Friday, August 29, 2008

Seasons of the Soul

     As I sat outside Starbucks this morning the gentle breeze reminded me that fall will soon be here.  It won’t be long before these mountains will be filled with the beauty of change; the trees bursting out in color.  Fall always represents beauty to me.  

     Fall is an amazing  picture.  The beautiful color of the leaves comes from their death.  As they die out they burst into vibrant colors of brilliant yellows, fiery reds and bright oranges. Color fills the trees as each leaf prepares to die. It's a profound picture. Things die out in autumn preparing for the rest of winter.  The death of my old man takes me to the rest of God.  As the old dies away, His beauty covers me.  The death of fall prepares us for the rest of winter.

     Winter ushers us into a season of restoration.   The colorful leaves turn brown and fall in death from the trees that once held them firm. The trees stand empty and stark.  Beautiful flowers have gone into hiding.  Cold airs move in, bringing elements that keep us inside, hibernating.  In winter everything is made to rest in preparation for the new life of spring that follows.

    Spring brings the fruit of winter’s rest.  Newborn calves and foals are seen nestling beside mothers.  Foliage returns to the trees.  Plants hidden underground emerge, doubled in size.  Flowers burst into bloom while bees buzz about gathering pollen.  New life breaks out everywhere revealing the fruit of winter's rest.  Gardens are planted with anticipation of their yield preparing the way to enjoy the bounty of summer.

     Summer brings long days of sunshine. Vacation and outdoor activities increase.  Swimming, cookouts, and celebrations are all part of summer.  It's the time to play and enjoy the fruit of our labor.  Fresh vegetables out of the garden are harvested and put away in preparation for the days ahead.  The bounty of summer prepares us for the change of fall.

     The seasons have a part they play in life as well as in the soul.   Winters' barrennesses is the season I have found most challenging to weather.  I fought the hiddenness of winter for many years. It felt so bleak and empty. Loneliness poured in like a cold, biting breeze.  I wanted to be "about His work", doing for Him.  I didn't like being still and hidden.  I had been so used to performance and striving that when it came time to be still I didn't know how.  Then He began to tenderly whisper to me about rest.  

     In the soul’s winter I have been stripped to barrenness.  Who I was in my old man and my work emerged showing the cracks in my foundation.  So much value was tied into what I had to offer.  I discovered something astounding.  It's not about me and what I have to give or do. It was never meant to be about me.  It is Him, and Him alone that this life is about.  It is He who lives His life through me, not me living my life for Him.

     As winter is designed to do, I began to find rest in the one who was and is and is to come.  A sweet stillness swept over me as I realized I'm off the hook.  HE is the new life of spring, the bounty of summer, the preparation of fall and the rest of winter.  He’s enough; therefore I don’t have to be.  As I embraced this, my need to offer who I was and what I could do was stripped bare.  Restlessness turned into rest.

     In many ways I still find myself in a season of hiddenness.  Today as I sat outside and felt the breeze rushing over me I realized, for the first time, I'm looking forward to winter.  It is there I am at rest.  For in winter my heart is emptied and prepared to bear His life in spring.

     Find rest; O my soul in God alone; my hope comes from Him. Ps. 62:5

Jewelz
©copyrighted 2008 by Julie L. Todd

  
     

20 comments:

Gretchen said... Reply to comment

Julie, you have spoken to my heart so deeply with this post. Enjoy this season, my friend.

mer@lifeat7000feet said... Reply to comment

Julie, that was beautiful. I'm feeling like I'm in a "winter season" right now, and can relate to much of what you shared. Thank you for your words.

Yes, I will pray for Courtney, and for you. I hope that you have some time to spend together this weekend before she leaves.

Hey...are you familiar with Nichole Nordeman's song about seasons? It's one of my very favorites.

Enjoyed chatting with you this week!

Love and blessings,
Meredith

Cindy said... Reply to comment

In Phoenix we really don't have 'seasons' as do other parts of the country. However I have come to realize that winter is usually the most productive spiritually for me.
I love this post.
Also, I do know Alicia ~ what an amazing woman of God.
Thank you the your insight today.
Blessings, Cindy

elaine @ peace for the journey said... Reply to comment

Julie:
I'm so glad you're doing this study. I'll be facilitating our group of 50+ in just over a week, and today, I am knee deep in preparation. I've read the book at least six times and now worked through the corresponding study book. Alicia has spoken the penchant of my life's walk.

Hiddenness...

But she has taught me so much about celebrating and honoring such seasons. In many ways, even though I'm very active in the life of the church, I still feel so hidden. God via Alicia has given me permission to pause and to relish such times of anonymity.

This study will be unlike others we've done at our church. No one is familiar with this book, so I've got my work cut out for me. I would appreciate your prayers. I may be periodically posting about the study online and would love your input.

God bless you in all your seasons. May the beauty of Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer find its bloom within your heart.

peace~elaine

Sharon Brumfield said... Reply to comment

Thank you for this post.
Loved the picture of fall and why the leaves are turning such a brilliant color. (I do look forward to experiencing that for the first time this fall while in the mountains.)
Not sure what it is going to look like when all is stripped away and the real me is revealed....I am sure it will be a good time to rest in Him and let Him work on a few things.
Thanks for the prayers for my family and friends.

Victoria (Vii) said... Reply to comment

Beautiful words that speak to my soul! Thank you for your wisdom and inspirational posts! I look forward to Fall's arrival and all that the new season brings in my life!

Joyful said... Reply to comment

Julie, what an absolutely beautiful post. The seasons in our life aren't as predictable as the seasons on the calendar. They can come unexpected and can even last for years.

I'm in a season right now that came without warning, but God is with me in every season and for that I'm so thankful.

I often feel 'hidden' - but not by God. What God sees in secret now He will one day reward openly.

Blessings,
Joy

Kathy S. said... Reply to comment

Hi Julie, wonderful meditations, I love how the Lord uses things like seasons to teach us, and encourage us.

After reading the book "captivating" by Staci Eldridge, it is much clearer why we have the battle with our old-self for recognition. I wrote a bit about the blessing of hiddeness on my blog in April. As I read it, it sounds like I "get it" but I think there is always at least a little gulf between knowing truth and living it.

http://blessedbuilder.blogspot.com/2008_04_01_archive.html

blessings!
Kathy

Marsha said... Reply to comment

Julie, This is an AMAZING post! Your words have touched my soul. I've never heard of this book, but it sounds like a must read. Thanks for this beautiful post.

I'm praying for you and Courtney.

Amy said... Reply to comment

Julie,

You never cease to amaze me with your gift of writing!

Thanks for sharing your beautiful heart.

Love you!
Amy

Connie@Little Red Hearts From God said... Reply to comment

it is interesting that several things I have read lately have been about the seasons... esp... fall... I wonder what God is trying to say to me??

this was very good...

one of those where I want to read and reread...

btw, I will be praying for you and courtney...but remember (yes, I know you know) she is not alone... but with the angels of Heaven and our Heavenly Father as they watch over her...
keep us posted on the travel agenda and specifically how to pray for her... I would find it an honor...

love ya girl
Connie

keep my number close by in case you need an emergency prayer time or talk

Merrie said... Reply to comment

Beautiful! Yes, I yearn for a change of seasons in my life now. I need His touch!

Laura said... Reply to comment

So beautiful, Julie. I love this: "In the soul’s winter I have been stripped to barrenness. Who I was in my old man and my work emerged showing the cracks in my foundation. So much value was tied into what I had to offer. I discovered something astounding. It's not about me and what I have to give or do. It was never meant to be about me. It is Him, and Him alone that this life is about. It is He who lives His life through me, not me living my life for Him."
Wow.
I'm praying for your precious daughter! And for you, Dear friend!

Lyric said... Reply to comment

Thank you, Julie, for making such a great book recommendation! I linked to you and offer a couple excerpts today...

A book truly fit for this season.

I'm grateful.

Sharon said... Reply to comment

It is He who lives His life through us, not us living our live's for Him. I love this post, I felt alittle chill whirl around me. Great post thank you for sharing
I am praying for you and your family
Blessings to you
Sharon

Amy said... Reply to comment

Just beautiful, Julie. I always gain encouragment by visiting here. Blessings.

Lelia Chealey said... Reply to comment

He’s enough; therefore I don’t have to be.

AMEN Julie!! AMEN!!

Have you heard from your daughter?

Marsha said... Reply to comment

Hi Julie,

When you get a chance, swing by my blog and read my Thankful Thursday post for today (Sept. 4). It's about seasons.

Praying for you and your daughter.

Have a blessed weekend.

ktwalden said... Reply to comment

Julie, your words always touch me deeply. God has truly given you a wonderful gift and I am thankful that He led me to these anointed writings. When you have time, please visit my blog because I have an award for you.

graceandgiggles said... Reply to comment

You are a unique, beautiful, and amazing woman! I love you!