In this season

The seasons have changed once again.


The trees are displaying their breathtaking glory, crying out in their red, orange, and yellow voices.  The leaves will honor the place they have grown until they can hold onto their home no longer.  The Lord gives, and he takes away.  In time they will fall to the ground before the wind whisks them into some unknown place.  The tree remains.  Empty, naked.  It's twisted branches exposed to the elements for a season.  With patience and endurance it will be beautiful again.

I pretend autumn has come to Nicaragua.  Each day the temperature climbs into the 90's, but I sit down to a cup of spiced coffee in the mornings.  The candle I burn reminds me of my other home, and that marvelous can of pumpkin puree that my mother spent too much money to send me was baked into a bread yesterday.  My children enjoyed it until only the crumbs remained.  We remember where we came from, and we savor the memory.

My season has changed too.  I feel so much like the barren trees.  I have been stripped of my leaves, and I stand in the sharp wind and cutting rain with my gnarled arms stretched to the sky.  Even in this state, or perhaps because of it, I long to worship the One who has brought me here.  When there is less of me, I've made room for more of him.

I don't feel anything close to gloriously beautiful.  Mostly, I feel vulnerable; exposed in my frailties.  God is cutting away what I have leaned on for so long, and I have only Him.  I know how this is necessary for growth, but I won't pretend it doesn't hurt.  And he says his grace is sufficient to pick me up and to face me forward into each new day with all of its unknown challenges.


It is difficult to surrender to his plan when you don't have the end result.  It is difficult to endure the stripping away when you can't see the fruit that will replace what has been taken.  But obedience to God is this dying of self-reliance.  It is this sacrifice of leaving behind what is comfortable to experience what you feel you are not strong enough to bear.  It is this constant reminder that I am not enough, I have never been enough, I will never be enough to fulfill the dreams that God has planned for me.  I thought I knew what sacrifice was, until more was asked of me.  It seems I will never outgrow the need to bring some part of myself to the foot of the cross.

And still his grace is sufficient.

I believe that spring will arrive.  I believe it because that has been the truth of every year that has come before.  Those empty trees will begin to bud, and what seemed dead will bring forth a new and wonderful kind of life.  We will marvel at how it seems the grass evolved into the loveliest shade of green overnight, and somehow, we are quite sure that the blooms are bigger and brighter than the year before.  It happens every single year, but after enduring the length of a harsh winter, it comes to us as a surprise, a gift, a miracle.


It's autumn now, but my spring will come.

Comments

  1. Thanks for this beautiful expression of your thoughts. Hugs.
    "It is difficult to endure the stripping away when you can't see the fruit that will replace what has been taken. But obedience to God is this dying of self-reliance." So perfectly said, Ginger. Love you. He will complete all that He has started.

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