Dead Leaves and Bald Trees

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:  Ecclesiastes 3:1 KJV

Are you ready for fall?

I was asked that question last week.

And All at Once, summer collapsed into fall.

Fall? I’m still in July. Where did the summer go?

It’s not that I don’t like fall. I love fall with its delicious aromas, warm blankets, and firelight. But this year, we had a lot of rain, and most days I waited, stuck inside.

Stuck.

Isn’t that the way things go at times?

Stuck in a season.

Stuck on an idea.

Stuck with a feeling.

Stuck waiting for a miracle.

Stuck.

Here’s the thing. When I’m stuck, I’m no longer moving forward.

So I decided to get unstuck. Not in the disarray-discomposure-or-incoherence sort of way, but in the able-to-move-freely, happy-to-be-here, looking-forward-to-it kinda way. 🙂

Why?

Fall is a physical and spiritual reminder to let things go that I cannot change.

The trees are about to show

For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. Job 14:7 KJV

Even the dead leaves of autumn and the bald trees of winter testify of hope. There is always hope no matter the season. His name is Jesus.

No man can taste the fruits of autumn while he is delighting his scent with the flowers of spring

Maybe I won’t get the answers I long for in every season. But I can’t allow it to steal my joy or my hope. Nor will I lounge about in the current season pondering over things I cannot change. I must move on.

Autumn

Blessings await me in this coming season. If only I can recognize them when they appear.

I loved autumn, the season of the year that God seemed to have put there just for the beauty of it

The Lord is always with me wherever my foot may trod. He will not leave me nor forsake me. I have hope. I am not alone.

Neither are you, my friend. No matter the season you’re facing. You’re not alone. The Lord our God is with us leading the way.

Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Psalm 16:11 KJV

During this season, I plan to fall deeper in love with the Lord and let the dead things go. How about you?

Click to Tweet: Even the dead leaves of autumn and the bald trees of winter testify of hope. @GailJohnson87 #fall #hope

Praying for you. Thank you for reading and commenting. You are appreciated.

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Photo by Val Vesa on Unsplash

Growing In the Hard Places

Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. (Colossians 2:7 KJV)

Butterfly couple

I have lantana growing next to the deck surrounding my pool. Last month, I noticed a branch straining against the lattice.

Lantana

Later, that same branch pushed its way through the opening in the lattice to enter the darkened world beneath the deck.

lantana 2

It remained hidden until last week when it popped its head up between the decking and the new multi-colored blooms burst forth in the sunlight.

Although it is now in the scorching heat of the last days of summer, I’m not worried about it. The roots run deep beneath a patch of shaded wet earth that shields it from drought. As you can see, it’s flourishing. I should cut it so I can paint/stain the deck, but I won’t because I know how hard it worked to reach the sunlight.

Sometimes we have to change positions to get where we’re going. We may have to stretch or even shrink to fulfill God’s purpose for our lives.

Either way, growth isn’t easy. To grow, we must choose. Do I stay in my comfort zone where I am secure, or do I brave the unknown and seek the treasure God has in store for me?

Perhaps you’re squashed against a boundary with nowhere to turn.  Maybe you’re facing dark nights of uncertainty with the hounds of hopelessness nipping at your heels. Perchance you’re reaching as far as you can reach in prayer, but still, you can’t feel the touch of the Master’s hand. Take courage, dear one.

You are stronger than you think for your strength comes from our Lord Jesus Christ. His power gives us the ability to endure everything.

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.  I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:11-13 KJV)

I do not believe that we can learn contentment without experiencing growing pains. Therefore, I have to believe that we can grow in the hard places if our roots are clinging to the Rock of Ages. He is our Bread and Water supply.

So I encourage you, dear reader, keep reaching heavenward. Soon, the darkened valley will give way to an expanse suffused with sunlight. Then, the Lord will unveil your beautiful colors for His glory alone.

Click to Tweet: Sometimes we have to change positions to get where we’re going. We may have to stretch, or even shrink, to fulfill God’s purpose for our lives.

Thank you for visiting and reading. You are appreciated more than you know. 🙂

 

 

Red Birds and Red Trucks

I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust (Psalm 91:2 KJV).

Cardinal close upLast week, Lulu and I happened upon a cardinal trapped in a neighbor’s small chicken coop. He was flying from side to side, frantically searching for an exit.  The temperature was rising, and he refused to calm down and rest. We watched as he tried again to free himself only to land breathlessly on the ground. The way he was behaving, he wouldn’t last long.

I exited the truck—leaving the door ajar—and walked to the coop with Lulu in tow. I opened the cage door and began shooing the chicken while coaxing the bird the best way I knew how. After several minutes, Mr. Cardinal realized the door was open and flew the coop. Literally. Ha!

I locked the door on the chicken coop, climbed into my truck, and cranked up the AC. Yes, it was 80 degrees. I needed the air. Saving birds while shooing chickens is hard work, people. 🙂

Click to Tweet: Saving birds while shooing chickens is hard work! #devotional #memoir

20180225_134919When Lulu opened her door, she quickly stepped back to the rear door. “Mama, the bird is sitting in my seat.”

Sure enough, the bird was sitting in her seat panting with cold air blowing through his tuft of feathers. He wasn’t in a hurry to leave. He had discovered air conditioning was pretty cool. 😉

Click to tweet: He had discovered air conditioning was pretty cool. #nature #memoir

I retrieved my phone from the console and took a picture20180225_135418_001. I was sure he would fly. Instead, he just sat there. Enjoying the air. I turned the middle vent toward him, and he turned his head as if to allow the breeze to blow on his face. I took more photos as he rested. Twelve, in all. After his breathing slowed, he sat for a few minutes more and then flew to a nearby fence.

Later, I thought about the spiritual significance of that incident. I often flutter about working to free myself from worrisome circumstances that capture my attention. The more I try, the weaker I become. I often miss my Rescuer standing at the door offering to free me. The pictures of the cardinal remind me that I need to fly to Father’s presence and let the refreshing breeze of Holy Spirit restore me.

Click to tweet: I need to fly to Father’s presence and let the refreshing breeze of Holy Spirit restore me. #devotional #hope

Dearest Lord, when I am fluttering about without an escape, help me to focus on you who stands at the door to save me. Help me to fly into your arms and rest under the refreshing breeze of your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’s name, I pray. Amen

Have you ever gained a spiritual insight from nature?