I think our long wait for autumn may be over. I dug out my sweaters from storage and started wearing them. Many trees are in garbs of orange, red, and yellow. Still, others are completely green. Rebekah and I keep examining our young Silver Maple in the front yard. It is holding out as long as it can before it turns red.
This past week we’ve spotted a handful of leaves just beginning to turn. The red seems to travel up the stem then slowly encroach from the edges of the leaf. Catching a leaf in transition is one of my favorite things on our fall walks. I am currently pressing a couple because they are too beautiful to let turn crisp. Rebekah loves to pluck large green leaves that hang within her grasp. She studies them carefully then hands them to me to weave into her pony tail. Yesterday she looked like a regular wood nymph running around the front yard!
On our walks and drives I love spotting the trees and leaves just beginning their surrender to autumn and preparation for winter. Like a splash of silver on the head of a dignified middle-aged man, I keep spying touches of yellow, orange, and red at the tops of green trees. I would wager we are only a few days from the full glory of fall.
There is something so invigorating about autumn weather. Even on the tired, sick days that leave us feeling worthless, opening the windows or taking a walk in the cool breeze is truly the best medicine.
I simply accept each changing leaf, every refreshing breeze, and each scent of bonfires wafting across the evening air as a gift. Counting each blessing connects me to joy, even when so much threatens to break my spirit. And when I stop to count, joy, grace, and beauty overwhelm my soul.
Still, if there is one thing life has taught me, it is that some days we must hold space for pain. We can’t encourage away someone’s pain. In most cases we can’t do anything to fix the problem. Instead, we hold space for that pain, we embrace it, and we embrace them where they are.
In the same way, we can’t answer everyone’s questions, scatter their doubts–or our own for that matter–or make the hard choices for others. But we can hold space, hold hands, hold our hearts open, and hold our prayers before God.
Now, don’t fear. I am not in a dark place of pain personally. The past couple months have been challenging, but the type of challenge that holds great hope and promise. Lord willing, the end of this chapter will open up into something more beautiful than I could ever dream. This hope makes every hard moment worth it.
But I believe that we spend a lot of our time and energy in fear of pain, avoiding the hard questions, and pretending we have no doubts. What if we embraced them instead? What if we can lay down our numbing, running, and distracting to face those things that stir our souls and breach our hearts? What if we allowed God to bring abundance from our broken and our lacking?
My heart longs to do this. To turn and embrace God fully, even within my doubts and fears. But how do we do this? One of my favorite bloggers and authors is releasing a book on this very topic. Ann Voskamp is a poetic writer who speaks into the soul. I also find her work to be grounded not only in the deepest depths of raw human experience, but in the truth of God’s word. Her book One Thousand Gifts taught me so much about the powerful nature of observation and gratefulness. Through her words I learned how to cherish the beauty within the pain. And to accept each small gift as it is offered, rather than failing to recognize it.
I would love you to join me in reading Ann Voskamp’s new book The Broken Way: A Daring Path into the Abundant Life. (affiliate link) I already preordered my copy and started reading it. Voskamp speaks into a place in my heart that I desperately needed courage and healing.
Though I often fall far short, my goal with The Engaged Home is to live intentionally, abundantly in God’s grace within our homes and everywhere we go. And I would love to facilitate discussion about what Ann has to say about this in her book come this November. So, if you get your hands on The Broken Way, please join me on Facebook during November. I will be posting quotes and thoughts for discussion based on her book. I would love you to join in the journey and discussion with me!