on turning 40 {my autumn}

Last October Phil and I saw Sara Groves in concert. Something she said that evening about having recently turned 40 has been swirling around this head of mine. She said if life was divided into seasons, then she was entering her autumn. If I translate this to: "my life may be half over," then I'm left in shock and wonder how I let this sneak up on me! But when I remind myself that autumn is, in fact, my very favorite season, I can enter into this new decade with a heart full of wonder and celebration.

Here are a few reasons I love autumn:

The leaves and their beautiful colors

A season focused on being thankful

Harvest as a reward for labor and toil

Anticipation of Christmas, which to me is the crown of the year

Feasts and family

Where we lived in Minnesota, there were mostly deciduous trees and shrubbery around us. During the summer, I felt like I was living right smack-dab in the middle of a giant green bush. Day after day seeing only green was a bit on the boring side, honestly. But then came October! In preparation for a typical long and cold Minnesota winter, everything around me seemed to wake-up, not die.  And that huge stretch of green trees and bushes outside my window was now showing off shades of bright orange, yellow and red.

Did you know that these colors are a tree's true colors? The green we see is only its food/energy that hide or mask its leaves' true colors. In its preparation for winter, we see a tree's true colors emerge.

Last October, autumn served as a beautiful backdrop for what God was going to do in my heart upon turning 40 in July. As I drove around town and soaked in these gorgeous colors, I thought about my 20's and 30's, and how 4 children later, I could say that my "summer years" had been very fruitful years. I have labored and toiled in raising my children--certainly I'm not through yet, but I am starting to reap a sweet harvest of seeing my children know and love Jesus. This is my season to look back and be thankful; thankful for the things God has done in my life; thankful for His faithfulness in rescuing me and my precious family in hard times.

There is beauty in every season! But I can look back and see that in my "green" time, I sought to match up and blend in with everyone else around me. I seriously didn't see it this way back then, but now I do. I compared my own mothering skills and even my children with others...it was like living right smack-dab in the middle of a giant green bush. :)

I see evidence daily that my youth is fading. I don't want to lament or grieve this; is it crazy to say that I want to celebrate this? These colors emerging from the green of summer remind me that change is good--even breath-taking! Imagine hiking in the fall and as you come 'round a bend, you see a bright, red maple. Do you gasp? Do you smile? Yes! And I am celebrating each color around every bend and turn in my life. It's all beauty. It's all evidence that Jesus was there during my spring and during my summer. I'm celebrating that His image has been stamped upon my heart and that His presence has filled all of my days and all of my nights. I pray that it is His beauty, His very image, that is emerging from me in this new season.


Bevy @ Treasured Up and Pondered said...

Happy Birthday - and I LOVE autumn, too! I didn't know that fact about the leaves (colored) are truly the trees real colors. Makes sense, just never thought of it before. :)

emyann said...

Beautiful writing. You've captured your feeling and transformation perfectly. I love you.

Tonya said...

Happy late Birthday! I have always enjoyed following your blog. Your posts are always so encouraging and uplifting. It was nice to get an update on you and your family.

Cheryl said...

well written and amazing word choices - love you -

Tonya said...

I hope you return to your blog. I miss your sweet posts, inspiring scriptures you post, and quotes. Sometimes If I am having a bad day I will read some of your older posts and I can always find something inspiring to turn my bad day around. I hope you are your family are doing well.
God Bless,