At the beginning of the year, as I took time out to reflect on 2017 and prepare for 2018, I felt God simply say that 2018 was to be marked by seasons. When I came to the end of one, to seek Him for the next. I wrote about it in Setting Your Goals and I thought what this meant was to regularly use the exercises in Defining Your Season. By the time I wrote This is Spring I had realised maybe God was going to speak to me through the actual seasons. It will be interesting to see at the end of the year, on reflection, if this is true.
I’ve been dog sitting this week, my venue is in the middle of the countryside. It has been a joy to get the opportunity each day to walk (sans phone) down the tracks and into open field, orchards, and farmland (keeping to the recognised paths obvs).
As I’ve walked, I felt God remind me of some of what has been put on my heart for this season.
This is Autumn
I’m not a great lover of Autumn, my energy levels are a mess and generally, cold and rain are not my favourite things. I don’t like ‘wrapping up warm’ because I instantly overheat and feel trapped. Crunchy leaves only last as long as the rain stays off and pumpkin is really not that special – Starbucks just market it well (and with a lot of sugar)
I think too, if you had asked me about a ‘fall’ season and spirituality, it wouldn’t have been the season I would have welcomed. Yet in our time, God will walk us through all the seasons – for our good, for the good of others and for His glory.
As I walked, God bullet-pointed some ideas to reflect on (with a hot chocolate by the fire!)
There is Fruit
I think I often think about the fact the in Autumn leaves fall from the tree. I’ve never really thought about the fact that Autumn is about fruit. There is fruit (and veg!). This fruit needs to fall/be picked to have a purpose, either to be enjoyed and eaten or to be the seed to new plants. More than this, when I think of autumnal foods, I think of homely, warm stews and pies, dark fruits and custard…home.
Even now as I reflect on the month so far where Autumn has shown her face, where the fall has begun’ I can see this in my life. I feel it is a time of making ‘home’. In the past week, I’ve felt more at home than ever (even though I’ve been staying away and felt the blessing of friendship and of God working in these friendships. I do see fruit, and I am beginning to see whether it is for eating or planting, the next step is to be obedient.
How can we create ‘home’ for those who need it?
Start the Year
I was listening to Radio 4 this morning and they were interviewing Wayne Amiel, the winner of BH Garden of the Year. They reflect on Autumn sometimes being seen as a time of rot an decay but instead to see it as the start of a gardens year. It is a time where we are not to focus on tidying up(!) but on being able to divide plants and replant. Added to this I thought about how it’s a time where I regularly remove the dead parts of plants. In this I felt God say, don’t see it as the end, but the beginning.
In practice this last month has been about letting go of ‘plants’. Both in work and in my personal life I’ve been seeking wisdom and knowledge for where I need to divide a plant (pass responsibility to someone else), move it to another place, or even allow for it to fall. It’s hard to let go, but I am trusting God that it is the season for it and that in the spring I will reap the benefits! Right now though, I’ll enjoy the fruit and the colours.
What do you need to let go of or divide?
Overwhelm, Unpredictability and Loss of Sight
Several times this week, the weather has changed in a moment. Other times it has looked like one thing, but been another. Once or twice I have driven in fog and every time I walk the dogs I have my hair flying about my face! Autumn can be a time where there is overwhelm, unpredictability and loss of sight. Preparation is key.
I have two pairs of shoes in my car, two types of coat, a hairbrush, a hairband, and have refound where the fog light is! Preparation is key, but we still have to slow down, we still have times where we dress wrong, we still try and remember the rules for using which fog light when!!
As I wrote in Rubik’s Cube I feel quite overwhelmed at the moment by unpredictability. The garden is changing and I feel like I have loss of sight, I can’t see as far ahead as normal. God is reminding me to slow down, allow failures, learn, and look for light.
I pray, that those who feel they walk in darkness, will see the light
Make the most of the Light
Perhaps the part of Autumn I find the hardest is the lack of light. It zaps my energy. It was lovely this morning to wake up an hour ‘later’ with GMT and find that it was daylight at 6.30am but I know this will change. Very simply God has encouraged me to make the most of the light. I think this means both practically and spiritually. Next on my list of things to do today is make a ‘joy’ list, working out what fills me up, that is autumnally doable (rather than just becoming at one with my sofa and watching endless youtube). It will take more energy to do these things, but in return, they will reenergize me (which youtube does not!)
How will you make most of the light?
Storms clear the way
If there is one thing I do love, it’s a good storm – not particularly being in it, but I love witnessing the power in nature and knowing even then He has more power! As I was scrolling through Instagram, I noticed a quote “not all storms come to disrupt your life, some come to clear your path” adding “storms have a beautiful way of making a clear path that you never knew existed ~ don’t stress the storms”. In the garden where I am staying there is a large tree, now horizontal. The owner tells me, it came down in the last storm, and while it’s sad to see it go, it has opened up a completely new view.
Take heart, if it feels stormy and unpredictable, if you feel like you can’t see far ahead and sometimes it’s all too overwhelming, if you feel like its all falling down or being moved; then maybe it is just your Autumn too. Seek to enjoy the colour and the fruit, trust what is being bought down, create ‘home’ and comfort, and make the most of the light you see.