By Heather Gerwing
I’m not a winter person. I’m not even a fall or spring person. Summer is my jam, and if it were up to me, I would live in an area without wintry weather. However, I live in Michigan. The winters here are cold, gray, and filled with snow that never seems to melt. And we saw the sun only a whopping two days in January this year.
Michigan winters are heavy on my soul, and I’m counting the days until the season changes. I long for the sun to remain in the sky until 9 p.m., for afternoons spent at the neighborhood pool, for the days when we can leave the house without a twenty-minute ritual of donning hats, gloves, and boots. I long for the ease of flip-flops.
Just as I long for the seasons of the year to change, I long for other seasons in my life to change. When I was single, I longed to be married. After I was married, I longed to be a mother. Right now I’m in another season of longing for change.
Last spring my husband and I made the decision to leave our church of twelve years. We didn’t make the decision lightly, but we had full confidence in having to make it. We spent the following months attending several local churches in our area before we narrowed it down to a few. After a lot of prayer, we believed we had received confirmation about which church we were to make our home. We have no doubt that this is the church where we’re supposed to be. We’ve been attending regularly for several months now, and we’re doing our best to get plugged in.
However, being the new kid on the block is not where I want to be. Leaving a church you invested in heavily for over a decade and then starting fresh at a brand-new church is not for the faint of heart. Going from knowing and talking with almost everyone you passed to standing in a lobby full of strangers is heartbreaking. Going from leading ministries to not knowing what ministries you should get involved in makes me feel lost.
I know this is a process, and I have hope that the circumstances will change. But right now I’m longing for this season to pass. I’m longing to have familiar faces smile at me across the lobby; to get coffee with women from my church; for my family to get connected and invested in other families. This longing does not take away from the amazing friendships we built over the years with the families at our former church, but those relationships are changing as well because we don’t see each other every week.
We are reminded in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” (NIV). The chapter goes on to give several examples of seasons changing: birth and death; mourning and dancing; war and peace, to name a few. Although I don’t like my current seasons—both winter and being new in a church—I am clinging to the fact that in a matter of days winter will officially be over and spring will be here. And although spring is still not my favorite season, I will celebrate when I see the buds starting to form on the trees and the daffodils starting to push their way through the dirt. They are visual reminders that the season is changing. I will hold on to the assurance that I will not forever be the new person at church, and that in time I will meet people and my family will be more connected.
Being in the midst of a season I don’t enjoy isn’t easy, but I’m believing the season I’m longing for will be all the sweeter when it arrives.
Heather Gerwing is a homeschooling mom of four. She is a Jersey girl at heart but now lives in Michigan with her husband Jeff and their kids. Heather enjoys reading, coffee-ing, worshipping and writing. She is passionate about her family and living the full life. You can find her at heathergerwing.com.
Photograph © Bethany Beams, used with permission