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Friday, October 9, 2015

Times of Refreshment

“When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings” (Psalm 84:6, NLT).

Autumn is almost upon North Georgia. It was in the air as my cousin, Marilyn, and I drove these last three days through high valleys and gazed down through thinly scattered clouds from high atop Brasstown Bald. Leaves were just beginning to turn a pale pumpkin color that always announces the bright red and yellow hues of fall are soon to follow. The pungent smell of apples was discovered in tiny hollows tucked between winding curves. Even though the sky was a crystal blue the rain that had washed the laurels and hillsides the day before we arrived still moistened the mountain air.

Our trip was a time that was very needed–one of retreat and sharing that had waited far too long to take place. Only six months apart in age, my cousin and I had known each other since infancy. There had been times together throughout sixty-six years we had lived in different states, but those times together had always come with a hurried purpose to visit family. Two years earlier life had been hard on both of us. We had lost our mothers. That year we had walked through, what the psalmist so perfectly described, a valley of weeping. As we drove the twisting curves of North Georgia roads, streams followed our journey. Cold mountain water sliced through and around rock formations refreshing life within the streams. And as we talked and shared, we found for this moment in time, a place of renewal and refreshment all our own. We were safely cocooned sharing our hearts with each other and with God.

Life is too short and uncertain not to share moments. Those moments don't just happen. Planning times to be together takes effort. But it is an effort that is worth whatever work is needed. Such moments bring a joy that can never be replaced. The time you spend with those you love is too precious. It is too priceless. Life is a but a vapor. You are here one moment and gone the next. Take time out of your busy life of work, smart phones, laptops, and iPads to reach for a hand, hug a shoulder, or wipe a tear. Slow down before life with its special moments of love passes you by. My cousin and I were born in 1948. It was the beginning season of our lives where we grew from baby to adult. Before we realized it summer was upon us with marriage and growing children. Now that we are in the autumn of our lives, we reach to love the next generation of our family and the next as life continues. One day winter will be upon us, and soon it will be time to let go of this world and join our Savior and mothers in heaven. But for now we have discovered, as the psalmist also wrote, that in these autumn years the rain of His blessing always refreshes, and especially in moments where we have shared our hearts.

As the seasons of your own life change, remember this. Weeping in your valley only lasts for a night. Joy comes in the morning. The sadness of one day anticipates the joy of the next to come. Reach out to those you have in your life now. Share your heart and forgive where it is needed. Love where it is needed. Cry with those in your life, and then rejoice with them as they discover new purpose and hope. It is truly your circle of life that is only broken by death. Live to the fullest before your circle is broken, and never waste a moment to love those God has given you. These seasons of life will always need times of refreshment. Create your moments with those you love, and the rain of His blessings will continually clothe their hearts with memories that will sustain and comfort when you have passed on to be with Him.

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