I've known today's Friday Feature for at least a decade. We've spent hours in the car navigating traffic in Atlanta, lounging on the sofa, and girl trips to the beach processing life, love, and cat videos. We've gone through exams, supervision, dating, engagements, marriages, and babies together! I hope you enjoy hearing from her heart as much as I do! Meet Sarah-
As someone who tends to struggle with anxiety, overthinking and indecision, I’ve always appreciated external, visual, tangible markers of change or transition so I can just jump on board instead of creating my own momentum. For example, I’ve always loved working around school schedule, an eating/napping schedule with our daughter or the church calendar. Lately, the concept of seasons has really stuck with me. I am from the Midwest, so there have always been very clear transitions in each season. I could get excited for the all that’s to come with the next season (for example, apple picking, hay rides and falling leaves) and also say goodbye to all the current season brought (days at the pool, time off, lots of light). I’m seeing now how much they bring the structure that I crave and struggle to create for myself, but also, I’m realizing that they inherently remind us that life has an ebb and flow, and when one season brings challenges, another one is always around the corner with the promise of hope.
I realize this is not new information, but this last year has been life changing. My husband and I had our first baby and everything was flipped upside down. It forced us to change jobs, living situations, how we handle finances, how we spend our time, our needs, our goals and our energy level. To the best of our ability, we embraced that change because of the true miracle that having a child is, but it was not easy. It leaves you in a constant state of vulnerability. You do your best to plan ahead, but then have no choice but to be anchored back into the present moment.
The days, hours, minutes seem both infinitely long and gone in a second. I think that’s why I grasped so tightly to the notion that all things are in seasons, and we can fight against them, or we can embrace them for what they bring and be fully in them. Whether that’s being up throughout the night with a baby who won’t sleep, taking a leap of faith with a new job, asking for help when you need it or learning new and creative ways of connecting with those you love. It’s easy for me to wish things were different or be frustrated when things aren’t the way I think they should be. I must remember, though, that things are seasonal and new joys and challenges will come and the current ones will usually pass. I’ll then look back on past seasons with fondness and nostalgia even though they had challenges of their own.
I think the comment I hear most of other moms is about how fast it all goes by. Sometimes, I smile and roll my eyes because I long for the next stages sometimes, but I try to remind myself of how important to be fully in the current season you’re in and embrace it as fully as possible. That means the good and the bad. I must celebrate what brings joy, like my baby’s laugh, the silly ways my husband and I find time together, the way I’ve experienced others showing us love. I must also embrace the pain and challenges like the fear of not knowing how to care for something so tiny, the strain that our relationships endure and the exhaustion we face daily. Instead of ignoring them or railing against them, I must sit in them, grieve them, and process them to see where growth can occur and where God can work. Remembering the season you’re in allows you to be present as well as have hope for something new. It suddenly gives weight and validity to all you’re experiencing and brings an opportunity to allow it to shape us and it brings the comfort that it may not be forever and that we’ll be equipped for what’s to come next.
Sarah Collier is a licensed professional counselor and works in private practice at Tapestry in Marietta, GA. She's a great therapist, trained by the best of the best. You should schedule an appointment with her soon. Her past experiences include teaching and counseling at a couple universities. She's a mom of a precious daughter, Jane, and wife to Nathan Collier, the writer, not the polygamist.