Family in Focus
Savor the Seasons
By Kevin Trimble
Just a few short weeks from another change of station, with boxes, giveaways, yard sale, and packing to move to a new post with new neighbors and new ministry, I find myself thinking about a new season.
It seems as though we arrived in Kansas only a few days ago, yet three years have flown past, the days filled with ministry. I have buried some heroes—all good soldiers too young to die. God has blessed me with opportunities to share in grief. I have been honored to marry several couples and trained others in relationships. I saw many babies born and enjoyed ministry during deployment.
Darla has served the post and its families in a number of ways by preparing meals for the homebound, carrying the burden when families have lost loved ones, teaching children to worship, encouraging young women to be good wives and mothers, and occasionally serving as a peacemaker. This has truly been another joyous season in our lives, one of many God has given us to enjoy.
We began the journey of life as a couple almost 30 years ago. Life had its ups and downs as we learned what it meant to yield to one another. During this first season, our focus was on each other. Our jobs consumed most of our time, and everything was new and exciting.
A few years later, we entered the season of children, going from one stage to another. Babies and diapers, toddlers and scrapes, Bible verses and songs, sports and dating—all seemed to take so long at the time, but as we look back, those years evaporated quickly.
Growing up in a pastor’s home, our children Nathan and Rachel spent their share of time at quarterly meetings, in all day services, and revivals. Today, they are better for it. Their stories today reflect the fun, hard work, and even the struggles our family faced together. They endured the stress, competition, and excitement of football, basketball, baseball, soccer, and cheerleading. The entire family was involved in booster clubs, fund-raising, homecoming, and every facet of the season of children.
When our kids left for college, Darla and I found ourselves in a new season, learning to parent long distance, to focus on our own relationship, and to embrace new ministries God gave us. We have been in this season for a number of years and are truly enjoying our work and the fruit produced.
We are blessed with adult children that love God and have spouses who also follow God.
During this new season of our lives, however, we have been given an opportunity to work and improve several areas we neglected during 20 years of pastoring.
What I Have Learned
First, we have realized that life is not a single snapshot. My U.S. Army photo looks great, and I present a striking example of an officer. Yet, the photo does not reveal the years of training, the sacrifice of deployments, the hard knocks and rigors of airborne school. Badges and ribbons cannot communicate these moments. Our lives are the same. The snapshot of a perfect family does not reflect the hard work and effort placed into good behavior, family devotions, and discipline. When a farmer plants a fruit tree, he doesn’t expect to get fruit the next fall. He plants so future generations can enjoy fruit. The family is the same way.
I have also learned that I am definitely not perfect. Scripture tells us that no one is good, not a single one (Romans 3:12), and I believe it. Marriages, relationships, employees, soldiers, kids, even our dogs continue to require training, effort, and discipline to be successful. At times, we may appear to be perfect, but we simply are not. While I don’t promote tearing children down, because we are God’s creation, chosen by Him, we did teach our kids that they were not perfect and needed correction. This is true for me as well. Each new season of life reminds me that I am slowly molding into the image of God, but I will not reach full maturity until I get to Heaven.
Marriage is a constant series of adjustments. Almost daily, Darla and I declare our love to each other, yet the “old man of flesh” continues to plague us as we struggle to submit, yield, compromise, and continue to remain fresh in our relationship. We still go on dates and hold a weekly “power hour” to work through the tough issues that are a result of fallen creation.
I’ve also learned that life is a delicate balance. To run a marathon, I must balance training with my work, or I might get fired. I must balance leisure, finances, and other aspects of life. Everything is about balance—give and take. I may take a donut, but I have to work it off somewhere, or before long, I will find myself out of balance physically. I can skip today’s devotion, but it is crucial to catch up before my one-day break becomes a bad habit.
In all of this, I have learned not to take life too seriously but to accept each moment knowing I still have much to learn from those around me, that God continues to work on me, right here where I am. He is building in me what He wants me to be.
Lessons to Share (Ecclesiastes 3:1-9).
As I look back over the seasons of my life, I would offer some simple suggestions to help you savor your own seasons:
Enjoy the current season. Embrace each moment; today will soon become a memory. Each season serves a purpose, and the growth we experience today will prepare us for the next chapter in our lives. Tomorrow is truly built on today.
Don’t wish away the season. Children wish to be teenagers, and teens can’t wait for a job, car, and independence. Be careful not to wish too hard for another season or lament one that has past. I have friends who still lament their high school years. Others have adult children, and they long for the years when they were children. I counsel soldiers to slow down, to enjoy the day, the moment they have been given. We are often so driven to climb the next rung of the ladder, to graduate with the next degree, to achieve that next accomplishment that we forget the journey is more important than the destination.
Gather wisdom from the current season. What is God teaching you today? Nothing in our lives is wasted from the perspective of the Eternal. God uses every event—even tragedy—to teach us something. From washing dishes to years spent on the assembly line, God can teach us and use our efforts for His glory.
Understand that every season is worth it. When we read Ecclesiastes 3, we often focus on “to everything there is a season.” I encourage you to take a moment to reflect on the less-familiar verse nine where the author counts the cost of the seasons of life. If all is in vain, however, why do we work, eat, have children, and live? From my perspective, I think if we slow down, enjoy the seasons we experience, focus on the moment, and learn something from every day, then we can say, “Yes! This season has been profitable.”
I have known countless leaders in both church and army who have reached the end of their ministries only to find they regret the choices they made throughout the seasons of their lives. They spent too much time at work, too little time with their kids, too little time resting or saving or reading or…you get the picture. Don’t wait! Cherish every moment, enjoy every season, and devote your all to God, your family, and those along the journey of your life.
About the Writer: Chaplain Kevin Trimble is the middle child of a mid-western dairy farmer who raised him to love the ministry. He holds a doctorate in Theology and completed a Master’s in Religion from Hillsdale FWB College while deployed to Afghanistan. Chaplain Trimble has been awarded the Bronze Star, the Army Achievement Medal, and numerous other awards and recognitions. Learn more: www.homemissions.net.