When you feel like you’re living out your own “Season Finale”

This is probably the weirdest way to start your first post — Season Finale!!  Sounds a little ironic doesn’t  it ! It’s just that these thoughts come and pour into my heart and sometimes the need to pour them back out for all of us seems like something I have to do…very weird since my husband (The Rambling Man)  and daughter (http://lesstobemore.blogspot.com) are the real writers and “bloggers” in the family– so grace is much appreciated 🙂

It’s May, 2012 and the time when our favorite shows air their official “season finale”.  It’s a bitter-sweet time for all of us.  Bitter because the shows that we’ve looked forward to watching with our bowl of popcorn in our lap will now be coming to a close — sweet because we finally see the resolution to the season’s teasers, tensions, unanswered questions, love interests, etc.  (like my favorite “Office” season finale when Jim and Pam FINALLY got together !!!).  But  each season finale also comes with a cliff – hanger … something finally gets resolved but it only leaves you with “what’s going to happen now???”  , “what does that mean?”, “what will become of him/her?”, “who will fill in that part now that _____ is off the show?”…you know, the questions that just flood our mind and need answers –that keep us in suspense until … September and the new season starts!!!

The thought came to me the other day that I am living out my own “season finale” of sorts and it involves all of the same ingredients… bitter/sweet/cliff-hanger.  The season began like this… My husband and I (along with our 4 children) moved here to Connecticut in 2003 and began working in a church that is now called Hope Church. My husband, Roger, has been the “senior pastor” , working alongside some of the greatest people and loving it ! During these past 9 years, our oldest left home for college in Alabama, got married a few years later and he and his wife now have a baby girl. Our second went to college, got married and brought two children into the world. Our third graduated from high school, has gone on multiple missions trips, and is working in the areas she loves with art, photography and theater.  Our fourth is getting ready to graduate from high school and move into the adult world as he pursues his passion of theater, music and of course, ultimate frisbee!

Interestingly enough, we’ve loved life here in Connecticut — New England suits us well —  my husband and I have turned 50 here and have felt the fullness and joy of life. However,  God has been stirring our hearts to make some significant changes… changes that involve simplifying…changes that involve more specific areas of ministry… changes that involve another MOVE — thus, the anticipation of the “season finale” of our time here in CT and life as we’ve known it for the last few years.  The bitter:  leaving three of our children here in CT, leaving two of our precious grandchildren, leaving a climate and culture we’ve become so much a part of and grown to love dearly, leaving a house we’ve made “home” , leaving a church family that has been so dear and freeing to us, the goodbye’s …  The sweet:  specializing in ministry areas that God has put deeply in our hearts (the poor and under-resourced, the least of these, taking the purest form of the gospel to people both here and abroad, living Jesus as we actually live in a needy neighborhood, being with our oldest son and his wife and baby, my husband being able to work in a great ministry situation with his brother and in simplifying–getting out of debt !! (woohoo !)  Aaaaanndd…the cliff-hanger:  our house here in CT hasn’t sold, how will our children here manage without us, I’ve always moved with kids in tow so how will I ever get over the grief of leaving children behind this time (empty nest?? who ever thinks about how that will actually look !  Don’t empty nests get put in some wreath or something??), will our grandkids remember Nana and Papa, how can I survive without those sweet baby kisses and hugs on a daily basis, will part-time salary cover the expenses, what will my role in this new place look like, how will I ever get used to not living within an hour of the beach for goodness sake !, can I fit back into the southern culture when somewhere I’ve become more of a New Englander  (a question I ask myself regularly!), how will I stay close to my friends here and what will happen to ( fill in the blank )???

My hope and peace come in this — just as a TV season finale has writers and the characters live out what is written for them, so my season finale here has a Writer and by His grace, I’m His child living out what He has written for me and there’s the expectation of the next season that I’ve already signed a contract for.  The beauty of it all is that God has already written my story before I was even born and He knows the outcome .  The script is written and being played out daily as I walk with Him and listen to the Holy Spirit and follow His voice.  I know the “bitter”; I know the “sweet”.  However, even I don’t know what will happen on the other side of the “cliff hanger” but I do know that my life is in His hands and He truly does have a plan and a purpose for my life and , in the words of God Himself, who knows !!??  I may be here (or there) for such a time as this for His purpose and His glory and maybe, just maybe, the best is yet to come.  

“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord  your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 NLT)

“The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first.” (Job 42:12 NIV)

“…and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.  The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.  You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.  Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.” (Isaiah 58:10-12 NIV)

The Writer still has more episodes for us to live out …there’s always more.

Joy Waters Martin

My kids tease me sometimes that my definition of a situation going well is often described as, "It was 'life-giving' " -- meaning, it may have had some conflicts or uneasy moments or stress but all in all , something about it breathed life into the situation and the people involved...something of the heart was moved in a good direction. I'm all about LIFE ... life with my husband, life with 4 adult children, their spouses and 8 grandchildren (to date, that is :), life in our home and life in a wild adventure we tend to label "ministry". In reality , all of these categories mesh together to make up the "organic me". Relational , redeeming and restoring are some of my favorite words and they give life to my soul as I walk it all out with Jesus Christ, the Giver of all life. Profile Photo by: Melody Martin

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  1. dawn aldrich

    Oh, Joy the bitter and sweet for sure. I hear your heart loud and clear! Can’t wait to see what God has planned for your next season debut!

  2. Joy Waters Martin

    Thanks Dawn ! I’m sure you’ll “read” about the next season and the process . Blogging seems to help me process 🙂

  3. Michele

    You are beautiful and God had a beautiful ending to your season finale. Xoo

    1. Joy Waters Martin

      Thanks Michele…and as you so wisely have taught me on this journey…”I see the gift” !

  4. Debbie Johnson

    Oh Joy, thank you for sharing your heart and thoughts. This is exactly where I am now, I could so relate to what you wrote. Like you, I feel excited and a little apprehensive as to what the Lord has for “our next step” in following Him. I’m sure it won’t be boring ~ although “boring” would be a nice change for awhile =] I’m thankful for friends like you God chooses to bring across my path at specific times. Love you friend!

    1. Joy Waters Martin

      Debbie… so glad it encouraged you. Out of the overflow in our hearts God always pours out on others His grace for the moment…I love how God works! It seems every time we physically “move”, we “move” closer to God’s heart until we’re just plain embedded in Him… praying for you my friend ! Send details!!

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