Fall is one of my absolute favorite seasons. I enjoy watching as the trees change colors, and although I do not particularly care for cold weather, I love pulling out my fall boots and getting my hot chocolate ready for the cooler weather. Fall also signals the coming of Thanksgiving and Christmas, which are two of my favorite holidays. When fall comes, I start my baking craziness (prompting my husband’s serious side eye as I go crazy in the kitchen). Fall is just the beginning of all kinds of greatness for me. It has not always been that way, but it is now. Recently, I went on my morning hike up a mountain near me. This is nothing unusual, but on this particular morning, I took a closer look at the scenery all around me. I paid attention to the trees. I looked at the insects that were still running around in nature. I especially focused on the changing colors and the view around the mountain. I noticed, upon my perusal, that there were leaves of all different colors. Beautiful, luscious, fall colors. They captivated my attention. Upon closer inspection, I saw that many of the leaves were the same, just different colors than they had been throughout the year. For some reason, this was a particularly poignant point for me. As I studied the leaves, I saw the varied colors, but one fact remained; No matter what color they changed, they were still leaves. Their environment dictated that they change. It appeared that they would die off never to return, and yeah, that seems to be the case on the surface; however, as I thought of it more, I understood that leaves will always remain. The cycle of their life may make them seem obsolete. Shifts happen, but when spring comes again, so will the leaves. This made me think of our lives and how things happen that make it seem as if we will never recover. The “colors” of our lives change, and maybe it does not seem as beautiful as the fall colors, but there is an amazing undercurrent to that change. All things really do work together for our good. I have seen my life shift all around me. Things have happened that did not look good, and definitely did not feel good, but one fact remained; that is the fact that who I am in essence will always remain. Who I was created to be, what I was created to do, the lives I was created to touch, none of that changed as my life went on around me. So, embrace the seasons of change, and know that when it is all over, you will still remain.
We’re all excited about springing forward. If you’re like me you love the Spring. I enjoy the warm weather, the bursts of color, and the activity as birds fly and people enjoy the outdoors. While I could do without the extra pollen and allergies, Spring is one of my favorite seasons. As the changes occur around me, it is easy to get caught up in the newness of everything, and to become lackadaisical. This idea of new and fresh is so enticing that sometimes I find myself forgetting about the things I should be doing, and I’ve run off looking to entertain myself with whatever else has presented itself to me in this Spring season. My focus seems to automatically shift from what was to what will be because Spring comes full with promises and with opportunity, but if I’m not careful I can miss the things that I still need to be focusing on. Then when Summer comes I will be caught out in the heat without air conditioning, burned up by the elements because I failed to prepare for what was to come. Then before I know it, Fall and Winter will come along, and nothing has changed. So the next Spring, I would be back to trying to be new again. Freshness is great as long as we are being refreshed from a place of growth, not from a place where we have gone backwards. I remember writing last Spring about how everything appeared new because I had a new mindset, and because I had moved on from those things I’d dealt with before. Somehow though, I found myself confronted with those same issues, and when I realized that I had not truly conquered them, I fell backwards. I began to think the same way as before. I began to perceive things as though they were before. My actions began to regress, and I realized that though Spring is a time of newness, I’d tried to become new without first letting the past issues I was dealing with be healed. It reminded me of a deep wound, that, instead of allowing it to be stitched up, I had only allowed a band-aid to cover it up. So, the wound never really healed, and was actually infected, just waiting for a chance to fester and cause more problems. So, as we prepare for this Spring of unknown opportunities, and as we look forward with anticipation to all the new things that Spring has to offer, make sure that we do not Spring backwards. If we have all of our old issues, and old situations dealt with, then we do not have to contend with the old things as we embrace our new season. Whatever you do, keep Springing forward, don’t fall back.