13 Nov
The Season We’re In

I recently came across the podcast of Chris Fabry, a Christian author I have read before, and discovered a quite shocking revelation: at the beginning of the month he had a woman on his show who I had actually known of years ago - Colleen Chao - who had at the time I was acquainted with her, had just gotten married to the brother of a church friend. I never got to talk to her, never got to know her, and what little I heard of her, I just sort of wrote her off as someone who was too important to ever have anything to do with me. I guess I decided I would never follow her on social media because she was clearly too important, and let’s face it: I was jealous of her.

The revelation that came to me recently was that, yes, in a way she is much more important than I will ever be, but to my shock, that she was battling something that I don’t think anyone would be jealous of: stage 4 terminal cancer. She was in the middle of a battle that was losing. Her days were numbered, and her little family would lose a wife and mother whenever God says her time is up. 

I had no idea that Colleen was actually like me in a lot of ways. She struggled with depression and anxiety during her single years, married later than most, and even gave birth to her first and only child in mid thirties. She thought she had the world at her hands when she was younger; she thought she had a lifetime ahead of her, and that everything would be wonderful. In fact, being complimented on her youthful beauty in her thirties gave her a confidence that she thought would follow her into the years to come. And in a way, it did follow her in the years to come - in the form of God’s grace and kindness.

There is a lot of things one could admire Colleen for during this arduous journey she is finding herself and her family in: her persistent faith in God, her hope for her son to remember how wonderful God is even in these difficult times, or maybe the way she prayed to God to allow her to be laughing and smiling to her dying breath. 

Because I never knew that Colleen was a writer, I had a lot of things to read from her past, and so I thought I would start reading the articles or blogs she posted on her website starting when she got married. I came across a few articles that really spoke to me, namely about the way that we can have all the plans and hopes we want for our future, but ultimately it’s all in God’s hands.

The idea that Colleen thought over a decade ago that she would get to live to be in her 60’s, to see her son graduate high school, is a sobering thought now that she knows God had a different plan for her life. It’s sobering because this is the same for all of us. While some of us may be fortunate enough to live to be 96 years old, like my grandmother on my mom’s side, or only get to live to be 37 years old like Adoniram Judson’s first wife, God is the author and perfecter of our faith and the writer of our stories. God is the one who decides what will become of us, and how our story pans out. 

With this sobering thought in mind now, I reconsider what was important and what is important now. I think about how I had all these dreams and aspirations to be a writer, publish books, and sell my artwork - and it’s all futile - because in the grand scheme of things, none of that matters really. I always dreamt of being a mentor and becoming some mature woman of God who would have younger ladies looking up to me, and let’s face it: that isn’t me today and it probably won’t be for a while. If I were to die tomorrow in a horrific accident, nothing would matter other than how I poured my life out as an offering. Did I pour myself out as an offering? Have I really done enough in my son’s life to this point, to be able to say that I was faithful in the little things? 

Being a wife and mother has been one of the hardest things I have ever done, and am doing, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s probably the only thing in my life that has been worth it. It’s only been by God’s grace that I have been given this opportunity to worship God in this capacity. By no means would I say I have been great at this; I’ve stumbled, I’ve grumbled, and I’ve felt so alone that I really questioned God’s goodness. But in the midst of all this, the reality is that God has been infinitely good to me; I don’t deserve any of this, but rather the fires of Hell, and yet God has been so kind and loving to me. 

Going forward, I can’t really say that I will ever finish a book, or that any of my writing will ever be read by anyone. I can’t say that I will ever be significant in the Kingdom of God by leading people to Christ. I can’t say that I will ever be a mentor or even an example to any younger women. I can say, however, that I can be intentional to make the most of each day with my son. 

I can say that I’m not going to make “being someone” the priority anymore, because God called me to be right here right now; I’m already someone - I’m a mother, I’m a wife, and I already have a work to be done as both, and I need to be faithful in this season and the ones to come.

One of my favorite take-aways from Colleen’s article about the seasons we are in, is that they are entwined with good and not so great things. We will see seasons of sorrow, and seasons of laughter. We must cherish each season and see the goodness of God in them, no matter how difficult, and we must learn to grow from them.

If you haven’t heard of Colleen Chao, you can find her work at www.ColleenChao.com and also featured at Revive Our Hearts and Chris Fabry Live podcasts.

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