We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-10)
Autumn has always been my favorite season. I see God’s beauty in winter, spring, and summer as well, but there’s just something about Autumn that sets my blood to humming. Rich with color, the smell of burning leaves, the crackle underfoot, the feeling of the crisp breezes. . . autumn seems a symphony to the senses.
Today I was thinking of the coming of my favorite season. For me, the air is just turning cool enough to leave the windows open to experience the fresh breeze. I like to leave them open even through the night, so that snuggling under heavy quilts seems decadent. Soon, bright orange pumpkins will be out on porches, and leaves will turn even more vibrant shades of yellow, red and orange.
Those contrasting colors make the greens that remain seem even more special. Gardens will start to produce new fall crops like greens, peas, broccoli and squash. Mmmm! Autumn is a time of harvest and reaping, as the earth prepares to go into a rest for winter.
It struck me as I was anticipating all of these coming wonders, that autumn is a season of dying. How can I look forward to the season with so much joy, and yet mourn my own autumnal season? My body is not dying, I am not on my death bed typing this. But so many of my earthly dreams have died. So many of my abilities and strengths have gone the way of the dinosaur. As soon as that reality hit me, the above verse came to mind.
In order for life to be resurrected, Christ first had to die. In order for anything new and wondrous to come, the old must first pass away. Through my suffering, I want to show Jesus in my body? I wish to glow from within like the jack-o-lantern. I need strength to allow my foliage to turn beautiful colors and fall to the ground for the enjoyment of those who love the sound of crunching leaves underfoot.
I am doing my best to make the soil of my heart fertile enough to yield a crop of a different kind than I have produced before. I will fling open my windows to the breezes that carry the bite of colder days, choosing to hunker down under the quilt of God’s care. And while I ask God to help me in these choices, these submissions, I am in awe that He has chosen to use my favorite season to ease me into acceptance of my new life. Autumn as a life-bringer. Who knew?
Prayer: Father God, as we enter into this beautiful season, help each experience we feel with our senses to remind us that You are working a special work in us, as well. Give us the patience, strength, and hope to endure through what may seem like a time of dying, and help us to see the rebirth all around and within us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
About the author:
Shelly Hendricks is a wife and mother of 2 amazing kids. She was a teacher and a librarian in another life. She also suffers from Intracranial Hypertension, Interstitial Cystitis, and Essential Tremor. She had brain surgery in 2012 and now considers herself to be a ‘bionic woman’ who is learning to walk again. Disability has been hard to deal with, but she depends on God for all strength and hopes to encourage others on this journey, through her blog at http://reneweddaily.com
What aspect of Autumn is your favorite, and how can you keep that imagery in your heart to remind you of God’s work during this season of your life?
Laura Story sings “Make Something in Beautiful” in this video. Shelly thought that you would like it because it is a good reminder that it is not just our surroundings where God is making something beautiful–it is also in us! He is making something beautiful in you and I and it is because of the struggles and the refinement that we are going through. I hope it blesses you. -Lisa