It’s a chilly morning, the sun is slowly emerging from behind the clouds. Winter is in the air. Our busied lives almost strip us of seeing the seasons change here in Florida. I took some time to slow the busyness that builds up around me and am watching the leaves fall, yellow, and turn brown. I can see and I get to experience the season change. It’s exquisite in a garden sort of way. I often wonder how the birds and squirrels stay warm. Their season’s change too.

I took two weeks’ vacation in July and spent every day in the hot blistering sun. That sounds exaggerated, but it really isn’t. I spent that time engaging with the garden, nurturing each flower, the butterfly’s, and watching the sun come up as I prayed and studied. I also spent that time engaging with my four-year-old grandson, entering his world and adding to mine. We punctuated all that fun and laughter with toil in the garden. We worked hard, but still had fun. It was a healthy summer and now it is coming upon winter. I happily lost over 25 pounds. “Lean, mean, and green” we used to say in the Army. I don’t know about the mean part anymore, but I am happily lean, and my thumb has turned green! It’s a new season! Winter, bring it on!

My grandson and I have fun games to play involving knights, kings, horses and even a castle. I like the imaginary, “king’s coffee”, he brews before our adventures and our rides through the garden on our horses. The swings are our horses as we gallop on the open fields of grass, leaving dust in our wake riding toward the castle of our imagination on the other side of the garden. This is a season in my life I don’t want to end. Living in the world of my grandson’s little heart.

I can’t help but know that Jesus is there with us in every moment. As the seasons change in the garden, I think about the seasons that change in our lives. Isn’t that how life has come to be for many of us? A cycle of seasons.

A new season should be an adventure, and to me it is. Each season is a journey into new memories, new experiences, and more time in the garden with Jesus (I pray you have asked him to join you in your life’s garden). New seasons bring fresh perspectives and wisdom from the old seasons.

I often wonder if God created the seasons in our lives so we could refresh, regroup, and grow in harmony with whom we are in our hearts.

Where some see a sandy, weedy, overgrown mess, like my home garden used to be, Jesus sees beyond the weeds, and now look at the garden, it’s flourishing.

So often I hear his voice as I move into a new season of life, “Jan, just trust me. Don’t let the weeds slow ya down!” Yes, that’s often how I hear his voice as I ponder about. It’s usually soft, gentle, and kind, but at times, he drives the point home. I always laugh because somehow or another, Jesus always gets the last word: “Oh, and take care of some of them weeds while we’re walkin’!” And all I can say, and I say it with a quiet smile, is, “Yes Lord.”

I am thankful that he is there, just itching to go through each season of my life with me. To Him, it seems to be an adventure. To me, well, sometimes it scares the stuffin’ out of me (That’s better than saying the other word)! But I am thankful he is there wanting to go through the season with me. It’s better than going alone.

My grandson once looked up at me as we toiled in the dirt and said, “Grandpa, this is hard work!” I laughed because it WAS hard work out in the sun. It was also an adventure. We were sifting dirt and getting rid of the weeds. But what we found as we sifted the weeds from the dirt were treasures. We sifted through that dirt, saving every rock we found. Rocks were our treasure! It was a journey to sift for each one! When we were done, we gave those rocks a new home back in the garden where they could now shine. Jesus has a way of doing that with us as we journey in the garden of our lives with him at our side. Seasons are a journey!

As my grandson and I continued to search for treasure, I stopped for a second and asked him, “Buddy, where did you learn to work so hard?” He laughed, looked up at me and chided sternly with a grin, “Grandpa-you taught me!” I want that to be my response when Jesus asks me, “Why Jan, where did you learn to work so hard?” My response is an overwhelming, “Lord-YOU taught me!”

Seasons in our lives are adventures into the unknown. With Jesus at our side, we learn to pull the weeds as we go. And we look for treasure. And the treasure is right there in front of us, we just need to look for it. The treasure is Jesus-with us.

Essentially, I now embrace the changing of the seasons. How about you? Do you embrace the season and the unique beauty each can bring? I know the winter can be freezing cold and the summer can be blistering hot, but both have a unique beauty in their own way. The cold is a time to snuggle, and the hot is a time to watch the garden flourish with life and new growth. The question is, do we embrace the change? Do we embrace the seasons or diminish the good by only focusing on the bad?

I have learned, as I walk through the seasons in my garden, that if I embrace the change, with Jesus on the path with me, I’ll look back with good memories as the season unfolds. It just always happens that way. Yes, there are some tough memories too, but the good outweighs the bad. At least to me. Has that ever happened to you? Have you looked back at what was a tough season of your life and seen the treasure that was among the weeds? People are a treasure. Jesus is a treasure.

Are you facing a season you know will be tough? Or are you facing a season that is so unknown, it leaves you apprehensive? Go into each season with Jesus at your side. Let him help you pull the weeds of pain and self-doubt, or any other weed that chokes your life. Focus-on the treasure. Family is a treasure. People are a treasure. The garden of our lives is a treasure to embrace. Good memories we hold dear are treasure. But most of all—our relationship with Jesus — is treasure.

Yes, I DO believe God created the seasons so we could refresh, regroup, and walk through the garden of our lives with him. We have the choice. Jesus, through his love, gives us the choice. Do we walk through the seasons with him? Or do we walk them alone, haphazardly trying just to get through?

Embrace each season, hold on to the good, learn from the bad and most of, journey with Jesus at your side.

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace. “

~~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (ESV)