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
©copyrighted 2008 by Julie L. Todd