Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Embracing the Seasons

A few months ago I read an article about women who use pictures of their children for their Facebook profile. The author saw this as a step down for women who once were possibly prosperous, individuals in our society. Now they are simply relegated to their children. Their children define them. Their online identity is their children. What once stood as a testimony to their interests, dreams, and personality has now been invaded by a little person in diapers. Their conversations, which were once intelligent and deep, now consist of sleep schedules, teething, and diaper rash.

While I agree that our children, career, friends, or husbands should never be where our identity is found, I was troubled by her assertion that these women were in some way "letting down the team." Women have a variety of seasons over the course of their lives. Some seasons are "productive" in that we bring in income, complete a variety of projects, and have a full social calendar. Others are seemingly less "productive", but looks can be deceiving. As Christians, we should be careful that we not define fruitfulness by tangible results and productivity, per se. A young mom might not check much off her to-do list on any given day, but her work in her home is sowing seeds that will, Lord willing, one day produce a harvest of righteousness. A pregnant mom might once have had the energy to engage in deep conversations at the end of the day, where as now all she can do is give her friends an update on the morning sickness.

What the author failed to acknowledge is that women, unlike men, have fairly defined seasons in their lives. My husband is not, nor can he be, pregnant. And while this pregnancy has certainly impacted him, he can still do the majority of the things he did before we were pregnant. He doesn't have to pack extra snacks wherever he goes. He doesn't have to put his feet up at the end of the day. He doesn't have to rest more frequently.

I do. My body is not my own now and won't be for a very long time. Pretending like this is not the case is to deny the very clear biological and emotional differences between my husband and myself.

It took me a long time to come to terms with the reality of living a seasonal life. When we first got married I struggled with the sudden changes that my life underwent. My single life was easier and more carefree. Now I had a husband to love and care for. When I was dealing with the side effects of some treatment, I struggled with the fact that I couldn't do all that I wanted to do. I was limited, but only for a season. When I first got pregnant I was pretty much dead to the world for about 17 weeks. But again, it was only a season. Now I have a little more energy, but still not as much. When the twins come it will be another season of change and adjustment.

I think that part of the reason we face seasons in much greater measure as women is because it allows us to adapt to the ever changing needs of our husbands and families. When I resist these changes, I am actually resisting the One who created me and the season I am in. There will be a day where I am not limited by my growing belly, but then it will be a new season with new joys and new limitations.

The world doesn't understand this. As the article I read articulated, our sinful nature is self-seeking. To give your life for another is a foreign and ridiculous concept. But that is what we are called to as women, and as Christians, really. Every single day, whether you are married, single, pregnant, or caring for multiple children, is an opportunity to embrace the season that God has placed you in, recognizing that it is only that--a season. Like all seasons, it will end, only to be met by another one. And each one is a precious gift from God.


Candace said...

Thank you for this!! So needed right now!

Courtney Reissig said...

You are welcome! Praise the Lord it ministered to you!

Chelsea Bass said...

I think there is a difference in women who are facing a new season and all that comes with it, and women who are completely consumed by a particular season.

I find myself frustrated with those people who make their kids their profile pictures, and who talk and write about absolutely nothing else. I realize how easy it is to get sucked into only talking about Margot and pregnancy, because that's what consumes most of my thoughts, but I find that making an effort to post about other things God is doing in my life, or even just fun, silly ongoings is healthy and beneficial. Also, it doesn't isolate my childless or single friends so much.

Courtney Reissig said...

You are totally right, Chelsea. Sorry I wasn't clearer. I think there is a big difference between living in a season and letting that season define you. We can't pretend like it's not happening to us, but we also must recognize that no matter our season, the season does not make up our identity.