There is nothing more spectacular than a sunset in September. Colors become more brilliant as the air begins to cool. Every season has its own beauty, but fall is a time when I see God most clearly. I know many hate to see the summer fade, but my heart dances with joy when sweet September makes her glorious entrance 💕
The sunsets of late have been spectacular as September makes her exit in style. Her departure comes as God bids me to end my old testament. It’s human nature to want to stay in the familiar, albeit painful, past; but staying there keeps me from writing my new story.
The lesson this week has been for me to put away the old songs and stories that no longer apply to my heart. I’ve been mired in the muddy mess of my childhood for over five decades, and God is ready for me to move on. He brought cleansing tears that opened my eyes and cleared my heart last night. I saw myself in the role a victim and began sinking into that muddy water that almost drowned me as a child.
My old story is my old story. It explains and enlightens, but it isn’t who I am anymore. Satan continues to dredge up past hurt, and I continue to find those in my path who will repeat old patterns. God made it clear that the difference between my old and new story is the fact that I had no choice as a child. I do have a choice now. I must make the conscious decision to learn from and leave my past behind me.
September has always been an important month in my life. School started in September, and I loved going to school. The summer before my first September in school, I almost drowned in the muddy water in Lake Hickory, and I’ve been struggling to get out ever since. My journey almost ended that summer, but school offered an escape. I still remember the thrill of walking home from school with my sister Linda my first week of school. I was only five and small for my age, so my teachers made quite a fuss over me. My sister and I had matching red plaid kilts, and I still remember how much I loved wearing mine. I was a big girl, and I was going to school! I also remember wearing the kilt my sister wore six years later in seventh grade. I’m still wearing a kilt woven five decades ago, and it’s even more inappropriate than the hand-me-down one I wore in seventh grade. I’m ready for a change!
Kilt or no kilt, that same feeling of excitement accompanied me to school every fall for fifty years. A big part of my decision to go into teaching was my love for school and for fall. I got a new beginning every year, and I could escape the outside world within the walls of my safe haven. School was always place of escape for me, and September has been a time of endings and beginnings. It’s fitting for God to use this month as a backdrop for the change He has in mind for my heart.
Fall is a time of dying, and death accompanies both endings and beginnings. The victim in me died last night, and I know God will use her death as an important transition to His transformation. It’s time for a new story, one that is rooted in the past but routed in Christ’s precious love.
How Did I Miss That?
I’ve been spending a lot of time looking at sunsets lately, and I wondered this evening just how many I must have missed in my life. Will God tell me when I meet Him? While I do wonder, I don’t want to know because I don’t want to mourn for what I lost and miss precious time with Him. I’ve done too much of that already. Sunsets are a special time with God that definitely put peace in my path. I have taken to taking pictures of His handiwork, but photos and words cannot capture what unfolds as God paints the western horizon each night.
Mourning for what I’ve missed has been a theme in my life, and I’ve found myself caught up in such worry this week. God clearly would prefer that I enjoy the present moment. That sounds simple, and it is; the problem comes when I park in the past or pine in the future. I’m learning a lot watching my sweet little granddaughters. Children love the present, but adults are always rushing here and going there. Kids learn to do the same and soon become numb to the wonders of the present moment too. It is a sweet blessing to find that as I get older, I am learning to wonder once again. I’m not referring to the wonder where I put my keys or the wonder what I came in here for but rather the wonder how God did that and the wonder why I never noticed that before.
This post begins a new series called “Peace in the Path.” I figured since I procrastinated for so long and missed so many opportunities to find the peace and love God placed in my path, that the first post should be titled “How Did I Miss That!” I have missed so very much in the last sixty years, but I pray that I will not miss nearly as much in the next sixty! Since sunsets have made me not want to miss anymore of God’s glory, it’s fitting to begin with them.
The photo up top is from last week, and the one below is the one I saw this evening. I pray I never have to ask God, “How did I miss that?” That applies to everything in my path, not just sunsets.
Rain + Sunshine = A Beautiful Sunset
As I watched the sunset last night, I was taken aback by the changes occurring right before my eyes. I took several photos but they were not even a glimpse of the glory unfolding as I watched with a wonder that allowed me to see God’s love in the moment. His love is always present, but sometimes, it unfolds like a sunset after a rainy day. His love is never the same, never what I expect, but always just what I need. The tragic death of an eleven-year-old girl in our community reminded me this morning that lives, like sunsets, are subject to change at any given moment.
Like a sunset, clouds create a more profound beauty than a clear horizon. The sun interacts with the moisture in the clouds just as God’s love interacts with the tears of His beloved children. Without the tears, life would be a series of sunrises and sunsets that all looked alike. I thank God for the clouds and the tears because they create a delicate beauty that can never be replicated or captured. Suffering creates a beauty in a wounded heart that cannot be described, only shared with another wounded heart. There are never words to adequately describe the pain of suffering or the joy of healing, but Psalm 30:5 gives the reassurance I need when clouds come into my life. “Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning.” NASB The old saying about a red sky at night being a sailor’s delight also applies to my heart. When the storm clouds leave, the evening sky comes to life. God clears away the heaviness and brings a deeper joy than I can imagine to my heart if I wait upon Him. Just as I could not capture the beauty of the sunset last night, I cannot describe the joy that comes when my broken heart finds healing.
Life can change for the good or in a tragic way at any given moment, and that makes me look at life in a new light. The glass doors and windows of my bedroom open out to a western horizon that takes my breath away with sunsets that set the sky on fire. Yesterday, as I was driving home, I noticed a house that had closed blinds on all the windows. I wondered how anyone could live shut up in such a house, and then I remembered that I shut my heart off the very same way for much of my life. My curtains and my heart are open now, but the breathtaking views from my room go unnoticed when I’m too busy to stop, and love slips away if I don’t have time to connect as God desires. Hearts and windows must to be open to the sunshine and the rain if I want to see sunsets that come when the two come together. It is truly a glimpse of what is yet to come.