Wonder of Letting Go
Author: Jenna Anderson | @mrsjenna_anderson
It’s fall in our town. I believe it’s fall everywhere, but fall in Bend, OR is something to behold. If you have yet to walk the paths of Drake Park or take in the changing foliage along the Deschutes River, dare I say, you have yet to live. It is breathtaking in all of its transforming beauty. Leaves are set ablaze with the colors of autumn in bursts of light in varying degrees. From sunrise to sunset you can round a corner and find yourself taking in a landscape worthy of a painting to homage the season that is fall.
Fall is my season. I was born in the fall, fell in love in the fall, got engaged, and had my first baby all while the leaves changed. For me, the season is steeping with not only glorious excuses to cozy up, but a sort of mysterious magic, a deep sense of wonder. As I see my 2-year-old holler her backseat updates of the ombre colored trees I sense the wonder. What a grand show that gives nature a shining face lift while ushering us gracefully into the months of snow ahead.
But fall looks different to me this year.
Different in an unexpected, really not fun way. Yes, I’m doing my best to lean into the season like I always do, but it’s just not the same. In the last month or so my little family has faced loss that has unfolded in a variety of heartbreaking circumstances leaving me broken and very confused. I’m weary and wounded and find myself in a spot that not even a carefully placed, light up, $5 Target pumpkin can pull me out of. (I know, because I tried it.) I believe Jesus is near, but most days I am grasping at the faintest whisper of His voice, even then unsure I heard Him clearly.
I was driving to work the other day and doing my best to let the changing leaves and crisp air pull me out of my funk. In between my toddler’s morning monologue and my own mental to-do list I thought I heard a God whisper. I kind of ignored it at first because what I heard sounded way more like a Fall Pinterest printable or a crocheted throw pillow. However, the next time I looked at the trees, I heard it again. That still small voice on repeat in my heart. In fact, with each drive around town last week, the same quote came popping into my head.
“The Trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let things go.” -Anonymous
You too may have read these words amidst autumn fan gear but when the God who set the earth in motion repeats them to your heart, you’ve got to take a second look. God knows I love fall so I suspect He knew He’d have my attention here. As I prayed about these whispers, I began to see something new. It is these trees that stand as a stunning display of God’s artistry and this idea of “letting things go” that are a recipe for wonder. I think sometimes I compartmentalize the shifting colors of fall from the inevitable frigid days ahead. I like to forget that these brilliant leaves are about to crunch up and die. These leaves will undoubtedly let go and give way to a new season and after that another. We can trust that winter winds will be stilled in our little town, spring will come, and then the glory of summer in Bend too. But for each season to be properly on display, these leaves outside my window, the ones dancing around in their glorious autumn hues HAVE to let go.
The wonder I’m leaning into this fall goes beyond the pretty leaves and glowing candles. I’m convinced that God wants us to see in those trees that the peak of greatest beauty comes right before the fragile brokenness of letting go. There’s something inside me that knows all of this was carefully by design. God wants to teach us that somehow in His Kingdom choosing to muster up the faith to let go and trust Him in the face of loss and uncertainty is marked by a beauty beyond compare. He delights in the dainty leaf He created as He paints it from green to yellow, yes. Even more God gazes in wonder as His children weak and frail relinquish our grip on the very things we were never meant to hold. In my heart right now, the idea of letting go feels scary all around. Even still beyond the fear and my masterfully crafted “what-ifs” I am beginning to sense Him near. I hear Him gently urging me to let go and trust Him.
So, this fall I will absolutely walk the stunning paths in Drake Park and join all of the other nicely dressed families taking “candid” pictures of their kids throwing leaves. I will jump with my girls in the leaf piles, disperse autumn love around my home, and visit the pumpkin patch too. I will embrace all of the goodness that autumn brings. But this year, the wonder for me is around the corner when the leaves start to fall. With all of the ache in my heart and faith in my bones I will choose to trust that there’s even more beauty and courage to be found as these fragile leaves let go of their limbs. I’m joining that journey too.
In my weakness and pain I am choosing to trust that I can let go too. Through my tears I can still see that the same God who masterfully authored the beauty of fall also holds my life secure. I choose to believe He tenderly cradles my questions and doubts in His capable hands. The God who makes the seasons come and go in all of their unique brilliance will cause seasons to come in my life too. Joy will come in the morning and His nearness will hold me steady still.
I’m jumping off of the limb of my own clever understanding which has come up dry. I choose to entrust my elusive dreams and broken heart to the God that placed wonder in the change of seasons. He’s the God who transformed moments of death and defeat into His finest hour and He’ll do the same for me. I am straining my eyes to see the beauty that will come as I let go.
Maybe like me you are clinging to something you were never meant to hold. Think of the simplicity of the dainty, fall leaves. They dazzle and dance and die and let go under His careful eye. Let go. Trust God with that one thing or two things or your whole brilliant life. Because God can be trusted, I suspect like the trees we’ll find loveliness as we let go too.