Changing Seasons

When the Leaves Start to Fall

During my last week in Missouri, I was sitting at a park bench enjoying some chai and great company when a leaf fell from the tree above and smacked me directly on the nose. The event completely interrupted the story I was telling and I looked around and above me to see all the leaves that had already fallen and were arrayed around us.

In Missouri, as August fades into September, you can tell Autumn is coming because the leaves begin to fall. Autumn in the midwest is one of my favorite experiences. I normally look forward to Saturday tailgating, layers of clothes, and the landscape of Missouri being painted with shades of orange, brown, and red. When the Autumn is coming, I know what to expect and what to plan for.

This year, I am trading in my treasured midwest Fall for a South African Spring. As I am sitting in the airport watching time pass by, I wonder what to expect in this next season. I replay the two main questions others have asked me and I vaguely answered.

“What will my daily life be like?”

“How am I feeling?” 

Although reasonable questions, I only have guesses at the answers. 

Expectations, both good and bad, are imagination. They aren’t inherently bad but you can’t live in imagination, you can’t put your hope in what is imaginary. 

I wrestled with this idea I had to re-learn during my last few weeks in Missouri. I wanted to know the specifics. I wanted to be able to prepare for what was ahead. Knowing my expectations would most certainly fall short of reality, I set aside my desire for planning, trading it in for patience and trust. 

“In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” Psalm 5:3

This verse was posed to me by my mentor as we drove to the airport, and she asked what I was expecting the Lord to do.

I was hesitant to answer as I had been wrestling with expectations for the past few weeks. Nonetheless, we began to discuss it and she implored me to remember what I am laying before the Lord so when He proves His faithfulness and His kindness, He would be glorified.

What I Lay Before the Lord

I am asking the Lord to transform and refine me into the woman He has created me to be. To grow even beyond the way others and I character-type myself to be. To grow in my innate strengths and to be developed in flexibility and my dependence on the Lord.

To experience persecution and suffering as I know I am promised (2 Timothy 3:12), yet to be unwavering in my rejoicing of the Lord and His goodness despite my circumstances (Habakkuk 3:17-18).

To prioritize serving and caring for others and their needs (Philippians 2:3-4).

To deepen in my relationship with the Lord and my role as a reflector of His glory (1 Peter 1:6-7 & 1 Corinthians 3:18).

When the leaves meet the grass

Though it seems impossible to fully grasp, or even imagine, what it will be like to live in a different country for two years, I wait expectantly on the Lord and what He will accomplish.

The closer it gets to boarding time, the butterflies in my stomach flutter with eagerness and anticipation. My nervousness is dismissed by my confidence in the Lord’s great sovereignty over my life.

Yet, I can’t put my finger on the feeling I am left with.

Like a dancer waiting the wings for the curtains to be pulled. Like a batter approaching the box.

I don’t know what’s about to happen but I have a feeling it’s going to be beautiful and it’s going to be grander than I could even begin to imagine. 

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