The tree in the neighbor’s yard across the street from our house is turning red. I noticed it a week ago – the outside edges starting to shift, the green beginning to fade, a halo of pending-autumn framing the tree-face.
It’s funny when I think about it. The framed-out red and the leaves turning color. It creates an anxiety deep down low in my belly. A change I’m not quite ready for. Maybe that’s why I re-color the gray hairs that are starting to frame my face. I noticed them first just after I turned 30, a halo of pending-aging that I’m also not ready for. But I can dye those and pretend it’s not happening. I can’t very well walk over to my neighbor’s yard with a can of paint to color back the leaves in the way they painted the roses red in Alice in Wonderland (wouldn’t that be a sight?).
My eager anticipation of fall when it was still 85° outside turns to anxiousness as the weather turns crisp and the muscle memory kicks in. Did I ever tell you about the clock we had on the wall? The one that was right across from our kitchen and stayed put in its place for ten years after the day that we hung it. We packed it up when we moved to Maui. We didn’t live in the house for nearly five years. And yet still, when we moved back in last November, I found myself glancing up at the wall to a clock that was no longer there to see what time it was.
Fall does that same thing to me. The memories parade through my mind and I feel almost claustrophobic at the threat of grief that wants to push back in. We’re nearing the anniversary of Shawna’s death, and because it wasn’t a sudden loss, the entire season of fall brings me back there. Maybe it’s the time we sat, tucked up in her backyard under the blankets with the falling leaves. Or the holiday drinks we drank together – the ones that I would order cold and without ice for her so that they could sit in the fridge until she was awake and felt like drinking it. Until I realized one day that she was done drinking our special coffee drinks and I only bought one for myself.
The memories swirl and threaten to spiral me down with them. I look back up at the neighbor’s tree. It’s now halfway covered over with red leaves – changing much faster than I would like. I close my eyes and swallow down the lump in my throat and pray. And the peace comes washing when He reminds me again of Psalm 126. He reminds me again that all that healing that I experienced on Maui? I didn’t leave it there like a girl going off her anti-depressants when we moved back home.
We’ve spent the entire month talking about how to fall into a quiet time. And today, I put my money where my mouth is. As I kneaded out the dough of my heart, I dug into Psalm 126. Which leads me to an announcement! I’m introducing a brand new, once-a-month freebie to my newsletter subscribers in the form of a single-day Scripture study. And it starts this month with a peek at harvest.
For years, fall was a representation of the dreamed-up harvest that the locusts had eaten in Joel 2:25-27. Now? The harvest-season is in the restoration part of the story in my heart in which God is still writing the narrative. It’s finally becoming a picture of abundant provision. And God met me in this Psalm-126 quiet time – right there in the anxiety of the changing season with an “I see your fear” kind of acknowledgment. Just before He led me to the redemption part of our harvest-study together.
This, sweet friend, is the beauty of falling into a quiet time. It’s proof that richness that can be found in the quiet study of God’s word. He speaks intimately and intricately – right down deep into the secret places of your heart. He finds the tied-up knot and presses in to release it, and replace it with the rhythms of His grace.
All for the greatness of His glory.
P.S. Since this “freebie study” is a brand new feature for my newsletter subscribers, I’ve included it here for you. Download it, read through it, and take it as a sampling of what you will be receiving in future months. Then make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out on any studies in the future!
P.P.S. That cozy, fall photo is from my “Falling into Autumn” board on Pinterest.