“And she often reminded me that those four kids of mine were my church. With that in mind, I had to refocus on my ministry…I had been given four very special projects that would have to be seen through to completion. Someone had to instill godly principles in my children’s lives, and God let me know that I was the woman for the job.” ― Lois Evans, Seasons of a Woman’s Life
“Yes, we need to be active Christians, walking through doors that are open to us. But sometimes we break the doors down, say they were already open, and even use God’s name to defend ourselves, defiling his character with misinterpretations of His word. We do these things to meet her own needs instead of trusting Him.” ― Lois Evans, Seasons of a Woman’s Life
“If God showed us the whole journey, we’d never take the first step.” ― Lois Evans
“The pastor’s wife, years ago, was the ‘sacrificer,’ the one who gave, the one who was just ‘there’. She was in charge of decorations and the women’s ministry. Today, pastors’ wives are partnering with their husbands in key areas of ministry. They are using their gifts, education and skills that they might have used in the market place.” ― Lois Evans
Introduction to Seasons of a Woman’s Life:
All around America and all around the world, God has blessed me with wonderful opportunities to speak to women—women of all ages, races, and social status. After I speak, when I’m able to talk to these women one-on-one, I am privileged to hear about their wishes, their wants, and their worries. I hear their longings for blessing— blessings for their families as well as for themselves. I hear the cry of their hearts because of unexpected disappointments, heartaches, and frustrations. And wherever I talk to women, I hear the same question asked in many different ways. Whatever their age, whatever their responsibilities, women want to know,
Will it always be like this?
The answer to that question is almost always “No.” And the reason I can safely say, “No, life will not always be like it is today,” is because of a very important principle. Sometimes we hear the saying “All things must pass.” That is true, at least in earthly terms. But there’s a more specific principle at work than that. The Lord has shown me that women are seasonal creatures, and when we look at our lives in light of the season we are in, we are better able to cope with some of the challenges and are more likely to appreciate the blessings—while we still have them.
For example, it may seem that we’ll never reach the end of changing diapers, driving car pools, or dealing with teenage upheaval. Then all at once we find ourselves in a new situation. The children have grown up a little or a lot; they’ve gone off to kindergarten or off to college. Suddenly we have time on our hands. We have less to do; we have different things to face. God has brought us into another time of life during which we will have new discoveries to make, new roles to play, and new blessings to enjoy.
In short, the season has changed.
I’ve found out a great deal about seasons in my own personal life. I grew up in a Christian home, and although I did not receive Him personally until the age of twelve, from an early age I heard the good news of Jesus Christ. I have godly parents who raised us in the Word and in church. My parents prayed for all of their children, that each of us would come to know the Lord and serve Him.
I remember how hard it was for Mom to raise us. Dad’s job involved a lot of travel, so Mom was often alone at home with eight kids. I remember the times when she was tired of all the hard work and the lack of material things. Despite the hardships, she faithfully honored her season of life, and I often heard her say, “For the Lord’s name’s sake . . . I am going to keep my commitment to Him and to you kids.”
Even now, when things become overwhelming for me and I hear myself asking the age-old question, “What for?” I hear that familiar voice answer, “For the Lord’s name’s sake.”
Even with such a large family, our mom still found time every day to have devotions with us, and the Scriptures that I remember most clearly today are the ones I learned at her knee and in Sunday school. Dearest to my heart is my Life Verse, found in John 15:5. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”
I know Scripture is true; I believe it with my whole heart. In fact, the meaning of that verse is buried so deeply in my heart that I never tackle anything unless I get clear direction from Him. Why? Because only then can I be sure that He will see me through.
I’ll tell you more about my own experiences later in the book. But besides learning about life’s seasons from my own walk with God, I’ve also learned many lessons from the biblical story of Esther. God had an important plan for Esther’s life, and He led her through a specific process of preparation until she was ready to fulfill His will. Only after He had prepared her properly was she able to say yes to His will and to see that she had come into the kingdom “for such a time as this.”
What do I mean by seasons? We often think of the word in terms of spring, summer, winter, and fall. But I like to think of our life seasons as seed-planting, growth, and harvest.
During the Season of Seed-Planting, the Lord calls us to Himself. We commit ourselves to His service, and we enjoy communion with Him. This often takes place while we are still single, before we meet the man God has chosen for us. While we are single, we can devote ourselves to building our personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, cherishing Him as our First Love.
The King’s court is made up of single and married women. God chooses women in each state and leads them into the Season of Growth, which encompasses lessons in obedience, service, and preparation. Just as Esther was taught to be a proper wife to a great king, we also grow up in the King’s court being tutored in self-discipline, sacrifice, and serenity. That is God’s way of preparing us for our particular future in Him.
At last we enter the Season of Harvest. We are finally ready to step into the primary responsibilities for which we have been prepared. During this season, we learn to be content without becoming complacent; we learn to say yes to God’s direction, even when it means stepping out of our comfort zone. And we learn the blessings of fulfillment as we see God’s plan for our lives being brought to pass.
What is God’s purpose for your life? Have you discovered it yet? Just as Esther found herself in the unique position of saving her people from certain death, I am grateful to say that God has made it possible for me to reach out to others whose lives are at risk spiritually, emotionally, or even physically. But without His guidance, without abiding in Him, without learning the lessons implicit in each season of my life, I would be of little use to Him today. Apart from Him, I can do nothing.
It is essential for God’s women to learn about their seasons because He has a unique plan for each of us. In Psalm 139 we read that God ordered our days before we were ever born. And submitting to His unique path for us will help us keep our balance as we navigate through the many choices that make themselves available to us throughout the years.
Today’s Christian women are being pressed on every side to conform to standards of this world. Unique opportunities in the areas of education and business have opened doors to women that were not available even half a century ago. While on the one hand Christian women should enjoy the benefits of these opportunities, we must be careful not to let this world system rearrange our biblical priorities.
Our first priority as women is to maintain a vital personal relationship with God. Proverbs 31:30 says, “Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” This “fear” is awe-filled respect that flows out of an ongoing relationship with God. Our jobs, careers, and degrees must never overrule our daily intimacy and interaction with our Savior. An ongoing awareness of His Presence and a devotion to His Word will give us stability, confidence, and direction as we pursue the various ministries God calls us into during each season of our lives.
The second priority for us as Christian women in this quickly changing society is our commitment to our families. The family is too easily being written off the world’s agenda. Nonetheless, our status in society must never overshadow our responsibility to our status at home. Titus 2:5 clearly states that women should “be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.”
This does not mean that women have to stay home (the virtuous women of Proverbs 31 had a job). Rather, it is saying that above all else we should make sure that the home is being properly taken care of. How many times have we seen a woman with a great career who has not provided a strong, loving home for her children? That kind of ungodly prioritizing always ends up in a great mess for all concerned.
Finally, we Christian women should seek to be the best we can be no matter into what field of service God has called us. We should use our privileged position in society to further the cause of Christ in the world. Esther is a good example of this. God gave her an unparalleled position as queen of a mighty nation, and she chose to use it to bring deliverance to the Jews. Have you ever asked yourself how you could use your position in society as an opportunity to further the cause of Christ?
By being the best for God that you possibly can be in the midst of your responsibilities, you will “let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). In this quickly changing world, God needs strong, stable Christian women who demonstrate a divine orientation to life. Can you think of a more wonderful, more rewarding calling?
In the pages that follow, we’ll consider Esther’s life and I’ll share with you my own experiences and those of other women. I think you’ll find helpful principles, familiar feelings, and encouraging promises as you read. Together, we’ll consider the kind of seeds He is planting in our hearts, the type of growth He anticipates, and the abundant harvest He expects from us as He leads us through the seasons of a woman’s life. For He has said, I know the thoughts that I think toward you, . . . thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. —JEREMIAH 29:11