Photo by Beth Fortune

Photo by Beth Fortune

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven, A time to be born, and a time to die; . . . A time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance; . . .

(Eccl. 3:1-4).

Now, I’m not adding to God’s Word to evoke the plagues written in the book of Revelation upon myself, but I often think of other times we experience in our lives. Right now I’m dealing with “A time to be used, and a time to wait.” I’m having trouble with this because I’m a doer and I don’t like to sit and wait for the right season to accomplish something. I want to do it my way and in my time.

During a recent move, boxes covered our floor but one box in particular couldn’t wait to be unpacked. It was a box filled with decorative plates, bowls and kitchenware. It had been in storage for years because we lived in a small townhouse and only the most useful items were used. Now I was delighted to be able to unpack my pretties. I was trying to decide what to do with them when I came up with the idea of displaying them in my cabinets. They may not be out in the open to be seen by others, but I could see them every time I opened my cabinets. With great care and creativity I stood up some decorative plates behind our white everyday plates, added a few decorative bowls among the mismatched bowls we use, and lined up some colorful decorative bottles along the unreachable top shelf. I took a beautiful hand-painted cake plate that was a wedding gift to my parents and leaned it just so, allowing me to see it each time the cabinet doors open. I enjoy catching a glimpse of my seldom-used favorites sittin’ pretty on their shelves whenever I reach inside my cabinets. They’re being used—but in a different way than originally intended.

God used my sittin’ pretty favorites to encourage me as I peeled back the pages of my 2014 calendar only to find one speaking engagement scheduled so far. I felt like my seldom-used favorites sittin’ on the shelf and began complaining from a place of discontentment.  Lord, why am I still sitting on this shelf?  Don’t you think it’s time? I feel God has called me to speak, and after much training and preparation—I think I’m ready. But here I sit . . . on a shelf.

The Lord spoke softly to my Spirit and told me that I’ve been looking at this season all wrong. I’m not sitting on a shelf unused, but instead, I’ve been placed in a strategic spot for Him to see and enjoy, placed there with great care and creativity. Solomon was right when he wrote, To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven. My purpose is to glorify God—give Him pleasure in my love and obedience whether my calendar is full of speaking engagements or not.

Now, with my new understanding of this season, I can look at an empty calendar and find contentment in being on display for my Master. He has a purpose and the perfect time for me to be used and I will be used as He has planned. Until then, you will find me . . .  sittin’ pretty on the shelf.

 

Beth Fortune - CCC grad Class of 2011

Beth Fortune – CCC grad Class of 2011

Beth Fortune has a passion for God’s Word and a desire to teach, lead, and encourage others. Through writing and speaking, she allows the heartbeat of the Father to pour through her words. Her works can be found in magazines, “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books and other anthologies. She is also a contributing writer for www.InspireAFire.com . Beth and her husband live in SC where he’s a Sr. Pastor of a local church. Enjoy more of Beth’s writings at www.bethfortune.org .