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The first year or two we lived in Mississippi I pretty much skipped my favorite season, fall.

I was waiting for the cool crisp, sunny weather to arrive before I decorated, or dressed for the season. Shorter days came, school was in full swing and others put out their fall decor.

I waited. It was a choice.

Come December, with Christmas trees up, it was still warm and humid outside on most days. The only difference was that it began raining a lot somehow signifying to weary souls that winter had finally arrived.

“Fall” was over just as the leaves began to change colors and stockings were hung. It didn’t make sense to my senses, after living so many years in the Midwest where there are distinct seasonal changes in nature.

So, I missed it.

What I was waiting for had come and gone. Time keeps marching on whether we find ourselves acclimating to our new normal or staying stuck in what used to be.

None of us grasp completely, or understand all the effects or the purpose of the unknown, as we are experiencing it.

Why certain doors shut and others open and we’re left wondering where we belong, or what our part to play will be in this new season.

This is where our insecurities can rise to the surface.

I can promise you this, God is always looking to grow his children up into strong warriors. This usually never happens in familiar and comfortable places.

Growing pains hurt y’all.

They give us opportunities to deal with what we tend to bury below the surface. The hidden parts of ourselves that are NOT healed and made whole yet.

We all have them.

There is not a way around, or a shortcut to achieve the revealing and healing God longs to see happen in our lives.

We either go through the process allowing God to remake and shape us to mirror His image more, or we find ourselves wedged in the very crevices we detest.

“The one thread confident people have in common: A person’s willingness to experience negative emotion.”

– Susie Moore on the Jennifer Allwood Show Podcast #181

Negative emotions are temporary if we navigate through them with an openness and vulnerability to learn and grow — avoiding the opposite of this; to become angry, hard and bitter in an effort to self protect.

We can feel the unrest and rumblings of frustration.

Decisions by others can send our world’s spinning out of control.

We can’t see or feel the familiar signs of fall we have come to expect. The cool breezes blowing, the crispness in the air as leaves reveal new hues of vivid color.

If we’re not careful, we’ll find ourselves fighting against what will free us:
Discovering – what’s holding us back
Surrendering –
to His will
Obeying –
His Word
Following –
His prompting

God is not surprised and His plans aren’t upset by our circumstances, our emotions, the people in our lives, or the mission of evil at work.

Even God ordained, positive transitions can scatter our hearts and leave us floundering.

“But as the believers rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent” (Acts 6:1).

My heart struggles too.

It takes me a while to work through both the grief and grumbling.

These feelings are not bad, they are indicators of transition, the winds of change, and our hearts and souls trying to adjust and recalibrate to a new environment in a foreign land.

They deserve to be worked through.

Talked about in a trusted and safe place.

And wrestled through in our conversations with God, as we continue to release our grip on what is not ours to understand or control.

It is tedious work.

It is not easy.

But, it is worth it every time, I can promise you that because God is faithful.

Troubles are like boot camp for the heart and mind.

They disrupt our lives in every way, change us forever and prepare us to win and conquer new territories —united with an army more powerful than we would ever be on our own — with a Captain who is ALWAYS leading on the winning side.

That is, if we comply.

“I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties” (Isaiah 41:10 AMPC). In other words God will prepare us by exposing us to situations, so we can become stronger and see His mighty power at work in our lives.

When we’re sitting distraught and full of emotion, these are not the words one wants to hear.

At least I don’t.

So walk it out with Jesus. Sit in the pain and discomfort. Ask the tough questions. Get to the bottom of it.

It’s hard work either way, don’t let your energy be wasted. Make it count for a greater purpose.

Go through the difficult road of becoming more self aware and discovering the pathway of healing.

Most often this looks like surrender and obedience in the hidden places of our soul. The small yeses to God, that no one else sees, have the biggest impact in our lives.

“Solid food is for those who are mature, who have trained themselves to recognize the difference between right and wrong and then do what is right” (Hebrews 6:14 NLT).

When we’re tempted to blame, we open the door to bitterness.

Humans are never the only reason why, or the only answer to — even though they are always part of the equation.

We are in a war which means we have an enemy at work against us and a Captain to follow.

“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).

When I moved to the South I didn’t know or understand the seasonal protocol. How you basically decorate, dress, and live in intentional ways that reflect the time of year regardless of the corresponding weather.

If I want to enjoy fall, I have to create the experience of fall.

I can’t wait for it to appear.

“When we surrender our ability to choose, something or someone else will step in to choose for us.” – Greg McKeown, Essentialism

If I want to flourish and see my dreams come to pass, I have to decide to thrive where I am. I have to take steps that will lead me where I want to go. No one else will do this for you.

It’s a narrow road, but it leads to wide open, spacious pathways. Where freedom reigns, and chains that so easily entice and entrap us are broken off.

Eight years later, on this past Labor Day weekend, I put out my fall decorations earlier than any other year I have lived here. I made a choice. I even planted a mum in my front yard (posted above).

The air conditioner is turned to 67 degrees as the Cicadas sing in the hot, humid weather outside. Pumpkins are scattered throughout the house and candles are burning. The scent of fall is in the air. A “Happy Fall Y’all” sign sits on the corner of our fireplace mantle.

I’m now more determined than ever to create what I desire. To prepare in advance for what I want to see happen, even when there is no sign at all that it will.

I can’t change the weather or the world outside, but I can change the atmosphere inside.

I can’t change my circumstances or others, but I can choose the atmosphere of my heart.

Don’t stay in the grieving and grumbling. Let revealing and healing have it’s way in you. “Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).

Participate in God’s will so you can become all of who God created you to be. “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil.

Now may the God of peace make you holy
(set apart, not perfect) in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 NLT).

The question we have to ask ourselves is this, God is doing a good work, will I choose to participate? You have a choice. I have a choice. Let’s choose wisely. You got this friend!

I’m cheering you on!

With much so love and grace,

Joelle Povolni

P.S. If this post has spoken to your heart, I believe this one will encourage you even more: What Are You Convinced Of?

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