Greetings, dear reader! I hope your November is off to a sweetly sublime and awesomely autumnal start! This is my favorite month in part, perhaps, because my birthday is the 16th, but also because the onset of fall, just now blowing into East Texas, brings with its splendor my two favorite holidays and the unbottleable (thank you, Microsoft, I know that’s not a word!) smell of pumpkin patches, chimney smoke, cinnamon, and crisp fallen leaves blending perfectly within a cosmos of ’tis-the-season congeniality (And if these fragrances are mere figments of my imagination, I care not! 😉 .)
In a powerful ode to autumn, one of my favorite poets, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, beautifully conveys a seemingly inevitable shift that is inextricably linked to the cooler months, from the verdant visions and buoyant breaths of summer, to the gentle hues and subdued sighs of fall…
Go, sit upon the lofty hill,
And turn your eyes around,
Where waving woods and waters wild
Do hymn an autumn sound.
The summer sun is faint on them —
The summer flowers depart —
Sit still — as all transform’d to stone,
Except your musing heart.
(excerpt from “The Autumn”)
For whatever reason, fall is a particularly nostalgic time of year for me. I don’t mean that in a severely introspective way, nor do I wish to wax philosophical; I simply mean that I find myself reflecting on the past year while simultaneously praying and planning for the future. And with a wedding around the corner, I suppose prayer and preparation are advantageous activities in which to partake ;-).
In the third chapter of Ecclesiastes, it’s written that there is a time for everything, including a time to tear down and a time to build. In keeping with King Solomon’s “construction” metaphor, I look forward to what the “only wise” King is building for the coming year as my fiancé’s life and mine intertwine until the Lord says, “When” (Romans 16:27).
As for the “tear down” part, just as a deciduous Magnolia must shed its leaves to conserve energy for cold and sunless days, I believe it’s essential that we, at times, take inventory of our lives and eliminate the heavy branches that weigh us down, the unneeded leaves that sap our energy.
This fall, “tearing down” means “looking up” for me as I seek God’s wisdom regarding marriage and ponder just how my life will change, simply and yet profoundly from my life, to our life. The leaves I personally feel led to shed are those of “Self” and “Comfort.” I could expound for hours, examining every vein of those two over-sized leaves, but by the time I’d finish, the 4th of July would be in full swing!
My fiancé Ben and I are reading a wonderful book called Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. One paragraph especially pops out at me in keeping with the theme of “tearing down:”
“Any situation that calls me to confront my selfishness has enormous spiritual value … the real purpose of marriage may not be happiness as much as it is holiness. Not that God has anything against happiness, or that happiness and holiness are by nature mutually exclusive, but looking at marriage through the lens of holiness began to put it into an entirely new perspective for me.”
As I mentioned earlier, I know the Lord has, as He does with any relationship built upon a Christ-centered foundation, a beautiful “blueprint” for our marriage. But as He works and creates in our lives and through our marriage, I’m certain His Spirit will also be at work within me, calling me to selflessness and a sacrificial, Christ-like love. And I will follow Him. Who greater to guide and mold us toward a love that is patient, persevering, “not self-seeking,” “always hoping,” than the One who gave His life for a world that rejected Him? (1st Corinthians 13:4-7).
Stay fit, stay faithful ~<3 Di