the view from the branches

A cold front seemed to come out of nowhere this weekend.

It was like a car in front of me stopping suddenly, causing me to brake and brace for the jolt that comes with sudden change in motion. Yet instead of grasping for potentially airborne coffee mugs and cell phones, I found myself piled with scarves and blankets and flannel, staring out the living room window as if eyeing an opponent before battle.

As one who thrives in fall but despises winter, I need to be slowly coaxed into coats. Easing me into it is the best way to keep me happy, just like I prefer to start submerging toes in the shallow end of a cold pool before I am ready to go all the way under. The weather will be getting warmer again (thank goodness for Arkansas’ southern ways), but this taste of winter was enough to push me into hiding.

And it wasn’t just me who experienced the shock of quick change. Pretty leaves once fanning out and showing off colors shriveled up on branches as if in fetal position, begging to be shielded from the wind. I watched Saturday morning as flurries of leaves fell to the ground, giving up the fight to cling to trees.

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Over the past few years, this dramatic seasonal change from September to December seemed to mirror my life during those months — from starting to date Eric to getting married to job changes for us both, this time of year in the past has involved a lot of transition. The past six or seven months, though, we have been experiencing something new: rest. By no means is life perfect, and by no means are we always content with this rest, but it’s an answer to a prayer that we have been praying for awhile. Our marriage is in a good place. Eric’s job is stressful, but he has figured out how to cope (most of the time). I feel like I am finding my role in ministry with Cru. Even our mischievous border collie has been content with cuddling on the couch or chewing an antler (rawhide is bad, people!) instead of chasing deer in the woods across the street.

However, I enjoy change and trying new things (albeit slowly, like the getting into a swimming pool situation), and I easily get restless if I am in the same place too long. I would be a leaf that fell off a tree not because I lost strength to hold on, but because I wanted to see what it was like on the ground. I have found myself several times over the past couple of months wondering what type of big change we could make to add some excitement to our lives, and from that grows a discontentment with a clear answer to our prayers.

In the midst of busy seasons, or hard seasons, or seasons of change, we desire something consistent, something secure. But when that constancy is present, we – or at least I – grow bored. I am constantly warring with that discontent, and there is always something new that I am longing for.

I am making a decision, though, to embrace the rest. To not let my guard down when it comes to the flirtations of wanting more of this or something other than now. To rejoice in God’s grace during this season, yet to not grow independent and distant from still needing Him.

When it’s time to let go of the branch and experience the fall to the ground – which happens to us all – I will trust the Lord in a new way. That fall means death is near — the kind of death that causes leaves to crunch under feet and crumble to dirt so that new green life can come in time.  But my time now is to rest in the current life and not grow weary of the view from the branches. Because it really is a fantastic view.

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