The world changing color before our eyes. That certain slant of light, tinging the clouds with violet. The smell and crunch of leaves underfoot. Pulling out all things warm and snuggly – sweaters, hoodies, down comforters, and fleece throws.
And yet, the shadow of winter hovers just ahead. Bare trees. Cold winds. Sleet. Ice. Snow.
And darkness. So many hours of darkness.
As the mom of a son with autism, I’ve known my own times of darkness, and they haven’t always coincided with the season of winter. They’ve come in spring, summer, fall and winter.
I’m coming out of one of those times of darkness right now. It’s been a time when anxiety and worry about Joel’s future (along with my bout with cancer last year) have over-shadowed the good things going on in our life as a family.
As I sit on the kitchen patio this morning, drinking in the cool breeze of this beautiful autumn morning, a memory surfaces. It’s one of those stones of remembrance I go back to again and again when I need to be reminded of God’s faithfulness, love, and grace.
It was early morning, a day much like today. I had just dropped my middle son, Justin, off at the golf course to meet his school team. I was in a dark place, much like I’ve been these past few months. Within the past year Joel had been moved between three schools as we tried to find the right fit for his anxiety. Behavior was a major issue at school and at home.
Suddenly, right before my weary eyes, straight ahead through the windshield, was a full moon rising, gossamer thin. It seemed as if the heavens shone right through it. It seemed as if it was placed there for me, by God, as a word of encouragement. I pulled the car off to the side of the road, drank in the beauty, and wrote a poem on the spot.
Photo Credit: motodometer.blogspot.com
Wafer thin moon
cradled as host
above burning bushes
Body of Christ
broken for me
Drink dawn’s mist
sauvignon with subtle
overtones of oak, fortifying
against the chill
During the dark times, I often feel alone. As if God has forgotten me. As my spiritual director reminded me the last time we met, the Holy Spirit is with me always. Even in those times of anxiety and depression; even in those times when it feels as if I’m not enough. Even in those times I don’t feel God’s presence.
By giving His life for us, Jesus opened our hearts and poured in the Holy Spirit, who resides with us always. In the beauty of autumn. In the dark of winter. In the new life of spring. In the green heat of summer. In good times and bad, in flood and drought, in beauty and ashes, in loneliness and community.
As the prophet Isaiah writes in Chapter 55:
“Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost…
Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call on him while he is near…
You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
Reflection Question: What stone of remembrance do you pull out to remind you of the Lord’s faithfulness when your days are darkened by worry and anxiety? Write it down in your journal, or speak it to a friend or family member to imprint it ever more deeply onto your mind and heart.