Have you ever watched the leaves on trees at this time of the year? I find it absolutely fascinating. How do the tress know that this is the time when their leaves need to change color and eventually drop to the ground? How does nature KNOW?
We have an aspen tree in our yard. I think they’re one of the most beautiful trees in creation. I love their simplicity, their gorgeous colors in the summer and fall, and the beauty of their leaves fluttering in the wind.
Only a magnificent Father in heaven could do something so perfectly.
I’ve been observing our aspen over the last few weeks.
The changing of colors and the shedding of old leaves.
Shedding to prepare for new life in a few months.
A tree left barren of its color and graceful elegance.
Barren before the next spring arrives.
And some days I look at this leaf and I can totally relate.
The one who clings to old life.
The one who struggles to let go of the past…
…and embrace the present season. Wholly.
The season of barrenness.
The season of falling to the ground in surrender.
The season of dormancy…
….and waiting. Waiting.
Waiting for abundant new life to spring forth.
I’m just like that dry, brown old leaf.
Clinging to my old life and struggling to let go.
Holding on with everything that is within me and forgetting His promises in my life.
So often I forget His promises. I forget that the seasons He allows us to go through are for our good. They’re for our growth and our maturing. The valleys are there so that God can eventually show us His faithfulness.
If we only surrender it all.
I forget that for new life to come…
…the old must go.
We must forget, die to self, give it all into the capable hands of Him who has called us according to His plans and purposes for our lives.
“Forget the former things. Do not dwell on the past.” ~~ Isaiah 43:18
I am reminded that too often in my own life I’m just like Lot’s wife.
I look back!
A little glance over my shoulder at what I’ve left back there—the places God has called us out of and the valley He has now called us to walk through.
And I yearn for what’s behind.
I long for the former things—the comforts, the stability, the relationships, the certainty of what was.
And my heart keeps looking back…
…wishing that things could only be different.
That life could be going MY way.
And just like that leaf, I cling by my fingernails to the old life.
“Forget the former things.” He tenderly whispers to my heart for the gazillionth time.
I fail so miserably at getting that right. I forget that He makes all things beautiful in His time, not mine. I forget that everything I go through today and in the future has already been ordained by the hand of an Almighty Father in heaven who adores me and my family. And I forget a truth that I have held onto over the years. They’re the wise words of Charles Swindoll.
“Nothing touches us that has not first passed through His hands.”
Everything we go through must pass through His hands first.
And so I once again determine in my heart to do as Paul did.
“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” ~~ Phil. 3:13-14
Today I will put on the full armor of God and strain toward what lies ahead.
I will, once again, place our lives in His capable hands…
…and pray with all of my heart that I get it right.
That my life will be a reflection of His grace and His mercy.
In the valley.
And on the mountain top too.
Just for today I will fall to the ground in surrender…
…and I will wait patiently for spring to come.