Fall is my favorite season. Living in sunny South Florida, where the palms are always green and the temperature rarely drops below seventy, I don’t get to experience the change in seasons. This past week we were in Georgia and Tennessee where the air was cool and the trees scattered their fallen leaves at our feet.
I walked my favorite paths, enjoying the sounds of the woods. Leaves fell, gentle and quiet, like a light sprinkling of rain. Chipmunks raced one another over the fallen leaves, making crunching sounds that seemed to echo deep into the forest. I breathed in the crisp air and breathed out peace. This is my favorite place to be, where nature gracefully ages from autumn into winter.
Tilting my head back at the trees towering above me, my eyes drank in the expansive canvas. A rainbow of vibrant colors of green, yellow, red, and orange were painted across the trees. The hues were scattered at random, some trees were half green and half yellow. Others all dressed in brilliant red. Still other trees seemed to wait, keeping their leaves green with no hint as to when they would change.
I wanted to stop right there, soak it in, capture the beauty and savor it.
Everything my eyes touched shouted of God’s majesty and wonder. His power and creativity was on display for my pure enjoyment. Each day He provides wonders like this for the world to see and know who He is. All of creation is a testimony to the beauty of God.
As part of His creation, then I too am a testimony to the wonder of our Creator. But does my life shout of His majesty and wonder the way the falling leaves do? Am I a living testimony of how great God is? Do I embrace with joy the changes He brings to my life the way oaks and maples do each fall?
Not so much, I’m afraid.
Too often I have avoided change and resisted the necessary seasons of dying. I have feared the pain of brokenness and the peeling back of sinful flesh to reveal the fresh, new skin beneath. During the winters of waiting, I have complained and stomped my feet about the unfairness of life. While I love nature’s season of change, I don’t embrace it for myself.
In creation, death is a necessary part of the cycle of life. As winter arrives, the trees will quietly sleep, awaiting the spring they know will come. The dead leaves I stepped on during my walks in the woods, will be churned into the soil, creating a fertile habitat for new growth. And in my own life, the dark valleys and seasons of brokenness lead to greater growth in my faith. The shedding of sin and walking through fires of refinement are all necessary to make me increasingly like Christ. For sickness always precedes healing and death comes before resurrection.
But what if I abandoned myself to the work of His hands? What if I, like the trees in autumn, glorified Him in the midst of dying? Can my life shout praises to my Creator, no matter the season? Can I live a life of beauty that points to my Savior, even while experiencing pain and suffering?
I can, simply because Jesus already did. He endured my greatest suffering so I wouldn’t have to. And while He calls me to carry my own cross, He gives grace and strength to submit to His work in me. Because it is not my own ability and perseverance which helps me endure through seasons of change, it is Christ and His power in and through me. The more I abandon myself to Him, the more I embrace seasons of change, the more His beauty will shine through me.
And one day, I will join the trees of the forest in clapping my hands when He returns. For in that day, the dark winters will end and death will be no more.
“You will live in joy and peace. The mountains and hills will burst into song, and the trees of the field will clap their hands!” Isaiah 55:12
Counting graces in community: (1886-1903)
the way nature points me to God
that I don’t walk into seasons of change all alone
that Christ’s beauty can be seen through me
walks in the park
trip to legoland discovery center
fun at the company picnic
how much at home we are in ATL
being able to keep up with homeschool while away
pumpkin pecan cheesecake
going to a Hawk’s preseason game where my youngest jumped up and down, cheering the whole time:)
bison burger at Ted’s
going through a corn maze with the kids
hiking on my favorite mountain
spending the day with old college friends
Linking up with these friends:
A Holy Experience, Graceful, On Your Heart Tuesday, The Better Mom, Finding Heaven Today, Into the Beautiful, Playdates, Thankful Thursday, Women Living Well, Getting Down with Jesus, Scribing the Journey, Fellowship Friday, Denise in Bloom