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“To everything there is a season”

Autumn is my favorite season. I love the crisp air, the smell of wood burning, the changing leaves and hot apple cider. I anxiously count the days until I can decorate the house for fall and buy my annual bag of seasonal M&M’s.

This year I made my yearly pilgrimage to Target to peek at the pumpkins and gourds, and buy my seasonal bag of M&M’s, full of tan, brown, wine and plum colored candies. To my dismay, Mars company changed their seasonal candy to a ghoul theme! I was borderline irate! Actually, I thought about emailing the company to share my frustrations. Who wants purple and Mr. Yuck green candies in their birch wood ceramic bowl?

And then I read this quote on Pinterest, “Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go”. The quote stuck with me for a few days and marinated in my soul. Is it really beautiful to let things go?

When we are younger, it seems like we are always looking forward to something: our birthday, Christmas, graduation, marriage, etc. We can’t wait to reach the next milestone. Yet, when we have children, we start looking backward and want to hang onto every moment. And then we have to learn to let go: our children’s first day of school (mine was in our home), taking their first drive after getting their license, waving goodbye as they board a train for their first missionary trip, hugging them in the door of their college dorm room, and eventually hearing them say “I do” to their future spouse. At these moments, we want to cling desperately to the past. I have often wondered why God doesn’t allow children to stay younger for at least one more year!

Yet, letting go can be beautiful. You can send your child to the grocery store for a missing item; you feel your child’s passion as they discuss their experience on the mission field; you see them grow in ways they couldn’t if they stayed home; and the beautiful young woman your son chose to marry, you get to call her your daughter-in-love and friend!

This week I had to let go of some things……

These books represent what’s left of 20 years of homeschooling material. They might not mean much to you, but each book was read with anticipation and excitement with my children. Hours were spent sitting on the couch reading history, or pouring over maps and dreaming of far away places. I have to admit I did grieve a little as I took them off my shelves. Even God recognizes the importance of grief when he says in Ecclesiastes 3 that to everything there is a season, including a time to mourn. The important thing to remember is that mourning should only be a season! We can’t stay in that season too long, otherwise we won’t be able to see the beauty of future seasons.

Yes, my season of homeschooling is over. I get to pack these treasures away and prayerfully see my grandchildren delight in these books just as their parents did before them. In the meantime, I have the opportunity to look forward to God’s plan as it unfolds in my life, whether that’s a new career, graduate school (something I’m contemplating, now) or a new ministry. I also have empty space on my bookshelves to fill with new treasures.

As for the ghoulish M&M’s, I decided they had been for a season, but that season was over, now. They had become more of a tradition, no longer my candy of choice when I want something sweet. I also no longer have little hands around me reaching into the bowl for a quick snack. Instead, I filled the bowl with dark chocolate Dove promises with vaguely profound sayings.

Yes, it is beautiful to let things go.

My First Blog Post

Am I really

middle-aged?

“So as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;”

Colossians 1:10

Recently, my husband and I were discussing my desire to write a blog. I was trying to articulate about the audience I was hoping to reach. I kept saying things like empty-nesters, people with adult children, premenopausal women and other definitions. In Terry’s succinct manner, he said, “You mean middle-aged women.” I instantly bristled at that definition. All of these thoughts raged in my head: I’m still young, I’m not even 50 (well 3 years shy of it!), I haven’t joined the AARP yet, I have vivid memories of high school and I’m just now thinking about starting a career after being home for 21 years. Certainly, I am not middle-aged!

Then it hit me. If I double my current age, I will live to be older than my grandfather did! On the timeline of my life, I’m smack dab in the middle of it. No matter how I slice it, I am middle-aged!

Why write a blog for this audience of women in the middle of their life? Cyberspace is full of mommy blogs and millennial adulting memes. Lifestyle blogs abound, especially if you are a foodie or fixing up your home. Yet, in this weird world of social media celebrities and viral videos, there is little to offer a middle-of-life woman (sounds better than middle-aged). Especially to a 47-year-old woman who identifies herself as a Christian.

Yes, there are blogs from Lysa Terkuest, who writes powerful books that have ministered to me. And I can’t forget the soulful, poetic Ann Voskamp’s blog that I read again and again to soak in her words of wisdom. In the Apostolic Pentecostal world there are the blogs, posts and writings from the witty Rachel Colthrap who makes you laugh and brings you to conviction at the same time.

Not to disparage any of these women. In all of their writings, they are honest and transparent about their faults, shortcomings and trials, yet these women all appear to be extraordinary.

Where are the ordinary blogs, about middle-aged women dealing with tough transitions gracefully? Dealing with subjects like adjusting from parenting teens to blessing adult children. Sharing goals with others on how to live your life in healthier manners, both physically and mentally, as you age. Discussing strategies to strengthen your marriage as empty-nesters. Dealing with the nitty gritty, honest details of conquering life-long giants, such as obesity. Health concerns, life adjustments, leaving a legacy…..the list is endless!

This is my blog, my thoughts and, more importantly, my journey to making these transitions gracefully, so that I can bear fruit and increase in the knowledge of God. Please join me and feel free to share with me your thoughts as well.

Brief Biography

Hi! My name is Sherry Collins, and I am a Christian. Although I live south central PA, I identify myself as a Wisconsinite. I’ve been married for 23 years to a wonderful man, Terry (and yes our names rhyme). I have 2 adult children and a daughter-in-law, all of which I adore. In the last year, I’ve been on a journey losing over 100lbs, but more importantly shedding some pride, arrogance and thorns, while gaining insight, victory and new perspective on God.