Tuesday, November 22, 2011

the turning of the seasons...it is well

I have loved watching the leaves change this year. This is the tree just outside our back window.

I believe the turning of the seasons has meant more to me this year, because its poignant symbolism means more when you have experienced much loss. It is a sign of the fragility of life... the hope in death... the knowledge that what is old is once again made new... the overwhelming sense of God's love as demonstrated by His beautiful creation surrounding me.

I glanced at my calendar this week and noticed my Grandpa's birthday was highlighted on tomorrow, the 23rd. And then I saw that Dave's precious grandmother, Grandma Ruth, who we lost in September, would have had a birthday next week. And I thought of my Bigma who we lost in January 2011. And my heart ached. I miss them so much. I want them to be here for Thanksgiving. I want to give them a hug, and hold their precious hands, and feel their faith and strength.

But the seasons of life have turned.

A poem that was framed on Grandma Ruth's dresser reads:
Nothing ever dies that is not born anew-
The miracles of nature
All tell us this is true
The flowers sleeping peacefully
Beneath the winters snow
Awaken to the sunshine's warmth
When spring winds start to blow,
And all around on every side
New life and joy appear
To tell us nothing ever dies
And we should have no fear,
for death is just a detour
Along life's wending way
That leads God's chosen children
To a bright and glorious day.

As I was driving home from work tonight and listening to the song, "It is Well," the tears were flowing as I prayed.
  1. When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
    When sorrows like sea billows roll;
    Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
    It is well, it is well, with my soul.
    • Refrain:
      It is well, with my soul,
      It is well, it is well, with my soul.
  2. Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
    Let this blest assurance control,
    That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
    And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
  3. My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
    My sin, not in part but the whole,
    Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
    Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
  4. For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
    If Jordan above me shall roll,
    No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
    Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
  5. But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
    The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
    Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
    Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!
  6. And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
    The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
    The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
    Even so, it is well with my soul.
Even so....even amidst the death that I see at work, and the loss that I have experienced personally this year, and the loss and sadness and struggle that my precious friends are experiencing right now...Even so, it is well with my soul. The love of Christ in us is palpable. May God fill me with His spirit and the radiance and essence of his love.

The lyrics of "Love is Here" by Brandon Heath are especially meaningful to me.

"Love is not proud
Love does not boast
Love after all
Matters the most

Love does not run
Love does not hide
Love does not keep
Locked inside

Love is the river that flows through
Love never fails you

Love will sustain
Love will provide
Love will not cease
At the end of time

Love will protect
Love always hopes
Love still believes
When you don't
Love is the arms that are holding you
Love never fails you

When my heart won't make a sound
When I can't turn back around
When the sky is falling down
Nothing is greater than this
Greater than this

Love is right here
Love is alive
Love is the way
The truth the life

Love is the river than flows through
Love is the arms that are holding you
Love is the place you will fly to
Love never fails you"

I want this love--God's love, to fill me up every day and flow out of me. I have been tired lately and feeling frayed. I am on my knees in need of God's love and His power to provide strength and grace for the tasks of everyday life.

May we be refreshed by the falling of the leaves, the turning of the seasons and the knowledge and hope of God's love. May the memories of our loved ones lost bring us peace this Thanksgiving, as we give thanks for their beautiful lives and give thanks to Our God, who makes all things beautiful in His time.

Happy Thanksgiving, and much love to you!