by ANNIE WESCHE
He has made everything beautiful in its time…
“Sweetheart, I’m a little concerned,” my mum gently expressed to me. “You’ve always been so intentional with creating a beautiful and inviting living space, but you’ve hardly done anything at all to your new apartment.” Looking around the room, she continued with a knowing smile. “You’ve put nothing on the walls and…” extending her hand toward the large empty space on the carpet, “…honey, you at least need a place for people to sit when they come over.”
I’d already been in my new apartment for a few months, and she was right. I’d set up just enough for me to function in everyday life, but hadn’t invested in anything that would actually beautify the space or make it welcoming for others. And as grateful as I was for God’s provision of my own place, inwardly I was resisting my trajectory towards becoming settled.
“I know,” I replied with a somewhat guilty smile. “I’m just having a hard time with the idea of acquiring … things.”
Throughout the years, decorating had always been a delight to me — intentionally beautifying a space to create a place of both hospitality and personal refuge. But in this season, I was struggling to even begin. What once had been a joy now felt daunting, like a weight I didn’t want to pick up and carry.
To lend some clarity as to the reason for this shift, I had just come home from living in Haiti for 29 months. And within those nearly two and a half years my friend and I, and the children in our care, moved more than a dozen times — able to pack up all we had into just a few suitcases. Although the constant relocating came with undeniable challenges, God had supplied us with a beautifully given grace to live that way. I grew to have joy in the simplicity and freedom of possessing little. I loved it, in fact — the feeling of lightness and an ability to go at any moment, unencumbered by the responsibility of many “things.”
But now that my time in Haiti had come to a beautiful conclusion and God had provided me a little home to settle into, I was struggling to let go of my mobile lifestyle and that feeling of freedom. As time unfolded, and with the gracious encouragement from my mum, God began to guide my heart from Third-World living back to suburban, small-town America. God was walking me through a surrender of one season into the receiving of a new one — both given by Him with loving providence and purpose. In Haiti, He had taught me to operate with simplicity and adaptability. But now He had led me back to work, serve, and settle in Colorado where a home was much more fitting. And she was right, that dear mother of mine, it was more hospitable to provide a place for guests to sit.
Slowly, I began to settle and lay some roots into my God-given season there in the Main Street apartment. The lesson was not simply about filling a house, but to learn how to invest in what would serve God’s good purposes for the season He’d appointed. It wasn’t in order to become heavy-laden with getting “more things,” but to have joy in acquiring that which could better serve the ministry of a home. I found a lovely blue sofa for guests to sit on, bargain shopped for simple decor, hung up meaningful photos and Scriptures on the walls, and used the “nice” dishes. I was gifted house plants, got to know my landlord, took walks around the neighborhood to meet people, and hosted small gatherings. Joyous memories with friends and sacred moments with the Lord unfolded in that place as I embraced and received with increasing gratitude the more settled season God had given me. And in fully embracing it, I experienced both the restful renewal of sanctuary and the rich fellowship God intended in giving me that home.
But life is moved forward by seasons. God has made it thus, and we have only to look to creation to see the unavoidable and glorious turning of each new season — one yielding to the next with surrender, acceptance, and expectation.
After a couple delightful years in my apartment on Main Street, circumstances once again called for me to surrender to God’s loving guidance for my life. A stage-four cancer diagnosis for my dear mum had me urgently rushing home to Idaho. Not long after that I officially made the move back home to my parents’ house to care for mum and continue my work remotely. I packed up my apartment, gave many things away, and handed over the keys of that happy little haven on Main.
As I write this, it has now been a few years since my dear mum went to be with Jesus, and I find myself in yet another unanticipated chapter in the life story God is writing. I look back on these varied seasons and see the unique contrasts He has allowed me to experience — which have all built a greater dependence on Him for life, fulfillment, and joy, rather than my changing circumstances or my own unfulfilled plans. Throughout the years I’ve lived in a spacious mountain mansion and I’ve lived in a hot and crowded container house in Haiti. I spent time living out of a suitcase and I’ve settled into my own home. I’ve gone from a season of flourishing independence and freedom, to being a full-time caregiver where there was very little personal time, social activities, or sleep. I’ve walked through long seasons of bustling ministry life and I’ve worked remotely in mostly quiet isolation.
But throughout all these changing seasons, I continue to learn a precious truth in ever-sweetening measure — the ongoing surrender of my life to the One who went to the Cross for me and Who reigns over all things in wisdom, power, and love always leads me to find His purpose, peace, beauty, and joy — no matter the circumstances or seasons. At the first signs of disquiet in my soul when things begin to change, to facing the greatest depths of difficulty, I must open my hands in faith. He will take hold of them and lead me through. (See Isaiah 41:13.) In Him, I possess everything I need. And what blessed joy — each and every season is not only meant to grow us in the knowledge of our Good Shepherd and make us more like Him, but to also bear before this world the testimony of Christ in us and the Jesus they too need to know and follow.
. . .
Dear friend, oh that I could extend some comfort to you as you walk through your own changing seasons of life. I would beckon you to embrace the changes that unfold from the One who unfolds them for you. In all their discomfort or joy, their challenge and uncertainty, be it exciting and anticipated, something a bit more jarring, or even deeply difficult — entrust yourself to God and what He is doing that you don’t fully yet see. God means this for your good and your growth, and for His increasing glory in your life. He means it for greater intimacy with Him, knowledge of Him, trust in Him, joy in Him, and greater love for Him. So press in closer to Him. Squeeze His hand a little tighter. Have faith. And be expectant for how He will show Himself strong on your behalf. He knows just what He is up to, and it is always far greater than what you or I can ever imagine!