Autumn is just a few short days away. Leaves on the trees will start their journey to death. The evenings will become cooler. The days will become shorter as darkness comes earlier and earlier. It will become bleak, with chilling winds that go right threw me. This has become my life. 

When the colder weather comes, the snow begins to fall, and the winds blow so hard it makes the snow go sideways, people tighten their winter coats around them to protect themselves against the bitter cold wind. They pick up their pace as they hurriedly seek warm shelter. When I’m feeling bleak, cold and empty inside I find my Shelter in Christ alone. 

I’m not ready for this cold, dark, and dismal time of year. However, it matches my mood. I don’t scold myself for feeling this way. I allow it. But, when I feel this way, knowing I could go out on the porch and sit in the warmth of the August sun, helped in lifting up my sullen and melancholy mood. 

I look at the trees as their leaves begin to turn to brilliant reds, yellows and orange. I get sidetracked, thinking about how beautiful they look. It’s so pretty, I want to take a picture. I think about the colors of death as I look at the changing leaves. They are so pretty, but they are dying. They don’t even last that long in this state of brilliant colors. Before I know it, the branches are bare and the leaves are being raked up, put into black garbage bags and thrown away. Or on farms across the country, piles of leaves will be burned to ashes.  

I feel like I’m the ash heap. A huge part of me has died. I was living in the brilliance of bright sunny days, warm and secure. Even the “changing of the colors”, the suffering and trials that come along in my life, were still beautiful because Jesus would always make it right. But the deaths of my family caused me to die inside and fall to the ground. Now, I’m sitting on the ashes of what my life once was with Russell, Shawna, Tylee and Blake. This “tree” will never grow again. I don’t want it to. What for? This blizzard of winter will never leave. Spring isn’t coming. I don’t want it to. Winter has become a part of who I am now. I feel lifeless, but not hopeless. I will give myself all the time I need to grieve. I know where my Comfort comes from. I tighten my grip on Jesus again.

All the struggles and trials of life are another opportunity for my Jesus to show Himself to be all that I need. Standing, like a tree that has lost all its beauty; it’s life, I am still taking in and absorbing the healing nourishment that only Jesus can give me to survive such a tragedy.  

“…to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them beauty from ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.Isaiah 61:1-3 (KJV) 

Christ is my Comforter! Jesus sent His Holy Spirit to be all that I need. I needed His comfort; His peace. I seek only His comfort, and peace. What the world offers is never enough and is always fleeting. I needed comfort and peace that would surround me and strengthen me for the days, weeks, months and years to come. I am thankful for such a love. My “dead leaves” just might recover come “spring.”