The end of summer is always bittersweet. It’s the end of never needing a coat to go outside, grilling out every night, sleeping with the windows open at night and watching fireflies and butterflies flicker their way through the sky. But it’s also the beginning of autumn — my favorite season. The season when Alex and I started dating back in high school; when we got married two years ago; and when the Earth glows with the warmness of the autumn sun and changing leaves.
Before I fall head over heels for all things autumn (pumpkin spice lattes, scarfs, soups and bonfires anyone?), I’m taking a few seconds to reflect on what I learned this summer. And so that’s why today’s post is all about what God’s been teaching me lately. A lot of these lessons are things I already knew to be true, but God used this summer to let the truth sink even deeper into my spirit. I’d love to hear about what he’s been teaching you in the comments! Here’s what I learned this summer.
Summer Lesson #1 – God is good. All the time.
It’s been a rough summer. But from my experiences at She Speaks to a surprise visit from my parents and enjoying my first summer with a dog, God has been so good to me amid the craziness. He has given me great joy every day. He has blessed me with amazing friends (some of whom I met in person for the first time this summer — Kristen, Sarah, Jenni, Emily, Cindy, Melissa, Sue and Suzie I’m talking about you!). He has blessed me with a family that I can continue to count on. He has given me moments of clarity for both my ministry and my book. He has blessed me with a good, good husband who I am so thankful for. And he has blessed me with perfect peace.
Summer Lesson #2 – God can be trusted with every little thing.
Having chronic health issues can give you a lot of reasons not to trust God. You never know how you’re going to feel when you wake up in the morning, or by the end of the day. You never know what new health thing is going to crop up next. You never know if one day you’ll be better, or if you’ll just continue to get worse. But this summer, God has proven that He can be trusted by extending me grace in the middle of new health problems that took eight months to figure out. I can trust God with my life, because He is faithful to provide my every need — even when life is hard.
Summer Lesson #3 – I don’t have to do it all. I just have to do what God’s calling me to.
I’m a doer. I love creating, doing and finishing things. I love checking things off my to-do list just so I can add more things to it. But this summer God showed me that while that drive and energy is a good thing, I still need to be intentional with the time He has given me. I don’t need to fill my schedule with a million things I want to do. I just need to quiet myself and ask God what he wants me to do, then do that thing. It’s OK to say no and let some things go. Because that’s where freedom lives.
Summer Lesson #4 – I don’t have to pick up old baggage.
Back in August, something happened in our community that rocked me to my core. In the weeks following that event, I woke up in the middle of a nightmare with a traumatic flashbacks fresh in my mind of the anxiety attacks I suffered growing up. I felt ashamed for feeling the way I’d felt back then — before I was walking closely with the Lord. Before I started claiming scripture as truth over my life. So ashamed I went to a counselor. “Lauren, you’re not going back there. God has called you into freedom and you can still walk away from this,” my counselor said. In that moment I knew God was using my counselor to reassure me that he hadn’t brought me this far to only let me fall backwards.
God’s not interested in pushing us back — he’s interested in growing us and moving us forward. The past can still rock us, but we don’t have to return to it. We can choose to continue walking in the light and shame the enemy instead of shaming ourselves. After all, we’ve only been given one life to live, so let’s live it like we’ve been set free.
Summer Lessons #5 – I CAN EAT CHEESE!
OK, so this one’s not a God lesson, but after being on the SCD diet for 30 days to correct digestive issues, I discovered that it’s not dairy that’s a problem for me … it’s actually nuts and eggs that are an issue (gluten is also still an issue). In honor of this discovery, today’s recipe is one for Classic Reuben Sandwiches — complete with cheese of course!