You thought perhaps this season of your life would be different. A little fuller. A little more rewarding. A little more bountiful.
And instead, you find yourself facing an unexpected season of barrenness. A season where you feel like not much fruit is growing or being cultivated.
Maybe you’re a young mother constantly pouring into little ones, and you’re not seeing a lot of change happening. Instead you see screaming fits, sleepless nights, and naughty behaviors.
This is not what you expected. You thought it would feel so much more like snuggles and giggles and warm fuzzies. Instead you feel barren and maybe even a little guilty when you have such a gift of children in front of you.
Maybe you’re an older mama whose children are leaving the nest, and you feel an unexpected lack of purpose. Your babies don’t need you like they did when they were small – instead, they’re gaining independence, and you’re watching them fly.
This is not what you expected either. You thought you would be embracing new freedom and enjoying time to yourself again. Instead you feel barren because your season of bearing fruit seems to be over – and you mourn for the sudden emptiness you feel.
Maybe you are a single person or unable to bear children, and this season feels painful due to the lack of natural bearing beyond your control. You long to pour into a spouse and/or kids, but it’s being withheld from you, and you wonder what your purpose is.
This is definitely not what you expected – you thought for sure your dreams would have come true by now, and with every day that ticks by, you feel the barrenness grow inside of you.
Or maybe you are in a new city or country even, doing missionary-like work – taking God’s Word to a spiritually dry place – and you aren’t seeing the kind of fruit you imagined you would. You thought people would be hungrier for the Word of God, more eager to change, more willing to grow – and it’s discouraging when they’re not.
What we need to remember is that in every season of our lives, God is doing something with our fruit-bearing that we cannot see.
For some of us, we are in the season of planting – in the springtime and early summer – where we can’t see the growth happening beneath the soil. We constantly pour and pour, and we don’t see anything immediate. We get discouraged because we feel that perhaps all our efforts are wasted.
For some of us, we are in the season of harvest, and it is a time of rest and recuperation from all the years that we have spent pouring into others, especially if they are our children. And it can be painful to not be actively sowing seeds, where once that was our main purpose – and now we’re sitting back and watching the fruits of our labor be sent on.
And for others, we feel like we’re in the season of winter where everything is hidden beneath the surface. We don’t feel like we’re actively planting or harvesting anything, and we wonder what could be our purpose in life.
But for all of us, we are meant to be “pour-er-outers” – we are meant to be sowers of seeds constantly. And although we might not know exactly what our season is or our purpose in that season, we can know that we are being faithful to God if we are doing what He’s asked us to do.
We only see the surface level. And sometimes we’ll see the fruit and the growth, and other times, we won’t. But we have no idea the way God is using our words and actions to settle His truth deep into another’s hearts. The fruit might not bear for a few months or years, but God is doing work in others’ hearts because of the faithfulness of His people.
So whether we have little ones or grown-up ones, whether we’ve never had little ones or we’re nurturing new believers, we have to look to our Savior who has asked us to walk forward into this season of seeming barrenness and trust Him for the results.
We have to look to the next person that He’s asked us to pour into, even if it doesn’t look like what we expected it to. Maybe it’s a neighbor, a friend at church who’s struggling – maybe it’s nieces, nephews, grandchildren, students. Maybe it’s a season of mentoring and pouring into those who are slightly younger than us and going through struggles that we once walked through.
Whoever He’s called us to, we need to remember that it’s not our job to make the seed grow – it is not our job to know where we are being most effective. But as long as we’re being faithful with our tasks, then God will bless that faithfulness and use it far beyond what we can imagine.
So take courage, my friend. Your season is not as barren as you might think. Your impact goes further than you know. Your work for the Lord is never wasted.
He will make flowers blossom where we never dreamed they could. And we can rejoice that He chose to use us as part of the process.