Fall has arrived and it’s time to look forward to the coming seasons, which is not always an easy thing to do especially where I live in Colorado. Here, winter can seem to dominant and last from September through May.
Unfortunately, our new tree along with numerous ones in our neighborhood, never recovered from a blizzard this past May. It had to be replaced a few weeks ago with a new one that is hopefully heartier and strong enough to make it through the coming seasonal changes. Like the tree, sometimes it can be challenging to switch gears with unexpected changes in life. Below are a four ways I’ve learned to open my heart and look positively towards the coming transformational months.
1. Remember God’s Goodness
I’ve discovered that it’s good to discuss and reminisce with family and friends how God has provided and cared for us through the year. Whether rain, snow, sleet, or sun, it’s encouraging to recognize His goodness in each day that He’s given us to spend together.
2. Recall God’s Faithfulness in Each Season
The Colorado summer of 2013 was dry and brought major wildfires to our area. Yet, even in times of drought, God encourages in Isaiah 58:11 that He will satisfy my soul. Despite the lack of rainfall, I will be like a watered garden and “like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.” So whether dry or wet, God is faithful. And as well, memories of the previous year’s drought helped me to be thankful for this year’s abundant rain. With the rain falling almost every day came the most beautiful array of wildflowers that I have seen in the five years we’ve lived in Colorado. Seeing their assortment of colors and styles reminded me of how Isaiah 35:2 describes the blooming of wildflowers as “the wilderness and desert being glad.” And, their continual blossoming certainly did bring enjoyment and delight to our family this year.
3. Revel in the Coming Changes
Fall brings beautiful colors to trees, something I personally appreciate and enjoy. It often reminds me of how when God brings changes in life, there is beauty in the process. And from what I’ve read, scientists don’t agree on the purpose of fall’s changing and loss of leaves. However, experts do seem to agree that it somehow helps to prepare the plants and trees to survive through the cold months, so that new growth can occur in spring. Thinking on this brings comfort to me too. Even when I’m going through losses (loss of a loved one, job, or other losses) God has a purpose and, through it, there is a transformation taking place in my heart. In ways I may not realize at the time, God is working it all together for my good (Romans 8:28), to strengthen and build me up to survive and thrive through life’s ups and downs. As Isaiah 41:10 encourages me, “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
4. Recognize the New Life Coming
I’m grateful for God’s design of bringing new life into being each year. I’ve learned that in nature, seeds have to go through a winter time in the ground where its hard seed coat softens up through the frost and weathering processes. By doing so, the seed goes through a form of pre-treatment or stratification where the cold, moist time spent in the ground triggers the seed embryo’s growth and eventual expansion that leads to it breaking through the softened seed in search of sun and nutrients. Contemplating on God’s ways of bringing new growth into the natural world turns my thoughts to how God is also at work with the seeds He’s planted within me. Even during dormant times, where growth doesn’t appear to be happening, I can be confident that God is cultivating new things in my life. 2 Corinthians 9:10 describes what God is doing with the seeds planted in my life saying, “Now may He who supplies seed to the sower … supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness.”
Like God promises in Genesis 8:22 of how “as long as the earth remains, there will be cold and heat, and summer and winter,” I can be assured, look forward to, and be confident that God is continuing to do new things in my life, too.