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Entries in Seasons of Life (3)

Tuesday
Oct032017

When You Don't Like Your Life Season

Janet Thompson is a mentoring expert who deeply cares about women's spiritual growth. In this Mentoring UPGRADE, she encourages us to consider how God might use each of us in our current life seasons.

"We’ve all heard, 'You’re just in a season, it will pass,'” Janet says. "But what do you do until then . . . or worse . . . if it never passes?"

I (Dawn) felt "stuck" in a season a few years ago, and I heartily agree with Janet's prescription for how to move forward!

Janet continues . . .

Good and pleasant life seasons are wonderful and it’s easy to think God couldn’t possibly want what we perceive as a bad or unpleasant season for us. Right?

Yet, Ecclesiastes 4:1 says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”

We try so hard to hold onto those feel-good seasons, and there’s nothing wrong with that—we should have times of joy, dancing, laughing, loving, and peace.

But when the not-so-good times roll, we need to remember that God hasn’t left us. He’s walking right beside us through the mourning, weeping, uprooting, and war seasons.

God never abandons His children—a message we need to share with each other and with the culture, especially during today’s challenging times.

Reasons for Not Liking our Life Season

Usually we don’t like a life season because:

  • It’s painful or uncomfortable.
  • We’re jealous and like what someone else’s life looks like more than our own life.
  • We’re living with the consequences of our, or someone else’s, behavior or decisions.
  • We’re discontent or discouraged.
  • We’re not sure if God still cares about us.

What would you add to the list?

We all have difficult seasons we just want to end. Or maybe we’re in a wonderful season we never want to end.

Most seasons we have no control over, even though advertisers set us up to fail by assuring if we just drink, eat, use, own, the right products, or meet the right people, every season will be heavenly.

The aging clock will stop and somehow God made our life to be different from everyone else’s life.

But that’s a lie and those who buy into it will never be content because everything God lists in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 is a season everyone will experience.

What to Do

1. The first thing to do when we don’t like our life season is ask God how He wants us to deal with it, and then listen carefully to how the Holy Spirit answers.

It’s that still small voice we hear guiding us when we cry out to God. We might not know how to get through the season, but God does. So often, He’s talking but we’re not listening.

Someone asked a Christian friend how he knew what God wanted. Did he have a direct line to God? I thought, Yes he does!

Every Christian has a direct line to God the world doesn’t understand, and one we don’t use nearly enough: praying to Jesus who hears every word and the Holy Spirit who intercedes for us even when all we can do is groan.

“For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27).

2. Next, seek out a Christian woman who has experienced this season in her life and can mentor you in how she made it through like only someone can who has been-there-done-that.

Incredible comfort comes from spending time with a mentor who understands your painful season!

God doesn’t want us going through any season alone; but He also doesn’t want us listening to anyone who isn’t giving us biblical wisdom.

That’s why in Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness, every season has Scripture for the mentor and menteeor for any two womento study together that applies to the various issues they might experience in any season.

Being a mentor doesn’t mean you have all the answers or the Bible memorized. It simply means you’re willing to share your experiences, search God’s Word, and pray together with another woman.

Then one day, she can reach out and help lift up someone else going through a similar season.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).

Who are you mentoring and who is mentoring you?

Janet Thompson is a speaker and author of nineteen books, the founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and About His Work Ministries. Her latest release is Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness. Visit Janet at www.womantowomanmentoring.com where she writes a weekly blog and monthly newsletter. 

Graphic adapted, courtesy of geralt at Pixabay.

Tuesday
Nov172015

How to Make Friends in New Seasons

I've watched from afar as Julie Sanders made a difficult transition to a new state and new role, and I've admired her willingness to step into this new season of life. In this Friendship UPGRADE, she shares encouraging words for all of us seeking new friends.

"When we’re the unknown new girl, we need friends," Julie says. "How do we make a new life better by making a new friend?"

With a dad in the military, I (Dawn) often had to make new friends in new places. It's not often easy. Julie gives us helpful tips.

Julie continues . . . 

Friendships ebb and flow with life transitions like shifts in marital status, geography and employment. Change can thrust relationships into upheaval and leave us feeling friendless.

Whether firmly rooted in your hometown or freshly planted in a new neighborhood, you may find yourself needing a friend.

God fashioned us to walk through life with the fellowship of friendship.

Multiple translations of Proverbs 18:24 offers insight to improve relational health and help us find friends when we need them most.

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (ESV)

A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. (KJV)

Suggestions for making new friends in new seasons of life:

1. Focus on a FEW.

 When events like the loss of a loved one or a major move finally crash on shore and retreat, silence follows. A longing for the familiar or a desire to quiet the loneliness may result in temptation to gather a crowd of people around us.

As ruinous as complete withdrawal, surrounding ourselves with a swarm of companions may lead to a layer of life where we are barely known and marginally valued. Instead of jumping into the rushing rapids of relationships, Proverbs cautions that having too many friends is dangerous. Since we are fashioned to walk through life with the fellowship of friends, we’re more likely to find true friendship in a few.

Scheduling coffee or lunch with every new, available woman we meet at church, in the restroom, and at the grocery store is tempting.

Instead of letting the tide take you away to avoid the tension of transition, ask God to give you a few places to invest.

2. Force yourself to be FRIENDLY.

If you’re not eagerly noting contact information when a friendly person makes eye contact, you might be the lonely woman tempted to withdraw. Solitude might feel like the safer sanctuary. After all, you might have dragged painful baggage into this season of life. Isolation might feel easier than finding friendship.

Solitude has a place in life change, but forging new relationships requires a decision to be friendly, even when we might not feel like it. 

  • Make eye contact.
  • Smile first.
  • Introduce yourself.
  • Talk to people of different ages.
  • Keep an open mind and heart. God wants us to find the fellowship of friendship.

3. Don’t Forget your BEST FRIEND.

For whatever reason, you find yourself in need of a new friend. It’s a good thing to hope and pray and look for.

When you find that longed for companion, she will be delightfully imperfect, unable to meet all your expectations and beautifully flawed like you.

She will not make your life complete, and that’s okay. Someone else is the perfect friend.

No one takes the place of Jesus. Times of loneliness and longing lead us back to remembering the sweet security of friendship with Jesus. No matter what season or circumstance, He will stay with us and be our BFF.

As you show yourself friendly, focus on a few relationships and experience the friendship of God in a fresh way. God fashioned us to walk through life with the fellowship of friendship.

Look around your life. Who is a potential new friend given to you by the sweetest Friend of all?

Julie Sanders—as an empty nester and new girl in town—is making friends around her new home in the Inland Northwest. Her local and global ministry to women has given her a passion for the issue of human trafficking.  She believes life is better when the lives of women are interwoven. Visit Julie’s blog, “Come Have a Peace.”

Graphic Adapted, Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Saturday
Feb012014

Embrace Your Season!

A short Upgrade UPLIFT:

I want to encourage all of us to embrace the season we're in ... the season God prepared for us.

If need be, upgrade your attitude today.

Look for the blessings in this day ... this circumstance ... this season.

Determine to honor God in all your decisions.

In your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s or beyond? Live out godly priorities as the Lord makes them clear to you - no matter your age.

Look for ways to delight God's heart with your faith and obedience.

Whether you are in the sunrise of your faith, or nearing the sunset when you will see the Lord, your view of your "season" will determine how you respond to life's challenges, and whether you see the hand of God - even in the little things that others might miss.

The Bible says,

"He has made all things beautiful in its time" (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

Including you!

That's the truth. Do you believe it? Do you embrace it? How does that truth cause you to want to act more like Jesus in this season of life?