There Is A Season For Everything

And summer is the season for Van Leeuwen ice cream, of course.

And summer is the season for Van Leeuwen ice cream, of course.

Seasons come and go. Change is a natural part of life. The world ebbs and flows, and we have the choice to move with it or swim against the tide. I’ve experienced plenty of change during my time in New York City. All the geographical changes of the past 3.5 years alone are enough to make my head spin:

In December 2012, I packed my entire life into my 2001 Ford Taurus and moved from small-town Pennsylvania to the heart of Brooklyn, where I stayed on a friend’s air mattress for six weeks. Eventually, I found my first official New York City apartment and roommate through Craigslist. Fast forward almost two years later, and I moved again. This time to a three-month sublet in a new neighborhood with a new (random) roommate. At the end of that stint, I moved into another new place in yet another neighborhood with two more new roommates. Six months later, one roomie got married (yay!) and a friend of a friend took her spot in the apartment. This year, that friend of a friend—now my friend—and I found our very own two-bedroom—hooray! I signed my name on my own New York City lease for the first time. And despite the six floor walkup situation, I’m happy.

In the midst of these physical changes, the community around me changed just as much. New community in each new location. As I came into my own as a woman and learned more about who I am (and who Jesus is), my circle of friends shifted, too. I think that’s a perfectly normal and healthy part of life. We’re often scared to lose people, but sometimes we’re not really losing them. We’re both moving forward in different directions.

New friendships developed when I moved here, and those new people became my family. That’s the thing about New York: Most of us aren’t from the city. When you meet your people, they can become your lifeline. They make the city less of a crazy place and more of a home. My community in New York is a gift, and I firmly believe people come into our lives at certain times for a reason. Yes, they might leave our lives, but I know it’s no coincidence that they ended up in contact with us in the first place.

Last week, I said “see you soon” to my best friend in New York City. She and her husband and their one-and-a-half-year-old have moved on to a new adventure in Austin, Texas, and I couldn’t be more excited for them. (Read their story here—totally worth it.)

It feels as though I’m in an extended season of bidding farewell to friends.

Anyone who has lived in New York for at least a few years knows what I’m talking about. Since year one of living in this city, I have bid farewell to five dear friends, and attended more goodbye parties than I can count. Moving is the nature of the beast that is NYC. I had to push past the initial feeling that I was being abandoned or that I was making a mistake by continuing to hold down the fort in the Big Apple. Those are lies.

These friends were in my life for a reason, for a season. God has taught me something through each relationship. He uses the people around you to mold you and make your who you are today. I know the Lord has used my moves, my heartbreaks, my friendships, and my falling in love to show me more of Him. For that, I am so grateful.

The Lord uses us where we are, with what we have. There’s a season for everything. He’s working at all times for our good. That brings me great comfort.

Sometimes we’re in a season of stability, security, and lots of friends around us. But that’s not always the case. I’m in a season now that’s in flux, one in which my dearest friends are scattered throughout the country. It’s a time of change, but also growth, maturity, and peace. A season that looks like a little bit more alone time is not necessarily a bad thing. I’m learning that being by myself doesn’t mean being lonely or depressed. At times it might seem that way, but I know at this point in my life, there’s great value in spending time with just me.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens… God has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in their toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him…”
— Ecclesiastes 3

 

Everything God does will endure forever.

This is a season of independence—yet total dependence on God. I can feel He is close, helping guide me through wave after wave of change. The passage is a reminder that a season is temporary—we have no idea what God has in store for us next. That’s amazing and scary and awe-inspiring all at the same time.

I’ve been thinking over this idea of seasons of life, and how I am in a season with fewer friends directly around me. Did you know that, although Jesus had 12 apostles and even more disciples, he had just three besties? Peter, James, and John. Those were his bros, the guys he developed a deeper relationship with than anyone else. Even Jesus knew he couldn’t have a million best friends around him at all times.

We’re called to be a friend, to live in community, and to make disciples. But we’re not called to have dozens of friends on our social calendar at all times, or to amass 500 Facebook friends, or to rack up thousands of Instagram followers. We’re wired for intimate relationships—to be a close friend to a few or even just one.

And more so, we’re made to be in the tightest knit friendship with Him.

I think about the story of David and Jonathan. Jonathan knit his soul to David. They became one in spirit. He loved David as he loved himself. That sort of friendship doesn’t happen overnight. It doesn’t happen at raucous house parties. That’s the friendship that comes in seasons of rest, in experiencing the ebbs and flows of life together, in trusting of ourselves, and trusting in the Lord.

I feel thankful for the few dear friends I have, even if they’re located hundreds of miles away. They’re people I can turn to for encouragement. Who can rebuke me and ask the hard questions. Who can work through a cycle of repentance and forgiveness with me. Who are loyal to me and I to them. Who want to pick up the phone to talk to me because they love me that much. Those are the friends we are asked to be and asked to walk in step with.

This is truth I’ve only come to realize because I’m in a season with fewer friends around me. And you know what? It is okay. I’m okay with that. It’s made me grateful for the sweet friends I have and relationships I’ve developed over the years. Not to mention I almost always have a place to stay when I am traveling. But most of all, this season has reminded me that He is the best friend there is. No matter what the season of life I am in looks like, He’s present, he’s active, and he’s working.