I remember as a child hearing the words from my parents (usually on a Sunday afternoon), “come on, we’re going for a walk.” Instantly my body would descend into a teenage slump, “Not a walk!!!” Yet, somewhere along the way, I have turned into my parents and find myself watch my children respond with the same disdain I did at the mention of a walk! At the age of 34 I can’t believe I am actually saying this, but I love going for a walk and find myself out most days.
I always opt for somewhere with trees, and lots of them! Some people love to walk through cities, some people love to walk by the ocean but I am a happy girl if there are trees! There is something about them that just calms me. I am no tree expert and couldn’t tell you what type they are but I love them. I find that they always look so impressive and so colourful in spring and summer when the light shines through them. They definitely look less impressive in winter when they have been stripped of all the leaves and flowers.
I have had many incredible spring and summer seasons in my life but it is inevitable that following those seasons come autumn and then winter. I have recently walked through an autumn and winter season.
I feel it’s so important to emphasise at this point that these seasons are not to be feared – they are necessary and seasons which you can embrace and learn so much from. We read these beautiful words in Psalm 23:4 TPT: “Lord, even when your path takes me through the valley of deepest darkness, fear will never conquer me, for you already have! You remain close to me and lead me through it all the way.Your authority is my strength and my peace. The comfort of your love takes away my fear. I’ll never be lonely, for you are near.”
I have walked through winter, where what felt like everything on me was gone. I guess when you look at a tree you identify which tree it is by what is on it, what leaves are growing from it. When there is nothing but naked branches it’s harder to identify it. I think thats where I was. I had lost my metaphorical leaves! When you looked at my life it was almost unrecognisable, the leaves had changed colour, then fallen from my life.
But what is powerful in creation is that even death brings life. As we know in winter the leaves on the trees die & then fall to the ground. Once they fall, the dead leaves will begin to break down in the elements, returning nutrients back into the soil for the next generation of leaves to grow. You’d assume that once the leaf has died its purpose is done, but it’s not. You don’t just grow from nothing. Something died to feed the soil in which you’re growing right now.
Another truth that has encouraged me is that whether it’s spring, summer, autumn or winter, a tree is still a tree (deep, I know!!) Its identity doesn’t change, it still has the same roots running into the ground. It still has all the nutrients running through it and, most importantly, it still has all the potential to produce new fruit in the right season.
Let me encourage you to not fear the winter seasons, what has died in your life will provide nutrients for what’s to come. It’s not wasted. In time you will produce new life.
Beth with her husband is the Lead Pastor of C3 PHILLY and is excited to begin the journey, with their two children Austin & Indie of planting a new church from the grassroots up on the East Coast. Beth is known for her humour and wit, both on and off of the platform, and if she’s not in the gym you can normally find her hunting down the best place to do brunch.