Bittersweet Moments

plans I cleaned up our school area last night. It was a bittersweet moment. After homeschooling my younger daughter for a year, she's headed to middle school next year.

I enjoyed spending the year with my daughter. I got to learn things about her that I didn't know. I got a glimpse into how her brain works when she learns. I was the one who got to help her through challenges and cheer her successes. It was well worth the time and energy.

When I was done cleaning up all our school stuff, though, I looked around my basement and realized just how much of the room school had taken up. As I looked at a basement that is cleaner than it's been since last August, I also realized just how much of my life teaching my daughter had taken up.

While I wouldn't trade the year I had with my daughter for anything, I would be lying if I told you I'm not looking forward to the fall when both my girls go to school. While I will miss those special moments with my daughter, I won't miss trying to juggle work, school, sports and family. I won't miss wondering how I'm going to get everything done in the short time I have available.

As I thought about these things, I realized that sometimes God calls us to things for a season. Sometimes He calls us to set aside our own dreams and ambitions for the benefit of someone else. He calls us to put His plan into action even when it's not our plan.

And when He does that, it often means that He's going to ask us to sacrifice something. He's going to ask us to follow His path instead of the one we have our heart set on. He's going to ask us to get outside our comfort zone and lay down our pride to humbly follow where He leads.

When we do, we'll find that He can accomplish so much more than we ever could. When we allow His plans to take up the most space in our lives, we'll find that there really is time to do everything He asks us to do. And the rest of the stuff probably doesn't matter.

And when God leads us to the end of that particular season, we might find ourselves in a bittersweet place as we clean up the remnants of that season. Even as we look forward to a new season, new hopes and dreams, we find ourselves in a better place to follow those new hopes and dreams. We can look at the season we just completed and know that the things we learned, the people we met and the experiences we had are going to be important as we embark on new adventures.

Because even as one season draws to a close, God always has something new and better for us on the horizon -- even if it requires some sacrifice.