Today is the 1st of September – the first day of autumn.
I love autumn. Like, really love autumn. It’s is my absolutely favourite season.
But it wasn’t always like this.
I used to hate autumn, like really hate autumn. It just represented death and darkness and the end of everything.
Three years ago, as autumn was just beginning, God whispered these words to me , “surrender to the season.” He didn’t just mean autumn, but the season I found myself at in my inner life at the time. I was struggling majorly with anxiety and depression and all I could see was death and darkness and the end of everything. Yet he kept saying to me, “surrender to the season.”
I was at the end if myself so I had nothing left to do but surrender.
Suddenly I began to see the beauty of autumn. I saw the brightness of the leaves turning. I came across a quote that said, “autumn is a second spring where every leaf becomes a flower.”
Yes, autumn is the end of everything but that end is called harvest. We survive the rest of the year by what we gather in the autumn. I realised that the end doesn’t always mean death, it can give us what we need to survive the next season of our lives.
However I only saw this beauty after I surrendered to the season. I had to surrender to what was going on around me and inside me in order to see the beauty.
Maybe you’re in a season you hate and all you can see is death, darkeness and the end of everything.
Is God asking you to surrender to the season? If you do you’ll be amazed at the beauty there is to see.
I am constantly bombarded with before and after pictures – before the diet, after the diet; before the hair cut, after the hair cut; before the fitness regime, after the fitness regime, on and on it goes. I love the after picture. It usually demonstrates hard work and tenacity and I am in awe of the people who have been dedicated to do what it takes to get to that ‘after’ stage.
I am in a wheelchair, and unless a miracle occurs, this is it.
I don’t have an after picture. What do I do?
Genesis 1v1: “In the beginning God…” God is in the before. He is in my before and He loves my before even if at this time there is no after. If He loves it, then who am I to hate it? I have had to learn to love the before.
I cant help thinking that the bigger miracle is loving the before.
INSTRUCTION NUMBER 5: Please make a u-turn
This is when you know you’ve really messed up. Sally usually tells me this when I have gone as far as I can go based on my own knowledge and it has done nothing more but get me even more lost. Doesn’t this sound familiar in our own lives when it comes to following God? We go the way we think we know then we end up more lost than ever, then we decide to listen to the voice that knew the right way all along. We need to make a u-turn! We need to admit we went down the wrong road, made the wrong decision, said the wrong words, hurt people, damaged ourselves and grieved his heart.
The thing about a sat nav is that it begins to re-direct you from the very point of your lostness. It doesn’t make you go all the way back to the start or wait until you find your way onto a familiar road. It takes you right from where you are. God does exactly the same. He loves you right in your lostness and will come to you right where you are and lead you from there.
God is a master at taking lost people and making them found again. He is expert at taking broken hearts and making them whole again.
As the hymn writer so eloquently put it:
“I once was lost but now I am found
I was blind but now I see” (John Newton, ‘Amazing Grace’).
INSTRUCTION NUMBER 6: You have arrived at your destination
And so you arrive…or do you?
After every turn in the road you arrive where you were always meant to be only to realise that there is another destination to make your way to. Sure, you may stay here for a while but inevitably you will move on, even from here.
After lot of journeying, wandering and wondering, these words are starting to truly define my life:
“It the end it was the walking that made all the difference. It took arriving, always arriving, to finally understand that it was never about where I ended up, but only how I got there. I hope I never get to where I am going” (Tyler Knott Gregson).
We will arrive, only to leave again and arrive somewhere else.
INSTRUCTION NUMBER 4: Take the next left turn
- Continue on this road until further instruction
I’m going to be honest here and say that this is the instruction I hate the most. I know I’m heading toward the right destination and I’m on the right road to get me there – but I want to know what’s next. I’m a ‘what’s next?’ kinda woman.
Apart from my relationship with God the most important thing in my life is fulfilling His purpose for my life. I always have to feel I’m living on purpose. I hate the sense of wandering aimlessly through life. I’ve been put on this planet at this time for a purpose and I want to fulfil it, so I’m constantly asking, “what’s next?”
When God tells me to “stay on this road until further instruction” I really struggle. Perhaps, though, it’s not the lack of instruction thats the problem. Its the fact that it’s “this road”.
I find myself saying, “Really, Lord? This road?
This is a hard road. It’s a mundane road. The scenery isn’t great. It feels so far away from where I want to be.
This bank balance?
This doctor’s report?”
God replies and says, “Yes. This road. I know it’s long and hard but if you stay on it it will be the road that takes you the greatest distance to your destination. What you learn on this road will enable you to be the person you need to be when you arrive.”
So what do we learn on this road? We learn to just keep on driving! We learn faithfulness and patience. We learn the art of work that makes us into a work of art created by the Master. We learn to be thankful for each day that we are able to walk this road because many are denied the same privilege. We learn to appreciate the beauty of each small step. We learn to trust in the last thing God told us without having to know the next thing. We learn to rest in His promise.
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