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Thankfulness Under Brown Leaves

Thankfulness Under Brown Leaves

Red, gold, burnt orange, and toffee-colored leaves. Denim fleece-lined jackets. Plaid shirts. Pumpkins. Gourds. Cinnamon apple cider. Pumpkin-spiced lattes. Bonfires and blankets. Thanksgiving. It's not surprising fall is a favored season among so many.

A time to start slowing down. A time to reflect. A time to be thankful. A time for family.

But what if this fall season finds you in a valley, and the beautiful yellow, red, and orange leaves feel like they are swirling around you out of reach? While others laugh on hay wagon ride through the apple orchard, your life feels like raking up unending dead brown leaves only to have them re-scatter across your lawn.

How do we in these seasons as Christ followers practice, "In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (1 Thessalonians 5:18)?

Since the valley of brown leaves is where I am finding myself as I write, I am digging down under the brown leaves to remember what has helped to regain peace and a thankful spirit. Hopefully some of these will be good reminders for you as well.

Keep an eternal perspective. "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal." (Matthew 6:19-20)

Breathe in slowly. Exhale slowly. Repeat several times. Picture blessings and beautiful things that make you happy as you breathe in. Picture the disappointments, hurt, stress, or pain leaving your body as you exhale. Picture Jesus walking away with your burdens. "For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, 'Fear not, I will help you'." (Isaiah 41:13) "Come to me, all you who labor and are heaven laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)

If you can, bundle up and take a walk outside. It releases those wonderful feel-good endorphins walking in God's beautiful creation. "How many are your works, Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. There is sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number, living things both large and small." (Psalm 104:24-25)

Remember that God made each of you wonderfully and one-of-a-kind. "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." (Psalm 139:14) You have a purpose, even in this dark valley.

Do something that fills up your bucket, even if you can't spend a lot of time at it right now. What does that look like for you?

Keep a gratitude journal. Rewind through it during times like this.

Take one day at a time. "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?... Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." (Matthew 6:27, 34)

We were never meant to do life alone. Sometimes we offer our hand out. Other times we need to grab onto someone else's. "Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." (Galatians 6:2)

Pray. "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." (Philippians 4:6)

Even on the darkest days, one thing remains true: God is always good. Reflect on his ways. Write down his qualities. Celebrate his faithfulness. Praise him out loud. Off-key is just fine or find some praise music to sing along. "Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever." (1 Chronicles 16:34)

Some day we will be in the presence of our amazing Creator and our Savior. We will be reunited with our loved ones. What a day of rejoicing that will be! "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." (Revelation 21:4) 

Thankful for Dementia
Interruptions of Jesus
 

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    Julie

    I’m turning 62 this year. I can hardly believe it myself. But, I’ve decided that I no longer want to live comfortably. I want to live with a spirit of adventure like I had in the past. To be unafraid of what’s new or different. I want to remain so open to the Spirit of the living God that his love compels me to go wherever he leads me.
  • LuAnn

    LuAnn

    I am passionate about people leaning into all that Jesus is. You. Me. Us. Journeying together with God. This is my greatest blessing. And now that my kiddos are out on their own, I’m learning to navigate my new normal. And I am finding there is life after little ones and teens after all!
  • Emilie

    Emilie

    I am currently finishing my degree in relational communications and plan to graduate in the spring of 2020!! I am thankful I have had time to grow, heal, appreciate a slower pace of living, and to invest more time into relationships with family, friends, and God. Through this process I am learning what I want to prioritize in my life and figuring out ways to make that happen. Most of all, I am figuring out that life is all about process, taking steps closer to where I want to be and celebrating the little victories but also accepting that there will be setbacks and disappointments along the way.
  • Sally

    Sally

    Sally Cranham is a singer and writer from the UK. She uses biblical narrative and her own experience to write deeply into the heart of the human condition. She currently works as a volunteer for SourceMN as their Arts Outreach Coordinator and has lived as a Residential Volunteer at Source’s anti-trafficking transitional annex alongside women who have come out of the life of prostitution.
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