Color-changing leaves on trees in autumn are my love language. Gray, blustery days and the sound of leaves scraping the sidewalk—mixed with the scent of bonfires and pumpkin—make my heart the happiest. Almost every year, my husband and I take a road trip. The destination is never the point. The point is that we take scenic highways to get there so that we can enjoy the changing colors of the trees. For this reason, fall is my favorite time of year.
The change of seasons from summer to fall is one that I look forward to with great anticipation. There’s just something about that first cool autumn breeze that promises relief from summer’s baking heat that fills my heart with joy. I don’t know if anyone else feels this way, but sometimes, you just need a season to come to an end. Other times, I wish certain seasons would stick around awhile longer.
Seasons change whether or not we’re ready. But, I’m comforted by the words in Ecclesiastes 3: “There is an appointed time for everything. And, there is a time for every event under heaven.” The author gives examples: a time to plant and to uproot, to kill and to heal, to weep and to laugh, to search and to give up searching, and to tear apart and sew together, among other things.
It’s easy to feel like the season we’re in is permanent. I’m especially good at convincing myself that where I am is where I’ll always be, whether spiritually, emotionally, financially, or relationally. When I convince myself that nothing will ever change, it’s easy to panic or become depressed. But, King Solomon and the facts of nature speak to a different experience. All I have to do is look out my office window at the trees changing color; in a few weeks, they’ll be completely empty of leaves, signaling winter. A few months after that, they’ll sprout buds to welcome spring. Change is coming—I can depend on it.
So, maybe it’s time to let go of something—a friendship that just can’t be salvaged or a dream that isn’t meant to be right now. God may be asking us to open our hands and let go of something so that He can fill them with something else. I have to trust that He can see what I can’t and that He has a plan for my life that is good. I will cling to His promises (and to the beauty that is autumn, so that when a season ends, I’m ready for what’s ahead because I trust the One who created the seasons.
Corley Shumaker is the Assistant Campus Minister of the Baptist Collegiate Ministry at Arkansas State University. She has an MDiv. degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Corley is married to Kevin and you’ll find them cheering on Red Wolves football each fall. You can reach her on Twitter at @corleycline