Friday, September 28, 2018

Devotionals for the Heart: Seasons

Changing Seasons

A devotional by Gail Kittleson

This month is a favorite of many in the Midwest because it marks the gradual transformation from the Summer season to Autumn. As the temperature drops, the barest tinge of gold touches the leaves’ edges. A few days later, we see some leaves already fallen to the earth. But there’s much more color to come—oranges and reds and golds...oh my!

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, they say, and we can find glories in every season, but it’s hard to top walking through crunchy leaves in a fall landscape, with even more overhead, still clinging to their warm-weather home.

Autumn makes some people sad because it beckons us to winter’s inevitable cold. In my youth, I felt this way, but the decades have brought me to pronounce fall my favorite season.

Once it’s cool enough to delete all annoying, biting, stinging insects, we can relax and enjoy golden days still warm enough to spend lots of time outdoors.

We often hear midlife compared with autumn. In those years after our children have left home and we turn to other pursuits, we no longer carry the “baggage” of our youth and leave much of the trivial behind us. We know winter’s bound to arrive, we have a better idea of who we are and what to expect of life. Now, we can let go of our efforts to control, and give ourselves to the tasks we still believe worthwhile.

All this is because we’ve come to deeply believe the message of Romans 8:3-4 (MSG) which says, "God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn’t deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all. The law code, weakened as it always was by fractured human nature, could never have done that. The law always ended up being used as a Band-Aid on sin instead of a deep healing of it. And now what the law code asked for but we couldn’t deliver is accomplished as we, instead of redoubling our own efforts, simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us."

Instead of redoubling our efforts, we simply embrace what the Holy Spirit is doing in us. This bears repeating because it’s so easily verbalized, but so very, very difficult to do. Some call it “let go and let God.”

But for many of us, it takes a lifetime to accomplish. Such a challenge, setting aside our work ethic, our desire to be in charge, and our intention to change everyone around us.

Ah, but Autumn often brings relief, and so do the middle years, when we finally accept our human limitations, but also the unlimited potential of placing God truly in the center of our lives.

Yes, our leaves may fade and fray, and one day fall to the earth, but in the meantime, there’s a glorious display of brilliant hues.

One day, we turn fifty. Then all of a sudden, sixty. And onward...

But it’s okay. Winter has its own beauty to offer, and through it all, our God has promised to remain with us.

Author Bio:
When Gail Kittleson's not steeped in World War II research, drafting scenes, or deep in an edit of her 1940’s novels, she does a limited amount of editing for other authors.

She also facilitates writing and creativity workshops, both in Iowa and Arizona, where she and her husband like to spend part of the winter in the amazing Ponderosa pine forest under the Mogollon Rim.

Favorites: spending time with grandchildren, walking, reading, meeting new people, and hearing from readers who fall in love with her characters.

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