It’s lining shelves already, holiday décor. Lining hearts with anticipation, lining our lives out for the next few months come late September.
Temperature’s dropped first real time last week, the cool, crisp morning bristling me good, readying me to line the house with warm glows and fragrant scents.
Pumpkin Spice? Umm, Mulled Cider I decide. Yeah, perfect.
And it’s our ridgeback’s stirring enthusiasm gets my attention, all her Annie-Girl residual energy in this thin, non-inhibiting air. She’s moving around like years haven’t caught up with her, an old dog’s youthful clinging hope to run free like she used to, legs stretched out as if reaching forward into fun days of Fall, falling right forward into them hardly waiting. She’s got it too, all this coming alive.
Hustle and bustle’s around the bend, the world waking up from summer’s thick, deep sleep.
And I feel it, the reviving of a dull spirit, a splash of color all these loose leaves turning my heart around and lighting it up again—a resurrection from miserable mundane, a quickening from lethal lethargy.
I’m in need of a change and He knows it and this whole wracked world needs a right awakening! A turning around to witness something different, something uplifting, elating, a pick-the-chin-up gift, something He reaches out and graces us with in our drab and dreary normal.
Because we can get stuck in a rut, in the same-o same-o so easy, like trapped rats spinning exhaustedly on working wheels, trying all our hardest but remaining ridiculously stuck in that same unfulfilled spot we started out in.
Need a change? Need some seasonal décor to spice your life and bring a warm glow back where it used to be? Back before monotonous replaced it? Before all the other harsh and brutal seasons took their toll?
“Well, who doesn’t?” I hear coming back at me from every person that’s ever lived long enough—that’s ever lived past childhood!—to know at least this one unmistakable human fact . . .
We could ALL use a change!
These souls cry out in a global moan: Give us a miraculous change!
And if it doesn’t come like a thief in the night, like a returning Messiah to stomp dead all the atrocities we are forced to witness on every continent in every corner, then let it come deep within hearts of the same crying souls.
Oh let it be me, Father! Change ME because I’m dogged tired of expecting everyone else to. Wiped smooth out from waiting on this incessant evil to see the Light, for a lost and wrecked world to find its way to the only true Healer and Sustainer.
Let it be each of us, individually, to spread His fragrance, to be Mulled Cider in the lives of others, the glow of Pumpkin Spice on an obscure and lonely hill, a blend of salty décor draped on flat and flavorless meals.
And when change isn’t easy, let us remember . . .
Seasons change in the middle of a stable and unchanging order just as Lives change in the center of a stable and UN-changing God—the only thing we can brace our uncertainties against, the One who controls our experiences like turning leaves, like the ever changing tide, like irresolute rains.
And there is peace in the knowing it! Knowing He holds us like cups of hot coffee in cars bending sharp on uneven terrain. Yeah, amazing how all that swishing coffee stays safe in the cup if it’s held just right by the Driver!
God’s unchanging will is poured out on all those willing to experience change. And we are safe, held protected by the Unchanged Hand.
He rolls out new paths and places us in the ripe right center of change we’d never expect or think possible, right in the shaken waking turn of events that leave us wondering how on earth it all happened.
And we are roused by the lively atmosphere, the surging breeze across our tired faces, the new and fresh perspective as we follow, as we accept and adapt to changes, as we are changed!
A lot like my walking outside on a cool September morn, like Anne’s renewed energy in brisk leave-turning weather, like just the change we’d long been aching for.
But it’s much more exhilarating this change starting inside.
When the warm glow comes from within, not without.
When we ARE the candle.
When we ARE the fragrance.
When We BECOME the stimulating décor.
And we don’t have to wait on foliage to fall or sprigs to spring forth because it really has nothing to do with seasons but everything to do with His Spirit falling upon us, His Love springing forth from us, each and every day.
The most beautiful change is a soul-changed.
And I remember a soul changed forever.
I reach for his picture, see his dimple there—a sweet changing dip right in the smooth left cheek, a precursor, a sly grin signaling a face on the verge of a big change, a smile about to bust wide open.
But the change doesn’t come, not the way I had wished anyway. Not the way I’d hoped for. And some dimples die and some smiles on the verge never do break open. Never widen past the pain.
And change can sometimes be the most gut-wrenching, soul-slicing, heart-breaking thing ever! It can erase dimples flat and smash smiles to smithereens.
Yeah, some change can ravage change you once hoped for, change you now realize is never going to come . . .
Yet . . . it does come!
Not the way you wanted or maybe intended, but it comes even still.
And it can always be a good thing, even difficult, painful, horrific change. Because the same unchanging God brings it about in those willing and everything He does is good!
So that Brother dimple makes a sister turn a half grin like him, break open a willing smile for all the ones that didn't come, for all the change the pain conceived. Knowing his dying dimple caused a resurrection in my dying spirit! Knowing God knew that one unspeakable, life-shattering change would bring about a mighty soul-change when it was all said and done. Knew it’d be Mulled Cider for others one day.
Because you see . . . He changes ashes to beauty, turns bombshells into blessings and
He takes what we think we’ll never survive and changes it into the very thing that causes us to keep on living.
So this is one thing I’ve learned:
Whether painful or pleasant, difficult or delightful, frightening or fun, uninvited or invited—change with Him is always a good thing!
His cool, crisp Breath wakes us up in a new season.
And rats climb off spinning wheels headed nowhere.
And mundane and monotonous are shaken to the core.
And souls arise from their slumber.
And the Great Mulled Cider stirs our senses, spices things up in ways we might not understand but can definitely trust, and paints our lives with beautiful decor we’d have never witnessed if not for all that change!
Because through them we become like Christ . . . Ready to change the world!
- Sleep Tight to Moon Light
- When He Heard Our Whispers