GUEST POST: Changing Seasons | Simbang Gabi, Day 1

BY BROOKE BAILEY

DAY 1: Changing Seasons | Friday of the 2nd Week of Advent | 12.15.2017

Click here for today’s readings. Today’s reflection is based on the Responsorial Psalm. For an overview and introduction of the reflections for all nine nights, go here.

  1. Isaiah 48. I, the LORD, your God, teach you what is for your good, and lead you on the way you should go.
  2. Psalm 1 (See John 8:12). Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.
  3. Matthew 11. Jesus’ Testimony to John

A year ago, I began to plan my current season. In the words of Psalm 1:3, I thought it would be a season of fruit: three kids would be in school, my husband would continue to be happy at his job, I would go back to work part-time and train for a new career, and we’d all live in our tiny (but manageable) townhouse in the city.

And then God spoke through a positive pregnancy test, and declared with two bright pink lines that His plans are higher than my own. My next season was suddenly showing a different type of fruit than I expected. I shook, I cried, I laughed out loud, I started sweating uncontrollably and immediately felt sick, all at the same time. I wonder if that’s how Mary felt when she got the news!

You see, just like Mary, my pregnancy with baby #4 came as a surprise. (She may have even had more notice than I did, since an angel gave her and Joseph some warning.)

I had declared that I was done bearing children. Baby clothes given away, maternity clothes sold, and all of the plastic cups, forks and spoons thrown in the garbage. My life was finally getting easier as my other children could make their own food, get dressed and get in the car on their own.

Honestly, I am a little ashamed to say that in those first few weeks of processing what my “new” life would look like, I didn’t choose to turn to God, to see what His next steps were for me. I chose panic, depression and hopelessness. I quickly turned into the chaff verse 4 talks about, blown around by the wind, or in my case, by my fear and emotions.

Like Mary visiting Elizabeth, I sought after the counsel of friends –friends who are seeking God’s will for their lives, and who will point me in the same direction by speaking the truth in love. These women have the authority to speak into my life. They prayed over me, loved me, cried with me, helped me shift my perspective and celebrate my upcoming season.

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season

and whose leaf does not wither
—whatever they do prospers. – 
Psalm 1:1-3

My friends were my stream of living water that day.

Because of those friends, my marriage is stronger, my kids are happier and my life is simpler.

My husband has wanted to move out to the country for years to give the kids room to run and play outside but my job has kept us close to the city. My friends gave me the courage to say yes to the hard changes I had been avoiding: Moving to the country, starting over in a new city and letting go of my job.

We reluctantly took that first step and said yes to buying a home, with plenty of space for four kids and guests, in the country with tons of land for the kids to run play.

The look on my husband’s face changes when he comes home. He truly enjoys being away from the city and that’s what brings him joy. In his joy, I find joy as we sit together on the back deck watching the kids play in the yard and climb trees.

The kids’ joy is apparent as they ride their bikes all over the neighborhood (and I am no longer the “helicopter mom” constantly yelling at them from the front door for them to stay close to home).

That shift in perspective changed things for me and gave me the joy that I was desperately looking for.

Now I am in a season of waiting: waiting for a baby to be born, waiting for all of the boxes in my new home to magically unpack themselves, waiting to find a new church and new friends, waiting for my next chapter of life to commence.

Mary and Joseph were in that very same season, waiting for their new life as parents to start. I like to think that panic, depression and hopelessness took over their thoughts at first too before an angel came and calmed them down.

Out of that season of waiting was born a Messiah, the One who transformed all of the seasons of waiting for hundreds of years into seasons of fruit. God showed so much love for us that Christmas day when He gave His son to the world! The love, hope and joy that Jesus brought into this world will continue to change hearts and lives as we choose to make what happened that Christmas day, the reason we celebrate this season.

Read the reflection for Simbang Gabi, Day 2 >>


image1Brooke Bailey lives in the Northern Virginia countryside with her husband and her three, soon to be four, wild kids who love climbing trees, running through the woods and daily emptying the fridge. She finds comfort in way too much coffee and connecting with other moms over, you guessed it, more coffee. Currently, she teaches preschool PE and manages the preschool office, renovates her new house, hits the gym and enjoys dining with good friends!

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