This week last year, my husband was away at Hunting Camp. I was here holding down the fort and struggling through the idea of dying to myself as the way to live. Funny how going it alone as a Mom brings that topic to mind.
I understood in my head what it meant, to die in order to live. But I can’t say I really wanted to experience more of it in my real life…because painful.
Today, I share a little blast from the past, to encourage you to hear the voices of falling leaves, to see this body of BEAUTY surrounding us these days, as arrows >>>——> pointing our eyes to God and our hearts to surrender.
The last of the maple leaves fell today.
Autumn winds pressed hard, making red leaves dance, and every little piece found a place to land. Now they scatter the lawn, at the mercy of children who kick and toss and stomp.
I stand here watching, and it feels a lot like poetry.
There’s a mysterious beauty in all this falling, an embedded reflection in the cycle of seasons.
“Before the leaves can mount again
To fill the trees with another shade,
They must go down past things coming up.
They must go down into the dark decayed.”
—Robert Frost, In Hardwood Groves
Jesus talked about seeds falling to the ground to produce more seeds. About death leading to life.
Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. –John 12:24-25, NIV
Jesus was getting ready to produce more seeds–to give us life from His death. Like the kernel of wheat, He fell down to His death before being raised up to glory.
He laid down His life. Concerned with the will of His Father, who was concerned with you and me. This is what it looks like to “hate life” and die to ourselves–in order to live.
Back at New Year’s, I asked God for a word for the year, and immediately knew it was Victory. To which I thought, This will be the year of victory in one of the areas I’ve been praying about. I’m in!
Victory seems like winning, triumph, or success. Not surrender, falling to the ground, or dying.
But each time Victory came up this year, the message was clear.
- Victory is found in yielding, in surrender, in dying.
- Victory is His strength shining through (not my strength, but) my weakness.
- Victory is finding joy in smallness.
- It’s giving up control, and falling into Jesus.
Doesn’t that seem a little upside-down? It didn’t line up with my idea of victory-as-success. But sometimes we have our definitions all mixed up in this world.
So I stood outside this morning, watching trees release leaves at the peak of the season. I thought about how the leaves all fall down and the remaining branches appear dead before they fill up with life again.
I thought about the way fall displays surrender, and hoped I’d always remember.