Here I am sitting at the kitchen table that used to grace our beautiful newly fitted kitchen. The one with grey-gloss handless cabinets, sparkly white worktop and storage space…I repeat - storage space.
We finished renovating our house a couple of months before our third son Joseph was born. The nursery was beautiful and everything was organised, clean and had a place. Now Joseph is 10 months old and has just started crawling and the kitchen table I write from is in a different kitchen.
This new kitchen is an entirely different animal. It is shabby (not chic). It has a fitted oven with no numbers that mean I have to play a really not fun game of guess the temperature every time I cook on the one oven shelf it provides.
The floor tiles are stained with mysterious things that don’t come off when cleaned and there is literally no storage space!
So what happened? Why would we move from a house that we had just finished and made exactly how we wanted it?
There is an unexplainable stirring that happens when the Holy Spirit wants to move you on. The times and seasons of the Spirit are not ruled or restricted by earthly things so when my husband Tim and I began to get these stirrings just a couple of months after our son was born we knew that despite our natural season there was something else on the horizon.
Having a baby is an intense experience whether it’s your first, second, third or more. It changes the dynamic of your family unit. It’s a wonderful and challenging thing involving love, pain, sleepless nights and stretching in ways you didn’t know you could be stretched.
In a natural sense moving house at this time was uncomfortable. It would have been easier to stay put for a few years, enjoy the house we had made our home and be comfortable where we were, but God had other plans!
I want you to imagine for a moment that you are walking along a beautiful pathway. Either side of you are trees covered in blossom. It’s a pleasant journey. When you stepped onto the path you were lovingly instructed not to leave the path and right now you can’t imagine why you ever would.
You were told that no matter what happens on the journey you will never be alone and always have what you need when you need it. But you were never told the journey would be easy.
As you continue walking along the path often all you can see around you are vast expanses of countryside but sometimes you are passing towns where people are having a great time not on the path. You wonder why am I walking the path and taking the journey and they are not. So you invite them to join but they don’t want to leave because right now they are having too much fun.
But you must stay on the path.
Suddenly the path turns in an unexpected direction, a direction that looks darker, sadder. You think this can’t be right? This isn’t the path I chose. Maybe there’s another way? An easier way?
Stay on the path.
Inevitably the seasons change, some are kinder than others. In some you bask in the sunshine while in others you take shelter and wait.
But never leave the path.
I’m not talking about trivial things like living in a less nice house or not being able to afford a brand new car. But sometimes staying the path looks like leaving your comfort behind and walking a less attractive route because that’s the route the path is taking you.
Sometimes staying the path means accepting that you can’t have everything you want but trusting what the Lord said at the beginning of your journey that you will have everything you need.
We have an enemy whose greatest mission is to draw you away from the path by any means possible. He will promise you the world and give you death. He wants to isolate us from our source of life and watch us die of spiritual dehydration and starvation. He feeds us lies in place of life and when we choose to eat them up they poison our hearts and minds.
There is only one antidote to the enemy’s poison and that is the Truth, the very Word of God.
It sounds dramatic, but those who trust in God must recognise and be wise to the plans and schemes of the enemy. The war is being waged in the battlefield of our ordinary lives, in the daily decisions we make to listen or not listen to the Holy Spirit, to pick up our Bible or sign into Facebook, to move house or stay comfortable, to respond or react, to build up or tear down.
In some seasons its harder to ignore the lies than others, when the path turns darker and colder and the enemy whispers “Is He really a good shepherd?” or when something very appealing beckons you from just outside the path “Did He really say…?”
Do not allow the season you are in to tempt you off the path, instead accept and embrace the season as a training ground for the next. You are learning to take shelter in this season because you will need to do it again but in a greater storm. Or you may be learning it to teach someone else to take shelter for their storms.
Learn to draw one hundred percent from God in every season, learn the lessons, cry the tears and experience the joy and peace that only comes from God as you stay on the path.
Accept the season with its challenges and victories, its mess and its beauty.
In this season I am in raising and nurturing young children. I am still learning to be a good wife to my husband. I am learning to not only continue to stay the path but to stay the path in an intentional way. Not just clinging on for survival (which will always be true) but to stay the path and discover every mystery hidden in each season so I go into the next fully equipped.
I want to allow the seasons and conditions of my journey to forge me like a sword in the fire, allowing God to mould me and form me into an effective and useful tool in His hand.
Do not allow the season you are in to disqualify you when God’s heart is to use it to qualify you.
The Lord has set a path before me and although the seasons and conditions around change, my job is to stay on the path. When I hear the Lord whisper “Will you stay on the path in this season?” I will reply “Yes Lord, because ‘your unfailing love is better than life itself.’” (Psalm 63:3)