Sunday, September 30, 2007

Autumn Reflections

Brrrr! It's cold out there! I could actually see my breath when I went out to walk Tess this morning at quarter to 7. Until now it hasn't felt like fall. The leaves are gradually changing color, but it's stayed pretty much in the seventies and above so far.

This cool weather makes me want to pull on a comfy sweatshirt, light a pumpkin pie scented candle and get to makin' some homemade chicken soup. This time of year always reminds me of when I got engaged (September 28 was the actual date), and how much fun it was going to pick out the reception hall, flowers, photographer, etc. along with scanning items for our registry at Bed, Bath and Beyond.

It also reminds me of family. My step-dad sitting in his lounger cheering at the football games and my mom filling up the house with warm, inviting smells from whatever she was cooking. Playing in piles of freshly raked leaves with my sister, decorating pumpkins together, getting dressed up for Halloween and hounding the neighbors for candy. There's a reason they call it Awesome Autumn!

It's become almost my cure-all for when I miss Florida. I always thought it was so beautiful down there; the lush green grass year round, the clear blue-green ocean and how new everything was. But living here in the Cumberland Valley and seeing the landscape sometimes takes my breath away. The rolling hills and fields that stretch out for miles leading up to the mountain with the brilliant blue sky as its backdrop. It's almost like a painting.

I had a brief moment on Friday when I participated in my own pity party about having to leave FL but then I thought, "You know what? We're here for God's glory and He is already doing great things through us. It's not about me and what I had to give up". In all the places I've lived recently, there is good and bad. New Jersey was the state we grew up in, where we were no more than thirty minutes away from our parents and where I was a part of an amazing pro-life ministry, but it was too expensive to make a decent life. Florida was where we owned our first home and made many couplefriends, but there were no seasons and the church eventually took the form of something we could no longer be a part of. And PA has a thriving, vibrant ministry that we're excited about but it's been hard to put down roots and make friends. Sometimes I wish I could take all the good features and put them together so I'd have the perfect location.

Since that's obviously not going to happen, I have to accept that where we are at any given period is exactly where God wants us for reasons sometimes only He knows. He has allowed us to experience different places and we've gained invaluable memories and insight from each of them. I need to remember that this life is merely the dress rehearsal. Heaven is the only true perfect location.

I heard these lyrics by MercyMe on my way home from dropping Gregg off at King Street this morning: "Bring me joy, bring me peace, bring the chance to be free. Bring me anything that gives You glory. But I know there'll be times when this life brings me pain, but if that's what it takes to praise You, Jesus bring the rain". Is that my heart's response? Or do I just want a cushy, comfortable life where God has no say in where I go or what I do? It would have been easy and comfortable to stay in Florida, but it would have been wrong.

This world is not our home, as beautiful and wonderful as it is. We need to appreciate it, but not get so attached that we're not willing to leave someplace at any given moment if that's what God is calling us to do. Because He's moved us around so many times, I have a treasure chest full of memories, unique perspectives and people praying for me in three different states. Pretty cool. He never does anything for His glory at the expense of our good.

So for now I will relish being able to enjoy my favorite season again and take in all that Autumn has to offer. I'd forgotten how truly wonderful it is. Funny, now I'd take any day in the Northeast in fall over a hot sunny day in Florida!


Alicia said...

I've only been to Florida once (Miami) and I wasn't a huge fan. Too hot for my taste. I am a cold weather gal. I grew up right near where you are now....Lancaster [no, I am not Amish! :-) ] PA is where 23 years of my life were spent. Same house, same town, same trees, friends and seasons. From the road of my parents house, you can see the mountains, and the sky and all of the beauty and glory God has given to the land. There is a strong sense of community if you dig in and let yourself find it. The Amish are not as freaky as some think. They are traditional and I resepct that. They make some of the most beautiful furniture you will ever lay your eyes on. The wood work that they do is never done with machines, as they don't use electricity.
The more time you spend in that area, the more it will grow on you. It has it's downfall's like everywhere else, but it's risch in culture and history. It's definitely not hard to see God's work in the beauty of thatt area.

audreybreier said...

Reading Alici's comment makes me want to come visit you! It sounds like a gorgeous place! Nathan and I have never been to that area but we really want to go there! I wish it would be cool here! It still feels like summer outside!