The change in weather brings a change in perception. I’m eager to leave behind the activity of summer and settle in for the cozy nesting of fall. Here are a few reasons I love God’s most colorful season.

Returning to a regular schedule. After of summer of spontaneity and adventure, I am happy to return to my well-worn routine. I spent the summer months collecting fresh ideas for projects, and I’m eager to refocus my energy on the work I value most.

Beginning new classes, small groups, church programs. Every fall is an opportunity to meet new people and explore new ideas. I’m happy to reconnect with friends and family after a summer spent doing my own thing, and I’m grateful for the chance to make new connections and forge new relationships.

Cooler morning walks.

Rainy afternoons spent reading on the couch.

Unpacking my collection of warm fleece and cozy pajamas.

A renewed understanding that the seasons of our lives are always changing and that what may seem to be an ending is only the beginning of a new phase in time.

And my favorite reason for loving fall is the constant reminder to be grateful for all I have. Everywhere I look, decorations and banners declare: “Be Thankful” and “Give Thanks.” Fall is the time to contemplate what is most important in my life and appreciate the people who share it. Every day is an opportunity to celebrate each blessing and acknowledge each gift.

In the fall I take the time to thank God for my safe and comfortable home, my family and friends, my work and opportunities. I value the special people I know, and I’m grateful for the moments we share.

This fall I pray you encounter a blessed and fruitful new season. Know God is always with you to keep you in his care.

What do you enjoy about each change of season? What are you looking forward to sharing this fall?

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I have never been a peaceful sleeper. Most nights I sleep in fitful and erratic snatches of time, waking often. Sometimes I give up at 1 or 2 in the morning, slip out of bed, and sneak downstairs to read a book.

I could turn on the hallway lights, wake up my husband, and startle the dog. Instead, I prefer to creep through the house in the midnight dark, tiptoeing down the stairs and through the silent shadows, imagining all the scary things that haunt us about dark houses.

My midnight walks are a form of test, a way to force myself to face my fear.

Each time I arrive downstairs and snap on the lamp, I find my safe and familiar living room, the same comfy sofa, the dog toys scattered on the floor. Every time I reach my destination, I remember that all I imagine could be lurking in the dark is not the reality I see when I fill the room with light.

So it is with all our fears. Often, the problems that we imagine, the shadows that scare us, will no longer exist when we arrive and turn on God’s light. When we confront our fears directly, they lose their power to influence our decisions and will no longer keep us frozen in the dark.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” 2 Timothy 1:7.

Today I encourage you to directly face one fear that has been holding you back: descending the dark and mysterious midnight stairs, tackling an ambitious job interview, risking a new and promising relationship, or moving on to some new adventure. I challenge you to take any step into strange and unknown territory where shadows linger and shroud the path ahead. I pray you see that when we shine the light on what we fear, what we discover is often safe and comfortable after all.

What fear can you challenge yourself to face today? How do you feel when you bring light to a dark situation?

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Months ago I planted this scrubby shrub in a pot on my patio. What grew up from the soil is this towering, thick-stemmed mystery, which we’ve named “The Beanstalk.” It has wide and round, velvety leaves, dainty yellow flowers, and round green fruit that has yet to mature. I suspect my neighborhood squirrel left behind a forgotten seed; but I have no idea what it is, and I won’t know until the fruit reveals itself. Meanwhile, I faithfully tend the growing plant. I wait and water, watch and wonder, eagerly anticipating the day the fruit will ripen.

A life of faith is like this flowerpot. We never know what will grow from the seeds we have planted. We take an action, make a decision, or join a conversation with no way of knowing what will develop from our efforts or what the conclusion will be. Often we begin a season looking forward to one outcome, only to discover something completely unexpected growing in its place. We may be surprised by what we harvest at the end of a growing season, but God always knows the potential that lies beneath the surface.

 “So you do not know the works of God who makes everything. In the morning sow your seed, And in the evening do not withhold your hand; For you do not know which will prosper, Either this or that, Or whether both alike will be good” (Ecclesiastes 11:5-6).

While we wait to see what blooms, our purpose is to faithfully tend the garden we have started. We continue to nurture relationships, take actions, serve others, and pray constantly. We can eagerly anticipate the day we see what blossoms from our efforts, and we can be confident that when God gives the increase, whatever grows will be good.

This season, I pray you are faithfully tending the seeds you have planted. Know that your work will be rewarded with a rich and bountiful harvest.

What are you hoping will grow in this season? How do you know God will give the increase?

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