Welcome to Tending through the Seasons series, where writers from various seasons of life share how they are tending their soul by the Word of God through their current season.
Meet Jana Fraley. She is a ranch wife and mom, Christian writer and blogger. She writes from a passion to encourage women in pursuing an active and enduring faith in Jesus by seeking for God’s truth through His Word, developing a Biblical Worldview, and finding contentment through their hope in Christ. Jana does all of this with her family’s Wyoming ranch as the backdrop; where she and her husband, Mike, have made a life together raising cattle and kids. When not writing, you will find her riding her horse on the ranch, raising her small flock of chickens, cleaning a barn or enjoying long visits over steaming cups of coffee with her adult daughter, and cheering her son on in the rodeo arena or cattle show ring. Jana loves all things Western: art, music, books, skies and people.
I live in Wyoming where the four seasons are distinctly different. Within each changing season, there’s an “in-between” stage where one slowly ushers in the next. Winter snow doesn’t suddenly turn into the green grass of Spring one day, over time the snow slowly melts away and new life begins to show itself to a waiting world.
There is a paradox in that in-between, a time when the seasons seem to contradict one another. When snow falls onto green grass, or temperatures plummet down and then rise up 30 degrees within a day. It isn’t unusual for us in Wyoming to experience different seasons all within the span of one day.
The same is true for seasons of life. I’ve experienced that there is a time when one season is not truly distinct from another.
I’m currently in that in-between season – when the Summer of my life is filled with the hectic frenzy of still raising a child – while also moving into the Fall – a time of preparation for the impending empty nest. Having our son later in life, after years of struggling with secondary infertility, has made this season especially unique.
It’s a season that’s less hectic from the non-stop caring for small children, but increasingly more frenetic as I tend to the needs and hearts of my loved ones.
I’m in that season of in-between, where my children are not clamoring for and requiring my non-stop attention and help; but am currently in the throes of raising a godly young man while also learning that delicate balance of mothering an adult daughter. I’m not yet facing the difficult path of taking care of an elderly father, but I am navigating the tricky road of loving my widowed father well and making sure his needs are met.
Combine that with the day-in/day-out responsibilities of running a small cattle ranch, and life has a slow-yet-steady pace to it.
The necessity for godly wisdom and discernment in my life is as important now as it’s ever been. The needs of my family in this in-between season are less about taking care of them physically – making sure that they are fed, clothed, and sheltered – and more about tending to their hearts.
In this season of life, I have more time to carve out of my busy day to spend with the Lord in prayer, study, and reflection of His Word. Where once I had to look for cracks and crevices of time to spend with Him, now I have more opportunities to meet God in the canyons of my days.
However, I need to be intentional about what I fill those canyons with; more time within my day means more temptations to fill it with nonsense and fluff. I want to avoid that and instead use the increase of this time wisely.
I begin my day early when I feel the holy hush that happens as the sunlight begins to pierce the darkness of night.
Starting with a time of intentional prayer, I pray for this time to be distraction-free, God’s Word to implant itself in my heart and head, and for a better understanding of Who He is and what He requires of me.
I then begin reading the Word; I’m in the middle of a chronological reading of the Bible with Mariel’s and Eva’s “Knowing God Through The Word” Bible reading group.
What a blessing to read His Word as a love letter to me, seeing the unfolding of His great and glorious plan each day!
Next, I do deeper study and journaling of a chapter or section of the Bible. This is more of an inductive study, verse by verse, word by word, digging for the profound truths of WHO God is, WHO we are in Him, and WHAT His plans are for my life, as well as the context of WHO each chapter is written to, and the timeframe of WHEN it was written.
I spend some time reading the writing of other Christians. Currently, I’m enjoying and gleaning from the writings of classic Christian theologians and writers like Andrew Murray, Frances J. Roberts, and Oswald Chambers.
I end the early morning hours with another time of intentional prayer, lifting up the cares and concerns of others and myself along with praises of answered prayer.
As I get up from this holy space and begin a day that is often filled with overwhelm and heavy burden, I’m better able to face it with the sustaining strength and wisdom of the Lord.
I weave the sacred into the secular moments of a sometimes difficult season of life.
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