Autumn is a time of change. Trees stop making the wonderful chlorophyll that gives them all the different shades of green and slowly the leaves begin their transition in color to brilliant oranges, scarlet reds, and sunshine yellows. The deciduous trees hold out their branches as the leaves fall to the ground in preparation for their complete winter transformation.
Most people love this time of year when the new season ushers in cooler temperatures, football games, or that first year of college and a new chapter of life. But, for me, this time of year brings me back to the stark reality of that time when my dreams were totally altered.
As the days become shorter and the wonderful natural light of the sun shines for fewer hours, I find my heart becoming heavier and grief threatening to overwhelm me. Those who are not walking in my shoes will be quick to say, “It’s been long enough now. It’s time for you to stop going back to that time in your life and move on.” But, that is just not possible for me to do no matter how hard I try. So, I embrace those memories and try to override the bad memories with the good and as I look back over them, I look for things to be thankful for that I wasn’t able to notice – the parking spot close to the front door of the hospital; my husband’s friend who came for a week at just the right time to spend the days preparing our home for the coming winter months and evenings and nights staying with Bob so that I could get some rest; the time one of Bob’s sisters volunteered to come from out of state and bring his 84 year old dad to spend some time with him; a meal of chicken soup and rolls from Demos’ that a couple brought to us one evening.
I find it amazing that there are things coming back to me now at almost 6 years past – things that went on during those last 4 months that I was not even aware of because of the grief and fog that I was walking through. I know that those who would come visit him in the hospital probably thought that I was unfriendly or even unkind because I had so little to say in the way of conversation, but truly it was all I could do just to walk through that time with my husband and try to remain positive and keep up his spirits. I had no energy left for anything else.
Last week I heard Chris Fabry make the statement, “Dreams have been dashed and re-altered or re-altared“. That is exactly what happened. My dreams were all dashed and totally re-altered the day my husband met Jesus. Now I must continue to put those dreams on the altar allowing God to do His perfect work making me into this person that He designed me to be in this time of my life. I have to pick them up daily and lay them on that altar not because it is something that I want to do, but it is something that I need to do in order to fully and completely surrender to what God has for my life. This surrendering is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I am stubborn and still cannot understand God’s ways. Yet, I know this is something that I MUST do daily in order to get through my days.
What about you? Have you been able to take your broken dreams and lay them on the altar as an offering of surrender? Do you do like I do from time to time and snatch them back to hold them tightly against your heart wishing life would go back to those days of wonderfulness that you enjoyed with your husband? Or if you had a good childhood, you may even wish to go all the way back to those days where you were loved and carefree. I’ve wished myself back to those times as well.
There is no going backwards, is there. There is only today and whatever God has for our future. So, today I face my sorrow completely again and lay not only my dreams but my grief on the altar so that they can be “re-altared”.