The Return of Autumnal Grace: A Season of Home

Come, thou Fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing thy grace; streams of mercy never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise. – Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing, Robert Robinson

Last autumn I felt like everything was slowing down. It was as if for a brief moment time was standing still and I was caught up in the autumnal beauty of it all. Life felt hard, but standing beneath the towering trees with their aged wisdom and their twirling crowns of golden leaves swirling to the ground felt like peace.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under Heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1

I feel God the strongest in these autumn months, and each year as September comes to a close I hear the refrain of Come Thou Fount reverberating in my head. Thanksgiving is coming, and the golden hue of the changing physical world around me reminds me of that.

October brings with it pumpkins, and cider, and cooler weather, and memories. I think it’s true that if you search the dorm rooms and the apartments and the houses of my sisters and me you will find warmth and a reflection of what our Mama used to create for us every fall, a safe home even when the world outside was crumbling.


And so when my kitchen suddenly begins to turn out pies and pumpkin seasoned everything, and the flannel sheets make their way to our beds, and the candles that smell like cinnamon and leaves begin to appear on our tables…it’s not so much a reflection of our consumerism as it is a reflection of what we know…a reflection of when we most felt at home.

When I stand beneath the towering trees of autumn, with their limbs spread out as strong arms carrying gifts of red and gold, I feel like I do in my Mama’s kitchen, at home. Except the home that I feel beneath those trees is something more spiritual. It’s where I can hear God’s voice again and it’s where all the hymns of Thanksgiving from my youth begin to pour from my heart.


For most, I think maybe January or maybe the spring season brings that feeling of starting over, but for me it always begins again in October. I grew up in a liturgical church and I often wonder if I feel this way because it is when the church calendar really begins to start up after the long break of summer. Our hearts are beginning to prepare for the season of Reformation, and then Thanksgiving, and then Advent. These are the seasons which breathe life into my bones, and when I think it feels most like Heaven will to me, my Spiritual Home.

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 Corinthians 5: 1

I tell you this today because for me October means the chance to refocus myself on the presence of God, to be renewed in thankfulness, and to be reminded of His deep Grace for us and His overwhelming desire to be with us.

Every hard thing in our life is like a season, some lasting longer than others. Each of these seasons bring change, but each one also carries its own unique kind of beauty. By the end of this autumn you can be sure that I will feel anxious for those first flakes of snow to fall, to move on from what I thought I wanted to dwell in forever.

Oh to Grace, how great a debtor, daily I’m constrained to be! Let thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to thee. Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love; here’s my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above. – Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing, Robert Robinson

Soak in what you can, what beauty and grace and what remnants of home each season in life offers. They will only last a little while, and if we’re not careful to slow down and see the moments of Grace we might miss them.

 

 

 

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A Grace Note: Blessings and Grace 


Dear Reader, 

God gives us seasons of work and seasons of Rest, and both it seems, are good for our souls. I have this desire to be back at the cabin already so I can soak up some more of that Northern Wisconsin summer sun, and yet at the same time my heart is filled with the desire to get back to the work of everyday life so that we can be a tiny bit closer to bringing our baby home. His Rest is meant to carry us through the times that it would seem we don’t have time to soak in Rest of our own, and so I plan on carrying the blessings of the slow paced life of last week into the whirlwind that is sure to be this week ahead. “Praise Him from whom all blessings flow”. My husband and I speak often about holding more reverence for what is actually a blessing from God. Sometimes I label things such as vacation, or our home, or time off as blessings…but the truth is that God doesn’t just provide when the living is easy. The height of His goodness is evident when the living is hard. When we think everything is broken, or messed up, or destroyed…that is when God shows up with the blessing of His presence. And so I want to shift my language, I want to shift my thoughts about what is Good and what is hard, what is blessing and what is simply easy. Maybe when things get tough, that’s when we’re meant to speak about the blessings of God, because it is truly then that all the glory really does go to Him. An easy life doesn’t necessarily mean a blessed life, and a hard life does not mean the absence of blessing. I am striving to understand this better and to see more clearly the heart of our Father. For He is Good and all of His ways are Love. Blessings on your Sabbath Day, friends. May you feel the real Goodness of God today whether the road you walk or the life you live is hard or easy going. “For the Lord your God goes with you wherever you go.” 

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer 

The Language of Thanksgiving: Day Nine

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:15

Our church is going through Colossians. Today during the sermon my eyes wandered ahead to this passage: “Let the Peace of Christ rule in your heart” I don’t think those are words we place together very often, “let peace rule”. 

I find myself fighting to rule my circumstances each day. I catch myself fighting for peace, struggling to let go of conflict and stress, and gripping hard my dreams and realities. But scripture tells us to let Peace rule…we don’t rule Christ’s peace. We don’t get to tell it what to do or when to show up or mold it to how we think it should fit in our lives. 

Did you know our hearts and souls were fought over? Did you know the kingdom of chaos and darkness and stress wanted you too? But our God, the God of light and peace and mercy stepped right down and broke our chains…because He wanted us more. And each day of our lives here on earth we stand at a crossroad of peace and chaos, of light and darkness. 

Freedom in Christ means that Peace gets control of our hearts. Isn’t that beautiful? And scripture pleads with us to let that Peace rule in our lives! Christ didn’t wage war against the enemy so that we would still be bound to its vices. He won the battle so you would be caught up in His love.

 Peace it would seem is a choice. It’s free in Christ. Will you take it? Will you let it rule? Will you speak of it? Will you let your heart be saturated with it?

 In our language of thankfulness to God there must be this underlying foundation…Christ’s Peace. When we take hold of this gift we’ve been given, Christ can unlock all our doors, open all of our closed minds, and release our hearts from the bondage that once held them. Christ is your Victor, His Peace is our prize. How will this change your language today? How will this change your life? 

The Language of Thanksgiving: Day 3 

“Remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it holy” Exodus 20:8 

I met a little girl this week who is afraid of loud noises. And my heart skipped a beat because, aren’t we all? Aren’t we all afraid of the loud noises in this world, the ones that say we aren’t good enough or the ones that make us feel small and fragile?

 I was thinking today about how Jesus went to quiet places after being surrounded by the loud voices and the masses and the people reaching out to Him. He rested and He went to a place where the voices of the world were quiet enough that He could hear God.

“After He had dismissed them, He went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray.” Matthew 14:23

 I’m thankful today for our God who has always called us to rest, who has set that within His law and also His gospel, that we would be still and know Him, that we would just be with Him on the Sabbath for awhile. 

The loud language of this earth is that we work, and that we run, and that we climb ladders, and we dream bigger. But God is big enough for the both of us. Exhaustion is not what He has for us, but rather peace. Peace doesn’t mean an easy life. It doesn’t mean lazy. It simply means that we have found the balance between being in this world but being found in God. 

Quiet places often lead to the most powerful forms of Grace. If your life is loud today, take just a moment of stillness with Him. Listen to that worship song. Sit awhile with His word. Look out over His creation. Know that He loves you. I’m thankful that our ever powerful God has shown us beauty in the quiet and still places. That He revives us after we’ve come through the storm. That He leads us beside quiet waters and that He restores our souls. 

“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10 

Today let your language be that of rest, of peace, of Thanksgiving. Let the loud world fade to quiet for a moment. Let God’s voice in. 

A Sunday Grace Reflection: To the Top of the Tower

Holy Hill located in Wisconsin


Sometimes church steeples poke their heads out high above tall trees full of golden yellows and rich reds, almost as if to say “you’re not looking high enough, look higher still”. God’s ways are above our ways, and His light and His love shine down on us from even the highest heights. No depth can keep you from Him, you always only need look up…above the tree tops, above the steeples, above the clouds. Keep looking up to the God whose face shines brightly down back at you, and I think you will find that He can make you rise from ashes, He can make you rise from the lowest points of life.

 

Holy Hill located in Wisconsin

So yesterday we climbed to the top of the tower to maybe see if we could see the world as God sees it, and do you want to know what we found when we got to the top? That God was higher still. And while we couldn’t reach His height we found that He wasn’t out of reach. Because our God who is higher, loved us enough to come lower, and to live where we live and to breathe what we breathe and to suffer what we suffer and to carry our cross. Way up high is a kingdom we haven’t seen yet, and yet there is a God we have felt and who has felt our hearts. It doesn’t matter how high we climb, it matters how high we look. If we are always looking up to the one who is higher, it is in Him we will rise, and in this rising we will live.