Of the places I’ve lived, and somehow there have been quite a few of those, Connecticut is the only one where we had the four seasons. We moved there in July of 2006, and everyone told me how beautiful fall was and I couldn’t imagine it. But when October came and those leaves turned and we drove through the hills and neighborhoods it was one of the most beautiful sites I had ever seen. The golds, burnt oranges, rust reds and remnants of green were absolutely breathtaking. What I learned though, is that those colors were the heralding of a much less loved season…winter. So fall for me became bittersweet. Sweet because it was a season of beauty and festivals, wonderful temperatures and sitting around campfires with friends. Bitter because we knew that the cold fingers of winter were creeping in and all the beauty would fall to the ground to be covered with frost and snow leaving sad bare trees and dead bushes and frozen ground.
As I’ve pondered the seasons and which was my favorite, is it Spring when everything is new and flowers are budding or maybe Summer when you feel a sense of freedom that takes you back to when you were growing up and knowing you had months away from school and were free to do whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted? Was it Fall when you were able to harvest apples, pick pumpkins and play in the gorgeous fallen leaves or was it Winter when you could ski down the beautiful snow covered slopes, build a snowman and celebrate family holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas? But while each season has its beauty and wonderful memories, they also each bring things that we don’t enjoy. Days of rain and pulling weeds or heat so intense you have to watch the sun from the inside, or the hours spent bagging those fallen leaves to protect your yard from blight and the snow that seems to never stop and you’re plowing and shoveling and freezing, never able to get warm. It’s funny, you almost lose sight of the beauty of each season and begin to focus on the pain, suffering and inconvenience that comes with each of them.
As there are the earthly season so are the seasons of our lives. While I studied chapter 3 of Ecclesiastes my eyes tended to catch the unpleasant events more than they lingered on the pleasant ones. Words like die and kill, lose and throw away seemed to jump out more than words like laugh and dance and love. Have you noticed that it’s so much easier to focus on or remember the hard and painful times of our lives than it is the good and joyful times? To remember joy you have to stop, push out the negative thoughts and concentrate on what is going on that is good or push back negative memories that have overshadowed good memories. I’ve discovered that I’ve had to become very purposeful in making sure I keep my eyes on the good to ensure that negative thoughts and experiences don’t become the prevalent thoughts in my mind. It’s been hard but as I’ve started this journey to understand what it means to be My Father’s Daughter, the closer I get to Him, the more I see who He is the more I’m able to recognize the good in me through Jesus, the beauty around me and even more surprising, see the good in others…begin to see things and people (even myself) as He sees them.
I’ll be honest, for some reason this portion of the path was difficult. There had been painful events over many years and those events built up layer after layer of scars and sensitive areas in my life that quickly responded to situations negatively. I had to put up post-it notes to remind myself, “Smile! God’s got this!” or 1 Peter 5:7 (AMP) 7 Casting the [a]whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, [b]once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you [c]watchfully. “Live a carefree life!” (This one is posted on my desk as we speak!!). I learned to begin to look again for the beauty in each and every thing, to look for kind and thoughtful things to say to each person I encountered and to daily write in my journal the things I was thankful for versus listing out my frustration, anxiety and fears. As I look back over my journal I’ve seen a change take place. A change where as I’ve began to spend time with my Heavenly Father and understand how much He loves me through reading His word throughout the Bible. As I’ve written those words down, prayed them and meditated on them; I’m beginning to see the beauty of each season of my life and even those very painful areas are revealing how God was able to give me beauty for ashes and turn something that the enemy intended for my harm into something that has made me even more beautiful in His sight.
As we go through this season of fall and move to what we sometimes see as the dead season of winter, let’s instead think about the areas of our lives that we’ve thought were the most damaging or hurtful and ask our Abba, through the Holy Spirit, to reveal to us what He sees. Because in that season He saw something beautiful and life giving. Something that made us more into His precious plan for us and He is leading us to become the amazing daughter He designed. Let Him touch those painful places with His love and comfort and transform us and our thoughts to joy where we are able to quickly think of the times of laughter and dancing, healing and peace. Let’s be guided into seeing each season we live through as an amazing experience and know that while we will have times of pain, He can bring joy and times of sadness but He will bring laughter and those good things will be what define us instead of the bad!
A Daughter’s Prayer – The season is fall, a time to choose to fall into the arms of a loving Father. With reckless abandon, to throw natural caution to the wind and allow our heavenly Father to lavish His love and goodness on us. To not be afraid. To know that He provides whatever we need, wherever He leads us. The light of His glory illuminates the way. The force of His presence overcomes all opposition. He is our shepherd and we are His children, the sheep of His pasture.
The season is fall, a time to finish the harvest and prepare for winter. With great expectancy we see the fruits of our labor and His blessings in our storehouses. We see that we have been blessed beyond our needs. Overflow, plenty to give and share. God is always so much more than enough. Lavish. We are lavished with love, emotional and physical gifts. Gifts that delight us and others. Joy and excitement of how great, how good He is.
The season is fall, a time of great beauty in the changing leaves, the late blooming flowers, pumpkins and harvested sheaves. With peace in our hearts we know God is good. We see the mystery of how the seasons change, they are transformed and we are transformed. Our Father sent His Holy Spirit to empower us, to grow us and move us from glory to glory. The mystery of transformation is made real in our lives.
The season is fall, I fall into the arms of a loving Father.