It’s September. A season of change. A brief moment in time when leaves turn yellow, red, orange, and brown. Some leaves won’t survive the transition from summer to fall. Millions of them will blow away while others form soft mats for tumbling children as they play in the yard.
For many of us, change causes a great deal of anxiety. I hate it. I’d rather have a tooth pulled. I’m at my best when I know what to expect. I’m more secure when people and things remain in their proper place.
Whether I like it or not, changes tend to stretch me in areas where I need it most, making weak spots stronger, providing patience where I had none.
Weeks ago I decided to lose weight. You would think participation in over-exerted activity is the main cause of my reluctance to go to the gym. Although that’s part of it, in reality the idea of rearranging my schedule is what put me in a tailspin. But after overcoming daily bouts with my new routine, I leave the gym much happier due to an unbelievable satisfaction over my accomplishment.
I remember the anxieties I experienced before our first son left for college. From his sophomore to senior years of high school, I did everything to prepare for his departure. I’d sometimes drop him off to school then go home and sulk. Told myself a million times I’d be fine. After all, we had another son at home and I had plenty of time before I would experience an empty nest. As the years crept forward, I dug deeper to adapt to the upcoming change.
During our youngest son’s last year of high school, I’d cry half the day away. Sometimes I’d stand in the middle of a room and listen to the silence. Kept telling myself, “This is how it will be when he’s gone.”
Many of you are going through similar transitions. Perhaps you’ve walked your child to kindergarten and tearfully waved goodbye as you asked, “Where did time go?” There are those of you who have children with special needs who have progressed far beyond your expectations, transforming to a depth of independence that frightens you, leaving you to worry if you’re still needed.
Maybe you are like me ─ it’s your child’s last year of high school and you’re contemplating what you’ll do after they graduate and leave home. Some of you are saying your first goodbyes while dropping your child off for their freshmen year of college, doing your best to keep emotions under control.
Change is hard
Through all my difficulty of adjusting and readjusting to an empty nest, something finally occurred to me . . .
I hadn’t yet learned to appreciate the change of seasons. I spent too much time fighting it; tried too hard to ignore it.
Seasonal changes aren’t a well-kept secret. In the fall, leaves dangle from tree branches in an audacious display of spectacular hues, daring the world to ignore them. In winter, cold and frigid air blasts the earth to incubate new life until the gradual awakening of spring.
I’ve learned to look at my ever-changing seasons with enthusiastic anticipation. Though the patter of little feet left our home long ago, I’m constantly evolving amid the silence. My new task is to enjoy the evolution rather than fight against it. It’s freeing and refreshing to discover I can do almost anything I want, however I want, as many times as I want. I can waste my day or make each and every moment meaningful.
To all who are faced with a new season, please make every effort to find joy in your freedom. Allow it to lead you anywhere you want to go. See it as brilliant beams of light gleaming through an early dawn. There you are, standing at a distance, basking in God’s warmth and unfathomable love. Close your eyes. Smile. Take it all in. Don’t waste a moment of it. Let go of all the negativity which kept you anchored to boring and unchallenged routines.
Consider these verses:
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:19)
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17)
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your heart and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable ─ if anything is excellent or praiseworthy ─ think about such things.” (Philippians 4:6-8)
“God is holy. God is good and powerful. No matter what challenges you face, he will pull you through because, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise . . . .” (2 Peter 3:9)
See Jesus in your storms. See the glory of the Lord in every yellow and brown and red leaf. Enthusiastically anticipate changes in your season.
Donna B. Comeaux has been writing for the RUBY Magazine (http://rubyforwomen.com) since 2013. In 2014, Donna wrote devotionals for Hopeful Living, a publication designed to encourage senior citizens, and for Believer Life. Her website is located at: www.awriterfirst.wordpress.com. Not only will you find other inspirational stories on her website, you will also find tips for writers, devotionals, and a few of Donna’s political views as well. Donna and her husband, Glenn, have two grown sons and eight grandchildren. They reside in Oklahoma.