There are seasons for everything.

Some are lovely, others are brutal and hated. There are seasons you’re sure you can’t endure much less survive and yet, when they pass, you are stronger and wiser and your faith is bigger than it could have ever been without the season you just braved.

You may be facing a challenge right now.

What you want to hear is that everything will be okay, but I can’t promise that. What I can promise is that in the midst of this mess, God will be closer than you ever thought possible. In fact, when this thing you hate is resolved, what will remain is a connection and trust in God so deep and complete that as your heart heals, you will miss the closeness, and the need, of it.

This week marks 19 years since my Adventure Boy husband Craig took a routine flight that landed me in a hated season because he never arrived at his destination.

A search ensued that lasted for weeks. It was all-consuming. Not just for me, it imprisoned my children, my extended family, and all my friends. Life as we knew it just stopped.

God Answers Prayers

In that hated season of suspended anticipation, our faith was tested and our prayer lives exploded. We banged on the gates of heaven day and night. We sought the face of God and begged for mercy and miracles.

On the very last day of the long search, every lead had been run down. Langley Air Force Base, NASA, the FAA, the Coast Guard, and the Civil Air Patrol had exhausted every lead and resource. There was nowhere else to look.  And then … a ground team radioed in that they’d spotted the plane under a canopy of deciduous trees.

“And Craig, have they found Craig?” I asked excitedly. There was no word. I would have to wait at the command center until the ground team hiked down to the crash site.

When the team leaders finally came to the conference room with news, their faces told me what they were reluctant to speak. Craig was dead.

Though I didn’t get what I wanted – for Craig to be returned safely, God rescued me with answers and closure. He sustained me with His Presence and His Peace. Maybe you know that peace that is beyond understanding? (Phil 4:7)

5 Benefits found in a hated season.

  1. As my heart healed, I noticed my faith had grown wisdom. I no longer cared about toilet seats left up and spilled milk.
  2. My faith had grown in understanding. The words of David in the Psalms came alive. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
  3. The season I’d hated reaped fruit, I had more patience with and compassion for people.
  4. My faith had grown courage. I had realized the worst case imaginable and lived. It had crushed but not destroyed me. Fear gave way to bigger faith.
  5. As our new normal took shape, and life resumed with shifts to work and school functions to attend and ministry to volunteer for and thank you notes to write, I functioned autonomously. In the absence of great need, I missed the closeness and Presence of God I experienced during the hated season.

What season are you in today?

Friend, I hope you’re in a lovely season that lasts a looooonnnng time. If you’re facing or in the thick of a hated one right now, can I encourage you by reminding you that this season will pass and you are not alone. God is with you. Lean in till you can feel his breath on your face. You’ll actually miss it when this is over. 

Have you experienced the Presence of God in a hated season? How did He show up for you? Leave me a comment below. 

Scripture:  I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.   Psalm 121:1-2 NIV

Prayer:  God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Amen.
– Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)

11 Comments

  1. Sherol Clarke on September 2, 2019 at 3:38 am

    Dear Robyn:

    When I met you your story touched me so much because I too lost my husband. I read about the toilet seat and so remember about fussing about the clothes that somehow could never make it to the hamper. I had no idea that your adventure boy left you in September also. September 20th will be 12 years. I am so happy you have found someone. So often I get lonely, but I know God is always there. He always provides a ram in the bush. We have to look to him not others. I know I looked to my husband for so much and God wanted me to depend on him.

    Thank you for being courageous.

    • Robyn Dykstra on September 2, 2019 at 1:10 pm

      Sherol I am so sorry! 12 years! I hear so much wisdom in these few sentences you wrote. Thank you for encouraging me by writing. I’m sure many will see themselves in your story, too.

  2. Shannon M Popkin on September 2, 2019 at 8:33 am

    So good, Robyn. My favorite part: “I was crushed but not destroyed. Fear gave way to bigger faith.” That’s what I think I’ve most experienced, too, in those hated seasons. And also – like you said about realizing the worst case imaginable – “If God can bring me through this, he can bring me through anything.”

    Miss you, friend. Hope it’s a sunny season for you today!

    • Robyn Dykstra on September 2, 2019 at 1:08 pm

      Well said Shannon. Thanks.
      Miss you too.

  3. Linda Walker on September 2, 2019 at 12:57 pm

    Thank you Robyn for your comments. They are such an encouragement to me! Our family is in that hated season right now. Our son went through a divorce 6 years ago and fought in the courts to see his 4 small children. He did win shared custody. However, at present he is not seeing them and we , the grandparents are not even able to talk to them. It is a heartbreaking situation and I’ve talked to grandparents in similar situations. In the midst of this God gave me the verse from Joel 2 about the locusts. Bugs yuk. Lol My prayer is for reconciliation for our son with God and with his children. Our son recently won a Jeep Compass and my prayer is that Jesus will be his compass. Thank you again.

    • Robyn Dykstra on September 2, 2019 at 1:07 pm

      Linda
      I am so sorry. Thanks for writing and sharing your story and your humor.

  4. Kathleen on September 3, 2019 at 12:53 am

    Robyn I again thank you for speaking at the Women’s Breakaway in Chilton WI.
    I had been praying to have a labyrinth added to the St Martin Heritage Park for a few years. My sister presented it to the board three times before it was accepted. Then she ended up in the hospital intensive care fo be treated for a heart condition.
    Last week she and three of my brothers were handing me rocks To form the path of over 650 rocks gathered from farm fields. Deo gratias. I had no idea how such a project would get done! Thank you for your encouragement.

    • Robyn Dykstra on September 3, 2019 at 12:37 pm

      Wow, that’s very cool. And what a great illustration that resistance does always not mean no!

  5. ATsosie on September 3, 2019 at 3:15 am

    Amen
    Such encouraging words from all the ladies that I have encountered in my walk with God. Thank for your courage to share your stories and help in uplifting individuals in the valley.

  6. Debbie Jo Schwarz on September 15, 2019 at 12:32 pm

    A “hated season of suspended anticipation, our faith was tested and our prayer lives exploded” is exactly right. It seems to me that almost each breath is whispered in a prayer. . . of deliverance, resolution, restored peace and blessing. Faith gets powerful traction yet the questions and fear of abandonment by God are thick on the air, suffocating. Thank you for sharing. This season of yours was a crushing one and our community felt the widening ripples of suspended anticipation and grief. The residue of such a season leaves a mark on a person’s heart, a reminder that God sustains when we have nothing. I’ve got a couple of those marks.
    Warm hugs to you, my friend!

    • Robyn Dykstra on September 15, 2019 at 3:09 pm

      I know you can relate to hated seasons, Debbie Jo.
      Thanks for sharing. Love you!

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