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10 Things I Learned in Fall '21

Rewind > Reflect > Learn > Grow

Okay, so what was the verdict?

Is the last week of September and the first two weeks of October the best time of the year (weather wise) in your opinion, too?

I have a feeling all my fellow Texans and Okies are nodding right along.

If you happen to live somewhere else like San Diego where temperatures are pleasant year-round, we can agree to disagree. We don't have to agree on everything to be friends.

Actually, we could agree on absolutely nothing and still be friends. Agreement is not a requirement for friendship, even though society seems to be telling us otherwise.

Anyway, this practice of reflecting helps us practice the spiritual discipline of recognizing seasons in our own lives, even though they rarely align to the calendar patterns.

In reflecting on the change in our lives, I believe we can learn to embrace each season for what it offers and, in doing so, draw us into a place of gratitude and thus closer to God.

His Word says we enter His gates with thanksgiving. It's hard to experience His presence and see God in our midst if we're not intentional to seek gratitude.

So that's what this is all about - being grateful for the big and the small things, the good and the hard things, alike.

Thus, I'm excited to continue sharing my reflection with all of you. As I was writing this, I realized this season was about patience for me. Do you tend to embrace or wrestle with patience? I tend to live in both. Me and patience have an embrestle type of relationship. I pray you're encouraged to keep the faith and endure the challenges you're facing, knowing He is shaping, teaching, and preparing you through each of them.

Without further ado, here are ten things (not all the things) but ten things I've learned this last season.

1. Trusting God's goodness only when the outcome is good is a fickle and unreliable faith. Trusting God's goodness regardless of the outcome is a faith that is tested and true.

I have to start out with this one, because if you get distracted and read nothing else, please friend, let this stay with you.

Here are a few things I've been thinking about lately.

He is good.

He is God.

He is good at being God.

And He defines "good." I don't. You don't either.

So if I question His character because I deem an outcome as "not good," then the problem is not about God but about me. When we're tempted to define good, we need to remember that is not our job.

Our yoke is to trust - to lean on Him.

...which leads me to the next truth I've come to know.

2. We ask for clarity and God just wants us close.

Clarity comes as we become close. Maybe instead of asking for clarity again and again, we focus on drawing close to God in prayer and His Word and worship. As we do this, His heart for us becomes known to us.

3. Humility is the best place to begin.

I am fascinated by touring homes of past presidents. I've been able to see a handful already (and even sent running from one by the Secret Service, but that's a story for another time...)

For me, it's not about political party affiliation, it's about leadership and learning about their various journeys. Home tells us so much about the person and how they live or lived. Who were they out of the spotlight? What brought them comfort?

This time, I was taken by the steep driveway which led to this humble home. You would never look at this house and think, "A leader of the free world once parked in this driveway, watered this lawn, and grabbed bills from this mailbox." It was altogether too normal for what we'd expect.

Their first home as a married couple sat on a hill. I couldn't help but wonder if they ever dreamed they'd go from this small hill to living in the White House on Capitol Hill.

Probably not.

If you're experiencing a humble beginning in one or more areas of your life, you're in good company. Success - another word we often try to define - doesn't happen overnight. There are always days and days and more days of hard work and dedication required to get there. And there's always another "there" to reach.

...which made me think a bit more...

4. Don't judge your life by one day.

Sometimes we can get so caught up in what we're feeling today.

Sometimes a negative emotion of one day may tempt us to speak negatively of our life. It's easy to fall into the trap of "Because it's not happening now, it will never happen." But friend, don't judge your life by one day.

It's just one day. Who knows what could happen tomorrow?

The average life holds 28,667.1 days. Don't judge 28,667.1 based on 1 day.

Look up, child. His mercies are new every morning.

5. Pumpkins make great vases.

It's true! Learn how you can use a pumpkin to create a fun, Fall bouquet with fresh flowers.

Oh, and it only cost $13!

I know... the bargain-lover in me just squealed, too!

6. Nothing beautiful happens overnight. Beauty takes time; beauty must be formed.

Of all the seasons, one of my favorite times of the year is April because of the tulips. Why are we talking about April tulips in a Fall rewind?

Well, if I want to behold these lovelies in April, I have to plant them in October.

When the grass is dead.

When the surroundings may seem less than inspiring.

When a cold winter is coming.

And months and months and months and months of waiting.

Maybe you're in the months of waiting for something on your heart. Maybe you're planting and everything around you is falling to the ground.

I think we do our part. We plant and then we trust God's timing. We lean into Him in the long winters for comfort and warmth. Nothing beautiful happens overnight. Beauty takes time; beauty must be formed.

7. Trust Me, child.

I recently changed roles at work. Now, I serve as a connector and make peace when peace needs to be made, often cheerlead when the deadlines are fierce and the load is heavy. I'm glad to support in this way. These are some of my favorite things to do, so getting paid to do it is not a bad gig.

But waiting, not so much. It's likely my least favorite thing to do. Not an exaggeration. It's not my strength. I'm sharing this because I'm not alone. Remember all that peacemaking I mentioned? Well, I do a lot of peacemaking because very real, sometime tense, frustrations surface from this very thing - waiting.

Everyone is eager and hates to wait and wants to see exactly what is going on so they can be assured they are not waiting unnecessarily.

Ah, I know how this feels - not only in work, but I struggle with this in my own life.

If I can't see it happening, is it really happening? If I can't see God answering my prayers, is He really working in my life?

We only see such a small piece of what is going on. We long to see all of it, but like my work, seeing every piece and being involved in all the details would be a burden we were not meant to bear.

Maybe - just maybe - there's abundant grace in the waiting, in the not knowing and not being responsible to make everything happen.

Give it time and you'll realize...

8. A long-awaited sunrise is worth cheesin' for.

Sunrises are beautiful - we get a new one every day. But, sunrises in our lives - that doesn't happen every day.

You may remember I had been longing to see a sunrise not all that long ago. Awake earlier than normal, I leaned into it and decided to go for a sunrise paddle in my kayak, but instead I was greeted with thick fog. No sunrise, not even a hint of one.

Fast forward to this Fall, I lie awake much too early again with plans for the day including a drive through the Foggy Bottom in the Great Smoky Mountains to go catch a glimpse of the morning's sunrise.

When I first saw this photo of myself, I laughed. Could I be cheesin' any harder?!


Classic Candace.

But, now remembering this post I shared when my heart longed to see a sunrise, I smile and think, "A long-awaited sunrise is worth cheesin' for."

The details of our lives aren't just schlepped haphazardly together. The same Artist who paints the skies will create a masterpiece with our lives if we surrender the paintbrush to Him. Just because we can't always see the work He is doing doesn't mean He isn't working on our behalf. In His perfect time, He pulls back the foggy curtain and welcomes us in awe and wonder to what He has prepared for us.

And gosh, take the colors in the sky as proof, our Creator holds nothin' back.

9. Keep your eyes open.

When you're in a season of practicing hope - believing God and taking Him at His word, trusting He is good when it doesn't always feel good - remember one thing -

Keep your eyes open.

You might get to see the subtle shift in color indicating a change in season. And oh dear friend, when you do, believe.

Because Hope has a name.

And His name is Jesus.

So practicing hope, I'm learning, looks like keeping our eyes and our hearts open to experience more of Him.

10. All airports need rocking chairs.

Knoxville and Charlotte have this figured out. It makes lay-overs so much better. I can park myself in a rocking chair and read a book or people watch or listen to music or a podcast and rock and rock and rock and rock...

...and almost miss my connection because I'm so comfortable!

Eeek! Word to the wise, be mindful of the time when you find yourself in an airport rocking chair.

Looking Ahead - One to Grow On

Looking back helps us gain perspective as we look forward. Looking ahead, y'all already know...

Christmas is coming! And I'm ready! 'Tis the season for giving and eating and a whole lot more. We're going to talk about this more starting next week! YAYAYAY, I'm all kinds of excited!

And this cider may have been perfect for Fall, but I'm eager to make one that's perfect for Christmas, too! You know it's gonna be good when the secret ingredient is Red Hots!

Click here to view this super easy cider video and stay tuned for a red hot cider recipe!

Now, it's your turn. What have you learned through this last season?

To help get you started, you can download your FREE printable in the Resources page. (Add your email below to gain access today!)

Let's find strength knowing we do not endure these seasons alone. Let's find joy knowing there is purpose for each season we walk. Let's find peace in reflecting on the lessons learned and accepting these circumstances, much like seasons, as temporary. Let's find rest as we cling to the eternal.

The good life, well it starts with a good day. Then another. Then another. Let's choose to live #TheGoodDay one day at a time.

I love hearing from you, so go ahead. Leave a comment. Be brave. Maybe your comment will speak life into someone else!

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