BY LIBBO CROSSWHITE
God uses every season
Have you ever experienced that moment in the grocery store where you see an old friend you haven’t seen in a while? That pleasant encounter is what I am experiencing now — spending a few moments with an old friend catching up. It’s been eight months since I have written this column and I have missed the chance to spend time with you while you’re at the doctor’s office or waiting for a friend at your favorite local eatery.
For a large portion of the last eight months, the Crosswhite family has been enjoying a season of contentment. A season that has allowed us to slow down a little while simultaneously commandeering a kitten and a puppy within a two-month period. A season that has brought us a shorter commute and a tree swing — meaning more time at home after school.
When the seasons began to change and we could finally get outside, many afternoons Mary, Russell and I would climb on the swing and look up at the sky, finally blue and not gray, and marvel at the skinny, naked branches of the large tree that held us.
Until one day I looked up and, though I had spent many afternoons staring at the same tree, I noticed new growth had started to form after the barren season of winter. Out of nowhere, life began to color the trees almost overnight.
I feel like that’s how motherhood, and life in general, is sometimes. We look up in the mundane, seemingly meaningless day-to-day tasks and a season has changed before our eyes.
The sovereignty of God is so clearly revealed in the changing of the seasons. The reality is that many of you may have been in a season of suffering over the last eight months. How refreshing it was to read last month’s issue on a personal mom-hero of mine, Christy Henderson. She has used her seasons of suffering and sadness in ways that have been a light to so many, including me in my own seasons of sadness and internal battles.
The beauty of the gospel is there is life in our sufferings. The Easter season teaches us this. John Piper, my unofficial adopted grandpa, puts it beautifully this way:
“But listen: If the sovereign, all-governing God was weaving a fabric of beauty and hope out of the sufferings, rejection, murder, and resurrection of his Son, will he not weave out of the torn pieces and the tangled threads of your life a beautiful tapestry for his glory?”
Whether they are joyous or sorrowful, our seasons are predestined by our Creator. When we give up ownership of the ultimate plan that God has — for our families, our careers, our relationships, our money, our successes — then we begin to see the beauty of what Jesus encountered on the cross. A literal and figurative death to self and rebirth to everlasting life — an eternal life beyond our mere earthly ones. Life in what is seemingly dead. Green leaves sprouting out of skinny, naked twigs.
Clay and I recently lamented the fact that our babies are quite literally no longer babies. No more diapers, no more bottles — now it’s missing teeth and kindergarten homework and perhaps the most enjoyable season of parenting so far, T-ball season.
Let me just tell you, I think I have found the sweet spot of motherhood — T-ball practice, T-ball gear, the snacks, the chaos, the herding of cats. It’s every bit of the good stuff that you are promised will occur when you’re sleep-deprived and delusional in the newborn stage.
We had our first game recently and as I was trying to simultaneously call out the batting order, make sure girls had helmets secured and pull Russell off the mound, I got to watch Mary Thomas hit the ball, run all of the bases and dive HEAD FIRST into home. After proudly sliding across home plate, she sprinted to me in the dugout and screamed, “DID YOU SEE THAT?!” Full of joy —– the kind that can only come after getting a little dirty from face planting in the dirt.
Regardless of the season you’re in, may we see the promise of our suffering King in 1 Peter 5:10, “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”
Libbo Haskins Crosswhite and her husband, Clay, live in Madison and attend Pinelake. They have one daughter, Mary Thomas, who is 5 years old and a son, Russell, who is 3 years old. She is the high school guidance counselor at Madison-Ridgeland Academy and can be emailed at email@example.com.