Autumn & grace

Florida isn’t really known for its changing seasons.

Quite the opposite, it’s the haven people from other parts of the country rely on for its consistently warm weather, booking south-bound flights when winter gets to be a little too much, lasts a little too long. I’m looking at you, New Englanders. That first winter’s snow sweeps you up in its romance, but a March blizzard is enough to make anyone cry uncle and run for the sunshine.

Some of the leaves here in Central Florida, where I was born and have lived most of my life, change color and fall to the ground—in January. The temperature at some point in September or October drops from a stifling 98 degrees to a more tolerable but still unsatisfactory 86 degrees.

Around this time, I, along with the rest of the female population of this region, go ahead and order pumpkin spice lattes and throw on scarves and boots anyway.

I beg the season to change, knowing the weather won’t likely cooperate. Soon my husband, two girls and I will head to Georgia for a weekend so that we can experience, however briefly, the feeling of leaves crunching beneath boots and the way the brilliant palette of oranges, yellows, and reds overwhelms our senses. My eyes just can’t soak in enough color, and I never can seem to preserve it to my satisfaction with the camera.

It’s usually enough to tide me over until November, when I start aching for what comes next. I won’t witness it where I live, but I know it will happen (and I can live vicariously through my northern friends’ and relatives’ Instagram feeds): Dropping temperatures. Crispy leaves drifting to the ground, leaving naked trees behind. The first winter’s snow, turning the world white and pristine. A fresh palette. Knowing that beneath the cold earth, new life is brewing, miracles that will burst forth come spring, as sure as the sun rises and sets.

It is just one of God’s countless promises fulfilled. It’s grace.

While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.
—Genesis 8:22

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Here in the Sunshine State, the changing of seasons tends to be subtle, less dramatic, easy to overlook—some might say nonexistent. But our souls, regardless of what’s happening in the physical world around us, recognize something deeper happening as we move further into autumn. Our hearts are tuned to crave the falling and sweeping away of what was and to turn expectantly toward what is ahead.

Gathering. Advent. Hope.

Fall is my favorite season, bringing with it new rhythms, school supplies, my birthday, cooler, drier air (eventually), holidays and festivities. But I know that for many, this movement toward the end of the year is unwelcome for a number of reasons—added stress, tumultuous family relationships, the deep ache of missing a loved one.

I believe God designed our hearts, ever so intentionally, to seek and to turn toward him, expectant and believing that whatever comes our way in the next season of life, his promises are good and true. So whatever the circumstances, I want to orient my heart toward Christ and choose to place my hope in the One who created the seasons to change—not only by the spinning of this earth on its axis, but within us.

Because I know that he remains ever faithful and steadfast, even as the seasons carry on with their turning.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.
—Hebrews 10:23

Fall is close, I can feel it in the air—even if that air is a little on the warm and humid side.

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Click here to see all posts from the Grace, Freedom, & the Rules series.

{This series is part of the Write 31 Days challenge.} 

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