When Seasons Change

Tanya Lyons

‘Re-entry’ to a home culture after foreign mission is an unsettling time. A time of contrasts: excitement and anxiety, relief and guilt, hope and grief. When Seasons Change is a series of devotionals written to help navigate such times. Throughout the book (designed to be read over 10 weeks) Lyons aims to journey through that challenging time with the reader. Although overtly aimed at those returning from foreign mission, the wider concepts and processes engaged could also be very helpful for anybody making a significant transition within full-time ministry such as change of primary role, location or retirement.  

As you journey through the gospel of Mark, Lyons draws from her personal experience to discuss themes and ask questions that occupy the mind of the returning missionary. Her valuable insights into Jesus’ ministry through the lens of re-entry are enlightening, edifying and encouraging. Many thought processes that those returning from foreign mission grapple with are identified in the daily devotionals. For the more reflective journal-writer or contemplative, there are springboard questions to provoke further thought and reflection for that day. For the more experiential learners, there are practical action steps. Each week ends with a summary of the themes covered and concrete advice on specific steps to take in order to care for yourself, connect with others and focus on personal spirituality during the following week.

As a tool, I believe Lyons offers a gateway to a healthy, reflective re-entry process. Just a brief read facilitates bringing some of the internal re-entry chaos back into order. The complexity of this ministerial reality is experienced by many returners, but it is rarely expressed and addressed in such relatable, simple terms with such insightful, practical and methodical advice. When Seasons Change reminds the reader that this time may feel like things are falling apart, but re-entry is a time to invest, to reflect and to allow God to build.

Reviewed by Rob Jameson

Rob is a dual-trained doctor and pastor based in Bristol. He recently returned from foreign mission, a role providing both medical and pastoral care. Holistic care, community building and discipleship are central themes for him as he explores future ministry options alongside his fiancée Alice.