by Rebecca Barton
Summer ended with shocking abruptness this year, hounded by back-to-school busyness and a flurry of ministry activities. I found myself scrambling to ensure the Fall calendar wasn't double-booked—my thoughts drifting and spiraling about like leaves dancing ground-ward.
Ah, Autumn! Season that splashes our landscape with vibrant hues of orange and gold and purple! Your morning temperatures tempt me to brave the last of summer's mosquitoes, greeting the sunrise from my front porch swing with a steaming mug full of pumpkin-spiced beverage. I've always loved Fall—eagerly anticipated bringing in the harvest, shivering in bleachers under Friday night football lights, and shuffling through piles of rustling leaves. Have you ever found it curious that trees shed their layers right when we have to wear more of them?
Have you ever found it curious that trees shed their layers right when we have to wear more of them?
Fall. Why do we call it that? I'm sure the nickname originated from falling leaves, but other things also fall during this season: ripening fruit, lowering temperatures, flagging spirits. Yes, for some, Autumn signals a decline into seasonal depression that accompanies diminishing daylight hours.
I've never been someone whose spirits were dampened this time of year. Instead, I almost always experienced the opposite—relishing in the colder, darker days by warming the kitchen with baking bread and simmering soup and curling up in front of the fire near my Honey to devour an excellent book.
I've never been that someone...but I am now. This past week marked the one-year anniversary of my dad's departure from this earth, and this year, my mood has darkened along with the days. I find myself reflecting upon my memories of the twilight of Dad's lifetime, when like a giant oak that stood tall for such a long season, he swayed and shuddered, shedding leaf upon leaf of a layered life, until all that remained were frail branches—stripped bare and stretched heavenward.
Unlike the oaks that grace our church campus, re-adorning the skyscape with lush green vegetation each Spring, my Dad's earthly frame has ceased to weather the seasons. I stroll now beneath the trees and marvel that they have stood the test of time...and I wish they could testify of all they have witnessed. My dad did. Testify, that is. His last will and testament wasn't best described as notarized words on paper but rather as a compelling urgency to share God's sustaining grace. As his flesh weakened, Dad spent his remaining strong-willed energy testifying to each of us of the goodness of God during his lifetime of faithful service.
Ecclesiastes 3 tells us that everything has a season and a God-ordained purpose, that He makes all things beautiful in His time, and that He has put eternity in our hearts. At this time, I am in a season of experiencing loss, and it is only timely that I embrace that season as a natural process our timeless Alpha and Omega God uses to create beauty within me. As surely as I stand in faith accepting that He ordains journeys through death and mourning, I can stand in hope believing that He orders steps into life and rejoicing.
Note: If you find that your “season of sorrow” is so severe it prevents you from living at a functionally normal level, please reach out to others who can walk with you on a journey back to healthy acceptance of all of the seasons you experience. There is wisdom in Godly counsel. Please contact us confidentially at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need help locating a Christian counselor.
Raised in a minister’s home, Rebecca was called into ministry at an early age. An Evangel University graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in English Education and a minor in Spanish, Rebecca has been a teacher, piano tutor, worship leader, office administrator, and bookkeeper. Rebecca currently serves with her husband, Scott, as lead pastors of Eldon First AG. They have been married 33 years--29 of those as pastors in Texas and Missouri. Besides being a pastor’s wife, Rebecca serves as the Publishing Team Leader for Refresh Ministry Women. Her interests include singing, playing keyboards, reading, genealogy, gardening, and crafting. However, her favorite activity is keeping up with her 3 adult kids, their spouses, and 3 active granddaughters.
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