I love autumn. I especially enjoy it after living in a tropical country for over a decade where there are no definitive seasons. Autumn has its own smell (the dry dead-leaf smell), its own sound (leaves that crackle as you walk through them), and its own feeling (the time-to-get-down-to-a-new-beginning-at-the-start-of-a-new-school-year feeling) in the northern hemisphere. Here, autumn is unique. Not only are we back in our passport country to enjoy these sights, sounds, and smells of the season, it will be the first year in eleven years that I have not homeschooled any of my five children.
The other day, I picked a leaf. It was bright red all around the edges but still green in the middle along the veins. A two-toned gem: beautiful in its own right, but even more beautiful because God used it as a picture to remind me of things He has said in His Word. We are hard pressed on every side but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed (2 Corinthians 4:8).
We returned from the field weary. We returned from the field wondering what the future holds. We returned with God’s peace. I felt like God was telling me, in that moment, that I am just like that leaf. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16).
God also showed me that I am like the tree from which I picked that beautiful leaf. I am in an “autumn” in my life with various leaves, previously productive, falling down or being plucked off. I am no longer a homeschool mom. I am no longer on the field. Who am I without these things? It is a season of letting go. My identity must reside in Christ alone.
I read a wonderful book by Mark Buchanan entitled Spiritual Rhythm: Being with Jesus Every Season of your Soul. In fact, I have already read it twice! In the book, he looks carefully at the natural seasons to address the spiritual work and gifts connected with each different season in our lives. My autumn can be a season of growth and beauty even if there is no visible “fruit,” no visible “productivity,” and no easy answers for “what do you do all day?”
I am focusing on growing deeper roots as I let the leaves fall and look forward to spring.
Questions to consider: Which “spiritual season” are you in? What is God teaching you in this particular season of your life?