Reaching for her favorite sweater she curls up in her favorite chair. A chill is in the autumn air. But one that makes her feel alive like never before. She feels the warmth of her sweater as she wraps it tighter and grabs for her mug of coffee. From the window she sees the brilliance of the golden fields. The copper in the foliage is like a spark of energy. Oh, how she loved this time of year. Golden fields peeked with yellows and reds. A cornucopia landscape always captured her heart. A breeze that holds a chill that makes you breathe in a little deeper. Pumpkin spice and mulled cider candles filled her home. Windows open just enough to make the curtains dance. Handmade quilts decorating the sofa. An inviting home. A warm embrace of love as you entered the door. As she looks out the window she can see the leaves dance from the trees as if they are being tickled right off the branches. As they fall it's as though they do so tenderly with grace.
Why hasn't her life shown such grace? It's been a long time since Karen picked up her Bible. It's been even longer since she has been to church. She can't remember the last time she spent time with the Lord in prayer. How did her life change so drastically? She was always the woman who said, "No matter what, Lord. I will always be faithful." She served passionately in church. She gave with a cheerful heart. Yes, she was the woman of grace and gently loved others with her gift of mercy. She taught Sunday school and helped in children's church. Whenever there was an opportunity to serve she was there. But this is when all was right in her life. She mistakenly thought that the more she gave the more the Lord would bless.
She felt His grace upon her life. That is until everything began to turn south. Her husband had had an affair and wanted to leave her for a younger woman he had met at work. Her father had died from a battle of cancer and soon after her mother followed with a heart attack. In six months both her parents were gone and the man she had always leaned on was gone. She now had an empty nest with all four of her children now with families of their own. Her job as a secretary for twenty years now went to a part time job with no benefits. Last week she received a call back from her doctor. Something was seen in her latest mammogram. Could things possibly get worse? How did the season of joy in her life turn so drastically cold?
She had felt the pangs of loneliness and despair. She spent most of her adult life believing in a God who would always be there for her and fill her life with blessings. But as of late she didn't know where He was. As she looked out the window she heard a voice. "Karen, I have always been with you." Was this the Lord's voice? It had been so long she wasn't sure she could identify it as clear as she once did. She heard it again, only this time she knew. "Karen, I'm here with you. I've always been here with you. Through every season of your life I have never left you once." Yes, she knew, it was the Lord. In this very moment, on this autumn day she would have once called glorious, the Lord had prepared her to meet with Him. It was time. It was time to let it all go so she could live again.
Where were her friends? Her church family? It seemed that they had all but left her alone. She gave so much and here after everything had happened. After she has lost it all, no one can be found at her side. Yes, Karen has held such hurt that it is now a bitterness she can't shake. Why did her parents have to go? Why couldn't her husband love her? Was she not good enough? Had she messed up so much that no one wanted her? She could answer that. Yes. She didn't even think her Lord and Savior wanted her any longer. After all, she had given up on Him. She pushed Him aside time and time again. Her pain was deep. She tried to hide it. To bury it. But as she did she also built up walls. The windows to her soul were closed. Until this morning.
She woke with a memory of the sweet times she had spent with the Lord. She had looked back to her childhood when she would jump in the leaves and laugh with such joy. She wanted to jump again. She wanted to not just look out the window to life, but she wanted to experience the beauty of the season. With all that has happened to her could she ever live again?
As she sat in her favorite chair, wrapped in her warm sweater, the vision outside captured her. She heard Him again. "Karen, open My Word." She looked and seen her Bible still on the table after these years of being covered in dust. "This is your season of healing." Karen reached for the Bible and swept her hand over the dust and found her printed name on the cover. She opened it and it was like meeting with an old friend. She opened to Hebrews and there she knew, He had not left her.
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Hebrews 13:8
She sat with her fingers touching these precious words that spoke to her heart. She flips the pages and sees the highlighted verses and notes she has penned to her Lord. It is here in Deuteronomy that she reads her words written three years ago. "Lord, may I always feel you near me."
"So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you." Deuteronomy 30:6
How had she forgotten these words? "Karen, you walked away from Me. Return to Me. May today be the day your healing begins. Let it all go." Tears began to fall. Her Savior had not left her, but why had she felt so alone? She hears the Lord speak tenderly, "Karen, my daughter, I was calling, but you pushed Me away. The more you pushed the more I was present. I was here to help you through this season of pain."
"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them." Romans 8:28
Oh, how she had missed her time with her Lord. She had come to losing almost everything to realize the most important gift in her life was there all along. When she found out about the affair the Lord had caught her in the fall. As she sat by her parents and shared their last times together, He was there with her. As her friends moved on one by one, He was present. As her children moved on with their own lives, He was there to fill her home, just as He had always been. The circumstances of change had caught Karen off guard. She had seen these seasons of circumstance as abandonment from all. She seen the actions of others as a reflection of her Lord and that too meant that He had left her. She had it all wrong. He had been there all along. She was now looking back at the times where cards were received at the moment she was about to break. Flowers from co-workers to show her that they cared. Yes, these small moments were to show her she wasn't alone, but Satan had deceived her into thinking no one was near.
As the seasons of life had changed Karen, her Lord had remained the same.
"Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow." James 1:17
As she held her Bible and looked out at the changing scene before her she realized she just wanted to go back. She wanted her old life back when all was perfect. She wanted to go back to that woman who believed without a doubt. But in this moment of healing she was feeling the Savior's touch. He was leading her in His Word. He was guiding her to a season of healing.
"For our present troubles are small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever. So we don't look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Healing was beginning. A new season had arrived. God had prepared this day for Karen. He had been preparing her all along. Karen had focused on the circumstances and had forgotten that we are not to focus on what is seen, but on what is not seen. God had known what was coming in Karen's life. He too knows what is next for her.
Her second mammogram will come in as a gift of health. She will give praise to Him. Not for the good news, but for seeing her through. Just as Karen lost focus, I too can lose my vision of the Lord being present in my life. There is nothing that God cannot use for His glory. He can turn my biggest hurts, my worst messes, my disastrous choices, into blessings. It's not always going to feel good. Every moment of our lives isn't going to be pleasant and perfect as we would see it, but may we not forget the Lord knows our today and our tomorrow. When we trust Him and remain steadfast and true we see that our Lord remains the same.
Seasons of change are not easy. But it is through these seasons of change that the Lord brings us to look more like Him. He molds us through our mistakes. He creates grace and mercy in our lives so we are more eager to share with others.
Jesus uses every opportunity to brings us closer to Him. Divine appointments touch our lives daily. On this day Karen decided to give the Lord room. She fell to her knees and forgiveness came. She cried out to Him all the anger and resentment she had bottled up for years. She gave Him the disappointments and regret. She opened her heart to Him and opened her hands to Him. She gave Him all on this glorious morning of renewal.
No longer would she just look out the window. She would rise from her prayer with a new heart. Change was coming. She laid her fears down and chose to pick up courage. Today she would once again jump in the leaves of her youth, but now with a new vision and a new hope in the Lord who never left her side, but guided her to a new day in Him. Yes, change was coming and for the first time in her life Karen was accepting and ready for whatever came next. Yes, her Lord was with her and this is what she came to know and understand deeper than ever before.