Today begins my favorite month of the year.
For me, this day marks the entrance into fall. It’s the slow opening of a majestic, wooden door into the most beautiful outdoor season of the year. And there I stand looking out as I drink in the alluring landscape of where orange meets blue. Chlorophyll that once flowed mightily through the veins of the maples, sweetgums, dogwoods and oaks becomes scarce. It dries up like a river with no rain. But the outcome, until the chill of winter sets in, is the beauty of those trees against a clear, blue sky.
And so the end of one thing prompts the beginning of another.
Admittedly, I often fail to see this quite so clearly in my own life.
During this particular time of year I enjoy attending fall festivals, where quilters, candle makers, glass blowers, blacksmiths and funnel cake connoisseurs (A critical element of festival life, in my humble opinion) come together to share their talents.
I admire their skills, silently wishing I could have excelled in one of those areas. It doesn’t take long before a frown sets in and I have to wonder “But am I using my talents?”
I try to listen and obey but sometimes I feel the wheels spinning and there’s no traction involved. It’s wasted effort as the rut grows deeper. The harder I try to push and force and make a difference, God says “be still.” And just like the chlorophyll that begins to break down, sometimes the river of words I feel so comfortable writing then slows to a stillness. I’m left with an empty well and an urgent thirst.
But what I don’t see in this experience is what comes from the drying up. The beauty when that flow becomes more of a drip. Instead I start trying to get to the bottom of where all that inspiration ran off to.
I shake that blaming finger at just about anything. Lack of time. My job. Stress. Mothering a little brood.
Sometimes the words won’t come and I feel like a writer whose muse takes to blowing raspberries as she rides out of town on a Harley; all my ideas haphazardly shoved into her leather saddlebags.
And then I smile to myself and return to center, remembering where those words really come from. The Holy Spirit begins to speak and I try desperately to silence the distractions so I can catch every word.
“My timing, not yours.”
I’ve heard this a lot over the last few months. And it’s not just in His voice, alone. Encouraging words come in the form of a conversation or a text message from someone who cares enough to relay what I needed to hear in an audible tone. And the essence is the same. He’s using my community…using my people to get through to my stubborn heart.
When I want to rush this thing I’m doing…this new thing of not being afraid, being public, asking God to use my talents and push me into the corners of the interwebs where He can be heard and I practically yell from hurried frustration, “I’m trying to obey! Why do I feel dry of what needs to be said? Isn’t this what You wanted me to do?”
And I take a breath and remember His voice.
The trees certainly don’t seem to mind the change. The slowing down of growth. They continue to wave their imposing limbs toward heaven in praise, perhaps just grateful for the dormancy that the cooler weather brings. The rest. The leisure. All in His timing.
“Don’t rush it, Jennifer,” I say to myself as I ask for His peace. “He has you where you are for a reason.”
So on the days He wants to put my fingers to the keys I type as quickly as I can. Tap, tap, tap so as not to miss a word as it surfaces for that brief moment.
But on the days where He tells me “no,” I listen. And then I reiterate that there’s no need to worry. No urgency involved because He has me somewhere else – with a purpose that I might not be able to see at the time. So I stop and enjoy the season. Maybe it’s just reclining on the deck while the kids run circles in the backyard as I continue to watch His glorious work of closing summer’s door and opening autumn’s.
I trust in Him. And I say again, “His timing, not mine.”
Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. (Ecclesiastes 3:11, NLT)
In honor of autumn and my favorite color I’m re-posting a color poem I wrote a few months ago. I shared this on Facebook but wanted to share it again here. This was inspired by a post from one of my favorite blogger/authors, Jennifer Dukes Lee.
is the sun stretching its arms above the trees on the east side of the lake
staring at the color-washed walls of my inviting kitchen as I sip my morning tea
the vibrant yolks of the farm fresh eggs lovingly delivered by a friend
the sound of lively jazz music as I stand barefoot on the hardwood, mixing up muffins
the sound of Coppertone being squirted into my hands at the beach
the delicate crunch of freshly fallen maple leaves under my boot covered feet
creamsicles in the sun
citrus oolong on the back porch
butternut squash soup on a chilly fall day
my tangerine silk scarf, worn only on special occasions
the nail polish applicator as I brush “It’s a bird it’s a plane” on my toes
the sway of the boat dock as I soak up that wonderful Vitamin D
Orange welcomes you to a new day. Gives life. Brings energy. Wakes up the soul…
Today I’m linking up with the following authors to share my story: