, but they never do. I think I’ve just past the more demanding stage of babying and I actually managed to sew a costume for Kyle in a matter of hours last week. Maybe someday it will make it to my blog.
    I guess I’m just reiterating what you said, but I thought it was helpful. I think if you feel your musical season possibly coming to a close soon, you should plan accordingly to transition into a season of motherhood and then take up the musical phase again later. I mean, Kyle needs a friend to go visit in Chicago.

    Reply
    1. Jenna Post author

      A little friend for Kyle! Well, I’d love to provide a reason for you guys to come visit in Chicago, so . . . =)
      Thanks for telling all about your life now–I love hearing updates from you.

      Reply
  8. Sarah

    Hi! I really needed to hear this today: “Well, the talent is not the call either.
    I have talents. God will give me different seasons in which different talents and abilities will come into the foreground, or fade into the background. The main point is love. Not maximizing your potential in order to make money or be seen as a success or feel good about yourself–but maximizing love.”
    —Thanks for being willing to share (you gave a voice to something I have been feeling, but didn’t really understand or know how to express).
    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Jenna Post author

      My pleasure! And it was great seeing you guys on Saturday. Thanks for coming out! We’ll have to hang out sometimes soon. =)

      Reply
  9. Layla

    Jenna I just thought of this entry when I saw the magnet on my fridge which says, “To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 :o)

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *