By Jennifer McAlister
I parked my car on the side of the road and put my head in my hands. The snow on my windshield, combined with the tears in my eyes, blurred my vision and made it impossible to see; it was a cold winter night in both season and soul. I wiped my eyes only to check on my baby, who was sound asleep in her car seat. I longed to experience the peace she reflected but didn’t know how that was possible. As a single teenage mother, I was running low on hope, I didn’t have a plan, and I was tired.
C.S. Lewis once said,
God whispers to us in our pleasures but screams at us in our pain.
For me, desperation was a gift because it caused me to look up and pray,
“Dear Jesus, if You love me and have a plan for my life, then I give it to You. I’m sorry, I’m so sorry. I can’t do this on my own anymore. I need You.”
A DIVINE APPOINTMENT
On that terrible, wonderful night, God met me in my pain and exchanged my anxiety, worry, and grief for peace. In His presence, my fears began to fade because I knew I wasn’t alone—and never would be again. I entered my car that evening, beat down and depressed, but I left a brand-new person with a newfound faith.
My divine appointment with the Lord occurred over three decades ago, and since then, I’ve experienced His faithfulness in every season of my life. No matter what I’m going through, I can rejoice, not because life is problem-free, but because I know the One who strengthens me. Even seasons preach the gospel and point to Him. Year after year, spring arrives and chases the winter away when God replaces barrenness with beauty by transforming what was dormant and dead by bringing it back to life.
A PASSION FOUND
The same is true for all who belong to the Lord. We don’t have to panic when life feels cold and dark because God never wastes our tears. Every season is necessary as He trains us to trust Him in all things. 2 Corinthians 1:4 says it this way,
He comforts us every time we have trouble, so that we can comfort others when they have trouble. We can comfort them with the same comfort that God gives us.
A close friend of mine likes to say that our greatest pain produces our greatest passions. When we rely on the Lord during dark seasons, our love for Him and compassion for others increases. For me, my passion and purpose include empowering women to make life-affirming decisions as a counselor at a pregnancy center. As only God can do, He transformed my challenging season and used it for a greater purpose. Nothing is better than sharing the truth in love with a woman and then seeing her choose life for her baby and eternal life for herself. I’ll forever praise the Lord for redeeming my past and allowing me to join His rescue team. He didn’t waste my tears.
A TEXAS AUTUMN
Currently, it’s Fall in Fort Worth, but you wouldn’t know if you stepped outside. North Texas seems to prefer only two seasons: summer and winter. Unfortunately, they take turns daily—and sometimes hourly— so preparing for both is essential. I feel like this represents the season of life I’m in as well—a Texas Autumn. If the last few years have taught me anything, it’s how quickly things can change. The only way to prepare for the uncertainty this broken world delivers is by spending time with God in His word and prayer. Like Paul, I desire to be content, whatever the circumstances (See Philippians 4:11-13). I don’t need to forget in the dark what I learned in the light because God has proven to be faithful, and He promises that an eternal spring is on the horizon.
As Thanksgiving approaches, I can’t help but praise God; He did have a far better plan for my life! Fortunately, I have all eternity to thank Him for my husband of almost thirty years, three daughters, and five grandbabies—generations of blessings!
When fall turns to winter, let’s rejoice and remember that He is our hope, His plans are good, and since He never gets tired, His eyes are always on His children—in every season.
“All of my life, in every season, You are still God, I have a reason to sing; I have a reason to worship” – The Desert Song by Brooke Ligertwood
Jennifer’s book, Press On: Stories of endurance, faith, and trust to encourage you as you run the race of life, was published in 2017. Since then, her articles and op-eds have been featured in: The Western Journal, Stories of Roaring Faith, Faith & Fitness Magazine, My Faith Votes, Bible.com/YouVersion, the Christian Post, and Voyage Dallas Magazine. Jennifer serves as a communication consultant for My Faith Votes where she have the privilege to write their weekly devotionals.
Her passion includes empowering young women to make healthy, life-affirming decisions as a counselor at a pregnancy center. She is also on the board of directors of Phillip’s Wish, a non-profit to serve the homeless.