Fall is my favorite season. It always has been.
It’s not just the beautiful brilliance of the changing scenery around me that draws me in, it's the feeling that fall stirs up inside of me that I love the most. For years I’ve tried to name that feeling, but I’ve failed to come up with the right word…the best I can do is to describe it.
It’s an excitement, an anticipation, a renewal, a hopefulness, a refreshing spirit that overcomes me in a settling, peaceful kind of way. It’s this mixture of anticipation and settlement that defies my vocabulary. What word describes both excitement and calm at the exact same time?
I think for many of us, fall is our favorite season. Change is in the air and we are able to sit back and quietly experience it taking place. We marvel the changing leaves, and even though they change every year, somehow the process never loses its magic.
We feel the days getting shorter and air becoming crisper. We know winter lies ahead and we try to hold on to the last of life that remains around us. Fall is winter’s nesting period. It’s like a gathering feeling inside of us…taking it all in before the earth lies dormant under a blanket of frost and snow.
I think we're able to enjoy the changes of fall because we count on them. They aren’t unexpected but anticipated and we know what lies ahead. If only all changes in life were the same. If only we could plan for them and enjoy them, but as we all know, much of the change we experience in life is unexpected.
Anything that stays still too long becomes stagnant. I love summer, but the reason fall stirs my soul is because it's a change from the season I’ve been experiencing. God requires our souls to be stirred in order to help us experience new things and grow.
Unfortunately for us, change is not always in our control. When God calls us to new seasons, we are often reluctant to follow Him. It’s hard to go willingly when we can’t see what lies ahead. It’s hard to trust in those scripture verses we have hanging on our walls when God makes them personal by stirring up our circumstances.
Sometimes I sit and think about what it must have been like to be Mary. Mary was a young girl, newly married, with her whole life ahead of her. I think many of us can relate to the excitement and anticipation she must have felt—that feeling where all you can see are the possibilities of the future—all of them bright and shiny.
It’s the lure of hopefulness from innocence not yet lost. It’s an emotional high…a weightlessness…before gravity sets in. I imagine how she must have felt, discovering she was with child, knowing she had yet to consecrate her marriage.
The fear… the confusion…the heaviness of an unplanned child and the unfathomable circumstances that she faced. In that moment, facing Joseph, not knowing what was happening or what lie ahead… how defeated she must have felt.
Most of us might relate to that as well—that feeling of despair when unexpected change wipes our hopefulness away like a tidal wave without a moment’s notice. All at once, we can become crushed.
But Mary and Joseph could not have known what greatness was to come to such an ordinary couple who found themselves in such extraordinary circumstances.
Yes, we can look back now on the very same circumstances described above and exclaim them as “extraordinary” and “miraculous!” Why? Because we know the end of the story. We know what lied ahead for Mary and Joseph and all God’s children thanks to the birth of the unplanned baby, Jesus Christ.
But we cannot forget that Mary and Joseph had to live out their faith first. They had to believe in the message from the angel. They had to trust in God and lean on each other during what must have been a very difficult time for them. They surely had to withstand the judgement of others and undoubtedly had moments of trembling and wavering like any young couple would, because they were human, just like us.
Can you imagine their conversations with one another late at night as the baby grew inside of her and they looked down together, rehashing what the angel had said? They knew what they had heard but still wondered how it could be.
I am certain they had moments where they broke down praying for strength, asking for help, begging for understanding from those around them. God had pushed them out of their comfort zone, knowing if they remained faithful to Him, He would follow-through on all His promises and good would come.
And we are no different than Mary and Joseph as we face unexpected changes in our lives…many of which seem unfathomable at first sight. When we're faced with the diagnosis, the loss of a job, the death of a loved one, a divorce, a world-wide pandemic….any time the future we saw gets smeared or rerouted and we lose hope because we no longer have the clear vision of what’s ahead, remember it’s all an optical illusion anyway.
While we may be able to depend on winter showing up and enjoy the changes that come with fall, only God really knows what lies ahead for us.
We can be shattered by the fear of the unknown or we can take a lesson from Mary and Joseph and we can trust and remain faithful. While they may have had moments of uncertainty and fear, they chose to trust in God’s words and remain faithful to His plan. Now we look back on their story and see God’s greatness and gift to the world.
God continues to mesmerize us with the beauty of the changing seasons. We have learned to count on his faithfulness as summer turns to fall and fall turns to winter. Like Mary and Joseph, we need to learn that we can count on His faithfulness through all the seasons of our lives, knowing He is the author of our stories and the scripture verses we hang on our walls can be trusted through all the changes we face in our lives.
May we believe in the miraculous process of change and trust in His love always.
Sara L. Gleason is a mom to two amazing kiddos, Max and Hope, the lights of her life. She is a 5th grade ELA and Social Studies teacher in Conneaut, Ohio. Sara writes on her Facebook page MAXIMum HOPE.
She found her faith later in life through some of life's toughest circumstances, but is forever grateful for God's goodness, protection, and love. She received her Master’s degree from Liberty University and specialized in Christian writing.
Her greatest hope is that by sharing her stories, insight, and God's wisdom, she will somehow make a difference in people's lives through God's grace.
This space is reserved for Founder Mandy's perspectives and viewpoints of Scripture. Man is fallible, but God is not. It's strongly encouraged that you study the Scripture for yourself and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you in your understanding.
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