Seasons of the Heart

Fall is my favorite time of year. I’m an October girl by birth and by choice. There is nothing more beautiful than the leaves of a maple leaning against an October blue sky in the mountains. I have a dear friend who grew up in New England, and she tells me I haven’t seen anything that compares to the colors of a New Hampshire fall. I put seeing one with her on my bucket list because God is never nearer to my heart than when I witness fall’s transformation. As the saying goes, “I can hear God in every season, but I can see Him in the fall!”

October is about change. Transition is part of transformation, and that rarely comes without suffering. Fall has always signaled change in my life, and often that change has been painful. This year, change involved learning to let go. Just as falling leaves make way for new ones, letting go allows my heart to make room for  the love God has in mind. When I have trouble letting go, God does the pruning for me. He knows what needs to go, but He also knows that timing is important when it comes to trimming.

I have the tendency to foster unhealthy relationships and have trouble severing ties which are not good for me. No one understands the importance of pruning better than God. This definition of synaptic pruning applies beautifully to any area of growth, and I think God would agree that it captures the essence of the important process.

Synaptic pruning eliminates weaker synaptic contacts; stronger connections are strengthened. Experience determines which connections are pruned and the ones that have been activated most frequently are preserved. Ineffective or weak connections are “pruned” in much the same way a gardener would prune a tree or bush, creating the desired shape.” Source: klubpsychology.blogspot.com/…

God is the Creator, and I am His creation. The process of creating His desired shape for my heart takes a lifetime. That isn’t because God needs a lifetime; I do. He could make me perfect from birth, but then I would never experience the seasons of life and love that teach and transform my heart. Beauty comes from dying to self, and that is never more obvious than on a beautiful fall day.

Love goes through seasons, and each has its own beauty. The vibrant colors of fall become the clear etchings of winter, and the soft greens of spring melt into a lavish tropical display in summer. The heat of summer invites me to soak up the sun and play in the water; but fall  bids my heart to rest and grow.

I find hope in the fall, rest in the winter, awakening in the spring, and play in the summer. The seasons of my heart are very like the seasons of the year. I love the mountains of western North Carolina because we have four distinct seasons that bring beautiful growth to my world and my heart.

Fall 2007

Firing Squad

Standing with her back to the wall

Blindfolded and bound

Waiting for the inevitable.

The soldiers take aim and wait.

Truth comes with the call to fire.

Bullets forged from if’s, when’s, and but’s

Find their way to the center of her heart.

She cannot survive the assault.

Life pours out upon the ground.

Freedom’s found in its flow.

New life comes.

Love grows on.

Love Grows On

The Cost of Obedience

Disobeying God comes at great cost, but obeying Him takes all I have. The lesson this week has been just that. He lets me do some of what He wants and some of what I want for as long as I want, but He refuses to give me the peace that comes when I surrender all, trust Him, and do exactly as He asks. I try to bargain with God and do a wonderful job of convincing myself that what I want is the really the same thing He wants. It makes perfect sense in my mind; but my heart doesn’t buy it, and neither does God. I gave up bargaining and put my persuasive techniques away this week.

Change is never easy, and a dear friend reminded me it’s what living is all about. As much as I would love to freeze a beautiful moment, I know I would not even if I could. God could leave us in those precious times, but He knows they would not be precious if He did. He doesn’t make me love Him or obey Him because He knows that only when I surrender and obey on my own will I find the peace and purpose He so wants for me. I cannot truly obey until my selfish tears and childish tantrums subside, and I surrender all to Him. Sometimes, I obey because I do not have a choice. The result is misery for me and for those I serve.

Obedience means being in God’s presence and living not only a praying life, but also a joy filled one. Change is part of the journey, and getting outside my comfort zone is the only way I can remember to surrender. I can refuse to change and stay where I’m comfortable, or I can trudge along in misery. It’s my choice. God will not make me go where He bids, but His peace stays with Him when I walk off on my own. The cost of His peace is obeying Him, and the cost of obeying Him is dying to self and trusting Him completely.

My heart breaks as He calls me away from my comfort zone and into His will. Fear causes me to hesitate, but my love for Him enables me to get past those fears and let those tears clear away all that is in His way. I know God will bless me as never before as I trust and obey. As the beautiful hymn by John H. Sammis says, “there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus.” I want to be happy in Jesus and find the joy He has for me. Obedience is expensive, but it is well worth the cost. Disobedience is a little cheaper, but it never satisfies and always leaves me wanting more.