The Hope of Autumn

As the mornings come later and later and evenings darken before dinner is served, the landscape around and within Arundelle Green has enjoyed a refresh. From pumpkins grown just outside our back door to treasured keepsakes brought down from the attic and mixed with new finds, our home is ablaze with all things Autumn…

The trees are turning later than usual due to the long and warm days that stubbornly held on despite the calendar’s reminder that Fall has, indeed, begun.

Usually I’m chomping at the bit, anxious for that first frost and glimpse of my breath on the wind. In the past, I rejoiced as winter settled in and all that is cozy and crock-pot occupied my days. But this year, I’m not in a rush. In fact, I’m trying to savor every day, every new tree glowing orange or red, backlit by the sun. Time feels like someone put their foot on the accelerator and just keeps pressing down, speeding things up, causing the scenery to blur. I feel my age, not so much physically but in how the world feels foreign. Aliens and strangers, the Bible tells me. We are all aliens and strangers.

As I live out the last year of my forties, I have never felt that more acutely.

Mid-life has a way of making you appreciate the long, lazy days of youth and even regret them a little. (Ok, maybe a lot.) There are so many things I know now that would have changed how I spent my time when I was young– Places I would have gone, opportunities to read and learn and know the Bible by heart that were ignored, people I would have loved better, habits I would have formed. But regret is a crippler of courage, and courage is what I need as I look ahead past Autumn, past this year, this decade, this season of life that once felt endless and immortal. I need courage to trust the Author and Perfector of not only my faith, but the faith of my now-grown children as they find their way. It will require courage to rest in the fact that good changes are coming and I can enjoy them without waiting for the other shoe to drop. Courage breeds hope, and hope has become the closing of my letters, the reminder of where my focus must lie when I sign my name.

With hope,” I write just above my scrawl…

and I mean it.

As the Autumn leaves decorate the farm with glorious color, my soul is lit with hope. As Winter approaches and threats to the land and animals become the focus of my morning chores, I barricade my heart with Truth even as I nail up more boards to break the frigid wind that will come before it has a chance to harm my critters. Every day, without daring to miss even one, I am feasting on the Word of God even as I fatten up my goats with extra flakes of hay.

God reveals Himself in the most mundane of moments, in the beauty of a dying Hydrangea and the purring of a mama cat while she nurses her babies. All around are reminders that He is here and He is good and I thank Him. Oh, how I thank Him for this little slice of Heaven that is healing my heart and restoring my soul. Just yesterday a friend commented on how she is so happy that we moved out here, that it seems perfect for us.

Yes, indeed it is. Not that it is perfect, but that it is perfectly imperfect. Rustic in places, yet beautiful and pristine in ways no man could have designed. Unpredictable yet full of rhythm and rhyme that pulses with the turning of the seasons.

It’s perfect for us because in the quiet He speaks to me. Through the flowers and trees, the last of the harvest and thick winter coats on the goats He reminds me of who I am, of how fiercely, perfectly, and attentively He loves me.

“Even the Sparrow…” (Luke 24:6-7)

What is the value of your soul to God? Could your worth be defined by any amount of money? God doesn’t abandon or forget even the small sparrow he has made. How then could he forget or abandon you? What about the seemingly minor issues of your life? Do they matter to God? Of course they do! So you never need to worry, for you are more valuable to God than anything else in this world.

The Passion Translation

Yes, even the sparrow is valued by God…how much more so am I.

How much more so are we all.

With Hope,

Jeanine

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