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There is Beauty Here

Fall is my favorite season. Crisp air.

Mums. All things warm and cozy sweaters. But my favorite part is, the colors! The blue grey sky folding into a sea of gold, crimson and orange. The painting of God’s canvas unlike anything I have ever seen! Every year I am more and more in awe of God, displayed in the glory of His creation.

I remember a few Autumn's ago someone joking that people, whose favorite season is fall, are narcissistic in their thinking. Someone who marvels at the beauty of death must be crazy! While quite the oxymoron, it did make me realize how I rarely think of this expansion of marvelous colors as actually being just an ocean of dying leaves. All I see is beauty. Can death and beauty be in the same sentence?

For those who know Jesus, our physical death is simply a passing from the pains and brokenness of this world, into a place unlike anything we could ever experience here on earth. Glory. Freedom. No more sorrow. Eternity with Jesus. Our human hearts grieve the loss of our loved ones but we find peace knowing they are finally home.

But what about those little deaths we experience long before we ever take our last breath? The death of a friendship. A marriage. A beloved job or hobby. The goodbye to a part of our body that used to work so well, now fatigued with age or illness. An expectation shattered by a reality that rarely takes into account our feelings. These deaths we grieve too. And in the midst of it, much like the loss of a loved one to glory, we wrestle hard with the timing and the good plan our Father has for us.

As I look at the expanse of colorful trees around me, I see no sadness. They laugh and sway. Singing the goodness of their creator who knew the leaves would be too heavy to carry into the long winter. The trees trust the process and hold tightly to the promise of new, better, leaves in the spring. No, these magnificent statues don't resent or mourn the change and the death. They shine brightly and boldly in the grooming process.

What we experience here on earth, what we give up now, is nothing compared to what is coming. The good and perfect gifts God is preparing for us next Spring. If only we can be patient enough to wait. To find joy in this blustery season of unexpected and often uncomfortable. If we can simply lift our hands and sway in praise. Believing God is good and has a good plan for us, even before we see it. And as our colors begin to grow dim and fade, we can trust our roots are strong enough to with stand the long winter. Rooted deeply in our Jesus, we will be fed with streams of living water. Perfected for whatever he has next, we will bloom again.

How I wish I was more like the leaves of fall. Fully dependent on my Savior. Surrender to the process. Trusting in whatever season he has me in. Knowing that whatever leaves I may be shedding now, there is better coming. There is hope. There is beauty here in the death of the expectations I had. The plans I assumed would come to pass. And the places and people who needed to fall away in the process of growing closer to Jesus, so that I could come back stronger in the next chapter.

I look at the trees again, their colors bursting with joy and excitement for what is to come. The testimony of strength and faith makes its impact on my heart. I know I can continue to grieve and wrestle against the losses I can’t make sense of. Or I can set down my questions at Jesus feet and just worship even when I do not understand his plan. I can let the sun kiss my face as I burst into song. The shedding process is never easy, but it is necessary for the places God is taking us. We can trust him to bring the new he promises, even in the death of what we hoped. Sorrow may come in the night, but joy comes in the morning. And the morning, dear friend, it will come and you will shine again. Brighter and bolder for the Kingdom than ever before.

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