I am not writing today while feasting my eyes on a beautiful landscape of autumn’s delights. Nor am I wearing cute boots and a seasonal scarf. I am a southern California girl, sitting outside in shorts and bare feet, feasting my eyes on a dying lawn because I’m not allowed to water in this drought.
However, the calendar tells me it is Fall. I laugh at the contradiction of pumpkins melting on porches while warm Santa Ana winds blow. We SoCal’s drink our Pumpkin Spice Lattes as we dream of wearing socks. This is the autumn season in my world.
Eventually, the air will cool and we will wear socks again and drink our lattes without sweating. A welcome change.
Sadly, a season of unwelcome change blew into my life. Into my heart. Into my home. This intruder wreaked havoc in incalculable ways. This change flooded every area of my life, seeming unreal. Impossible.
Our financial situation reversed from stable to dire. Family members moved from happy to heartbroken. My health shifted from strong to weak. In the midst of these countless trials, we experienced grief and upsets: our beloved Golden Retriever died and my second son left for college. Nothing but change, loss, sadness and pain for months.
In childhood, when I complained about an unwelcome shift in my life, my grandpa quoted an old cliché, “the only thing constant is change”. I am in a season where this holds true. I never know what will move next. Truthfully, none of us does. Change is a guarantee. Not one of us gets a pass on pain or difficult periods. No one. Jesus promised us this in John 16:33 (NLV):
“…Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows, But take heart,
Because I have overcome the world.”
As a Christian, I have a choice: will I shrivel up in my pain or will I hold on to God with everything I’ve got?
In this terrible-changing season of my life, I’ve chosen/am choosing, to hold on to Jesus.
“Immersed in tears, yet always filled with deep joy…”
2 Corinthians 6:10 The Message
The paradox of my life these days is that I’m drowning in tears, yet filled with inexplicable joy.
I wish I could jot down an easy five-step plan. But there is no plan and it is not easy. It is messy and hard.
I just pursue God daily: I claim hope; I camp out in His word. I thank Him and praise Him. I trust Him when I don’t trust Him. I show up to scary places and He meets me there with His courage. I pray with friends and friends pray for me. Immersed in tears, He fills me with deep joy.
Nothing, no nothing compares to the inexplicable delight of Jesus.
As the calendar continues to turn, joy and sorrow meet me daily. Two powerfully opposite emotions hold hands, ushering me through my moments and hours in this wild season of life. Would I have chosen this change- the pain that has blown in? Nope. Yet, I would have missed my opportunity to choose God in my suffering. Holding on to Him with all that I am. Experiencing His love in the deep, harrowing, secret waters.
And you? Where do you find yourself this autumn? Is there a painful change blowing in? Are you facing the choice of shriveling up or holding on to God? Please join me in holding onto Jesus. Cling to Him. Daily immersed in tears, yet filled with deep joy.
We commit this changing, challenging season to you. You promised us there would be pain. However, you also promised to overcome. This is our hope. We choose you today. We hold onto You with everything we’ve got. In the midst of our sorrow, we welcome Your joy.