Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Loving Autumn!

Happy Monday!!  God has an incredible week planned!  How do you plan to participate?   With awe and wonder and thankfulness and boldness and steadfastness and strength?    I hope so!!!    :)     

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:13

So to start out today's lesson... I have a confession... I DON'T LOVE Autumn!  I can hear the audible gasps coming from so many of you.  :)  I know many of you Love Autumn.  It's your favorite time of year.  Every year people say to me, "Don't you just love this time of year?"   I don't want to respond with "NO!  I don't LOVE it.  What's to love?  Ok.. the colors are awesome but that's about it!"   So instead I quietly smile, and say, "It is pretty."    No lying coming from my lips.  :)

Here's why I have never loved autumn...  (Not that I want you all to agree with me... just sharing)
It signifies the end of summer.  Remember that short few weeks a year (for those of us in WNY) that we enjoy warmth and sunshine?
It means cold is on it's way.  Any of you who know me, know I am cold 350 days a year!
It also means shorter days.   I love long summer nights and eating dinner on the deck or watching the stars late at night.
Another thing I never liked was that the trees and plants died and went dormant.   I always looked at that as a negative thing... until recently.

Now, please don't get me wrong.  I don't HATE autumn either.   It IS beautiful with all the trees turning and I am sure I am prejudiced, but we really do live in one of the most gorgeous places in North America and autumn takes the cake there.    I LOVE that we have 4 clearly defined seasons and am thankful for parts of each one of them.

So the other day, I was driving home and noticed a barn up on a hill that I don't remember seeing before.  I realized that it had been hidden all summer by the trees.   Now that the leaves were falling, it became visible.   As I continued, I saw many other things "uncovered" by the falling leaves... houses that I knew were there, but could not see; smaller trees and bushes that were not visible when the larger trees around them were in full bloom; trails in the woods become more visible; even the landscape is easier to see all the dips and rises.   

And another aspect of autumn that I have always known but not really contemplated much...  that what appears to be dead is really just resting, rebuilding and preparing to bring forth new and more abundant life in another season.

So how does this apply spiritually?   Have you ever had a vision/dream seemingly die?   I have.   There have been several times that God gave me a vision for something... a ministry, a business, a passion for new outlets of creativity... many different visions.   Often, there comes a period when it seems as if that vision is not going to come to pass and I've asked the Lord, "I was so sure that was from you, God.  What happened?"  I begin to doubt myself, my ability, doubt if I heard correctly, doubt the way I was going about it, etc...

Then, later the vision comes to life again.  It begins to grow, then blossom, then become fruitful.   Most often when I've completely given up on it!  :)

When I look back on the season between the birth of the vision and the fruition of the vision, I see a season that to the human eyes looked dead.  But with spiritual eyes I see many things that were 'uncovered'.  Areas I needed to grow in.  Things that needed to be removed and make way for new things.  Times when the Lord was rebuilding for even bigger and better things to come.

So, I can genuinely now say, "I LOVE Autumn!  It means God is making way for incredible growth and new life!"   I welcome His caring, shaping, removing, changing of me.  It's another step closer to being like Him.

How about you?   It may be easy to Love the earthly autumn but have you come to a place of loving your spiritual autumns as well?

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now,  being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;  Philippians 1:3-6

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