Finding Fruit in Difficult Seasons

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This is my first week at California State University San Marcos. It has been a very stressful few days as I moved unexpectedly and am in a wedding in Oregon this weekend. Last night, as I laid on my bed amidst the boxes and haphazard remnants of my room, I began to sense the familiar dread that inevitably comes like a raincloud with each approaching semester. My scholastic journey has been hard. I do not think I have ever been so broken down by anything else in my life (except for the time when my friends died in high school). I have never been so challenged to trust in what I cannot see. For where I see my life going, a college degree is not essential and does not make much sense. I constantly question the purpose of it, because I just do not get it. However, I do not feel released to quit, so I keep plugging away, one semester at a time, dying to my desires with every class I take.

I have never been so reduced to the end of myself. Never before have I been so challenged to surrender my life and my will to the plan my Father has for me. Nor have I ever had to die to my desires to the extent that going to college has required of me. I have never had to put so much time, effort, and energy into something I do not want to do. I am terrified that by the time I get my six year degree, I will have wasted my 20s doing homework, and all of this sacrifice will be for nothing. I am afraid I will end up doing hair, and edit on the side, just like I am doing now, just to scrape by. I am afraid there will be no fruit from all of my hard work.

And then I take a second to quiet my fears and anxiety about the lack of payoff I am predicting.  I remember that my life is in the hands of a good Dad, who refuses to allow anything in my life to be wasted. There will be fruit from all of these years of homework assignments, pointless classes, and countless shed tears. It just probably will not be in the shape of a fancy career. (I do not really want that anyway.) It will not be so that I can get a masters degree. It will not take the form of fancy conversations at cocktail parties in which I intelligently discuss the literature I studied during my undergrad.

No.

My fruit will be in the form of what is valuable to my Dad.

My fruit will be the fact that many years ago, I told God He could have His way with my life, and I meant it. Thus, since it became clear I was supposed to pursue a college degree, I will not quit until I finish, or until He says I can.

My fruit will look like surrender; the death of my will, so that I can walk in His, and be made more like His Son in the process.

My fruit will be having the capability to educate my kids from home, if I so desire. It will entail me instilling in them a love for literature and the value of words. I will find creative ways to teach them about Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and Ernest Hemmingway. I will be able to tell them that going to college made me a better mom because it taught me how to think critically, make decisions, organize my life, keep a schedule, and stick with what I committed myself to even when it got difficult.

My fruit will look like a faith that remains, even when everything inside of me is shaking and crying.

My fruit will look like knowing the heart of God in an incredibly intimate way because I went through years of desperate need of Him. I have depended Him in ways I am not sure I would have had I never started school.

The fruit I will reap will have inherent value, because it will come from the hand of my Father.

His heart and will for me are good. That I do know. As much as I dread the reality of the coming four months, I know good things are hidden among them. I know He has things He wants to teach me about who He is. During my summer and winter breaks I am my normal cheerful self. I enjoy my life and am as free as a bird. I tend to change when I am in school. Due mostly to lack of sleep, I become more serious, easily stressed out, cranky, and discouraged. I have a burning impression in my heart that things are going to be different this time.

I can sense and predict the Lord challenging me this semester. He is saying to me,

“Beloved. You do not have to change just because you are in school. You do not have to change, because I do not change. I am unchanging. I am your steadiness, and your stay. You abide in Me, and what I have is yours. Walk in peace and joy.”

I approach this semester with an expectation to learn new, wonderful things about His heart for me, and His character. I am expectant of good fruit.

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10 Comments

  1. Pingback: Must Reads 08/30/2013 | TransformingWords

  2. Another beautifully written post! Although our pain is real, the projection that it will never have purpose isn’t. You are right to expect good fruit from your Heavenly Father. He is working out His will in your life and He will give your pain purpose. Keep up the great writing – you’re my encouragement and inspiration.

    • You have expressed my feelings exactly. I am a mother of two and am beginning another semester in my quest to complete a degree in elementary education. I feel like my heart has disengaged. All that keeps me going is hope- the continual expectation of good from a good Father. I have found that hope is a helmet which guards against anxiety and depression. Great word! Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you for your encouraging words. I always love hearing your perspective. You inspire me also. Love you!

  3. Wow! That was wonderful!

  4. So well stated!

    *Disclaimer: please excuse all grammar and punctuation errors. posting on a writing/english majors page, creates a sense of fear, please don’t grade!*

    As we go through the seasons of crazy, it’s so important to remember our loving Father has our future in His hands. So, we can face the crazy with hope and joy.

    I want to encourage you that your perspective is 100% correct! Even though college is difficult, I find myself looking back on my college days and missing it lol…
    I miss those days where everyone in the class all rolled their eyes at a teachers lame joke, I miss that one teacher who always went that extra mile to see his students succeed. I was a college athlete, so I miss the glory of victory and the sense of accomplishment that being a student athlete brings.

    I want to encourage you, even though this season may seem long and painful now. One day you will look back and miss it. Enjoy the teachers, enjoy your fellow classmates, enjoy those random coffee runs, to keep you going between classes – because these memories will stick with you for the rest of your life.
    Your post was quite timely for me, being out of college for almost 5yrs now- at random just had one of my old teammates come into my work. Talk about memory lane, rushing back! The friends you make now may become life long friends or maybe they will pop back into your life 5 yrs down the road… Make the most of your time and take the extra minute to sit back and enjoy.

    I’m happy for you and believe with you, that this season will be different then before and Christ will shine on you and bring you joy.

  5. Hey, I just kinda stumbled onto your blog when I was searching for something on google. Anywhoo… I kinda know what it’s like to be in your shoes! I did two years of Biology initially for my undergrad and then switched into Nursing. My family is very big on education and those two years seemed to me like a colossal waste of time and energy – two years of my life that I would not get back. I felt this way even though I did make use of those two years by scaling down my 4 year Bio degree to a 3 year General Science… and ending up graduating with 2 degrees when I was done Nursing.
    I say all this to share a verse that helped me during this time.
    Habakkuk 3:17-19
    17 Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
    though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
    though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
    18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.
    19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
    he enables me to tread on the heights.

    I also often remember that God made Aaron’s (my name :)) rod bud and produce those leaves overnight! Today, there are still days I get anxious about the the two years that I wasted and loans that were accumulated when I could have been furthering my career and making $$. But I think back to Habakkuk and Aaron’s staff and I know that overnight God’s able to change a whole lot on my behalf and spearhead my career in a direction which he desires. I trust and take comfort in that!
    You’ll be okay :))

    • Aaron,
      Thank you so much for your comment! It was incredibly timely. I was literally sitting in class fighting back tears and I wrestled with God (again) about the purpose behind going to school when I saw your comment. Thank you for your encouragement. I know this season won’t be wasted, no matter how pointless it may seem. Thank you for reminding me of God’s perspective.

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