The Post Where I Finally Cave and Drink the Pumpkin Spice Tea

Psalm 68

I’ve finally caved.

I held off as long as I could, longer than I ever have before.

But I’ve done it.

I’ve taken down the summer wreath from my door, the one in nautical blue and white stripes with seashells and an anchor.

In its place, I slipped up the fall wreath, a sign to everyone who comes to my door that I’ve finally accepted the end of summer.

Mostly.

Usually, I’ve baked two or three batches of pumpkin bread, ginger spice cookies and pumpkin pie by now.  Maybe I’ve made baked apples in the Crock-Pot.

Not this year.  Not one pumpkiny, gingery, cinnamon-heavy, apple-based dish so far.

But I did finally pour the steaming hot water into my mug with a pumpkin spice tea bag as a treat before bed.

pumpkin spice

And, I’m stocking up on baking supplies and the chocolate, graham cracker, and marshmallows we’ll need for S’mores.

I stopped burning the honeysuckle and wildflower scents in my wax burner and pulled out ‘cashmere’ and ‘apple spice.’

Maybe I’ll even make this all official by unpacking my leaf-and-pumpkin decorations and dotting them around the house.

Fall is my favorite season.  I could be happy in sweater weather all year long.  The pumpkin patch is my happy place.  Baking season is heaven to me.

Walking among the crunching leaves, tucking away acorns and pine cones as treasures, smelling the scent of fireplaces carried by the wind, is deeply healing to my rushed soul.

But this year, unlike any year I ever remember, I’ve been holding onto summer with both hands, my feet firmly planted.  The calendar is all-out dragging me along and you can see the grooves in the dust where my feet refuse to move.

School is in session, but I’m pretending it isn’t. I’m going through the motions: homework, agendas, reading logs, packing lunches. But my brain is still thinking beach, daytrips, rest.

I can’t recall any time I’ve gripped so desperately to a passing season.

And there’s the thing, the essential truth in all of this: These seasons, they do pass.  It’s this inevitable moving on in life.

Usually, I’m a move-on kind of girl.

Sometimes, though, we are so trapped by looking back that we’re missing the beauty of now.

Maybe that’s me.  Yesterday, it was 66 degrees outside for my morning walk.

Perfection.

Yet, what if I stubbornly refused to enjoy it, whining and complaining all the while about the lack of bathing suits, a water park, and the long summer nights?

Well, I’d miss this, of course.  I’d wake up one morning to temperatures below freezing, I’d be hurled into snow days, icy road conditions, and the layers and layers and layers of clothing I’d need to put on my children before sending them out to the school bus in the morning.

Maybe we hold onto seasons because we don’t like change.  Any change.

Maybe we just ‘know’ that what’s coming isn’t as beautiful as what’s been.

Maybe I woke up one morning after my oldest daughter’s ninth birthday 9 and realized I’m halfway to her leaving my home and heading off into independence and college and a world with less mom in it.

So, what mom wouldn’t want summer to last just a little bit longer when that same girl is now starting her last year in elementary school?

But I read this in the Psalms:

May the Lord be praised! Day after day He bears our burdens; God is our salvation. Selah (Psalm 68:19 HCSB).

Day after day, God is at work in me. Day after day, He is bearing burdens for me, lifting me up, helping me forward, walking alongside me.

This daily gift tells me that anywhere I go, any season I’m in, every time I leave something behind and begin anew, He is right there with me.

The blessed place isn’t where I’ve been; it’s anywhere He is.

I’ve been re-reading the story of Ruth lately, how she left her home in Moab and traveled to Bethlehem, to a foreign nation and a strange people with her mother-in-law after the death of her husband, her brother-in-law and father-in-law.

She could have stranded herself in mourning or imprisoned herself in the past.

She could have arrived there with Naomi and holed herself up in her room, crying from homesickness and wallowing in loneliness.

Instead, when she arrived in Bethelehem, she asked Naomi:

“Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain…” (Ruth 2:2 ESV).

She fully engaged in the act of living in this place at this time in this very season.

She basically pulled out the pumpkin spice tea, nailed up the “bless this harvest” sign, and baked a loaf of pumpkin bread.

So, that’s what I’m doing, too.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2015 Heather King

I Know a Good Question When I See One

At the pumpkin patch, they handed us a paper with clues and a purple crayon for the scavenger hunt.

Follow the clues to places all over the farm and collect the letters.  Unscramble the letters at the end and find the answer to this question:

What’s the name of the largest pumpkin we grow here on the farm?

Collecting the letters is the easy part. It’s the putting them back together in a way that makes sense that’s hard.

My husband finds the word “giant” in this mesh of letters.  That sounds promising, but we’re still missing two words.

I ask the older man in overalls the question, like I’m just abnormally interested in the breeds of pumpkin.

So, you have lots of different kinds of pumpkins on this farm.  What’s the biggest kind you grow?

He smiles and leans down from the tractor: “Oh yeah, lots of kinds.  The big giant ones are in the barn.”47

I surmise that this is the most information I’ll get out of him.

I move along.

My kids line their pumpkins up on the table so we can pay for them while I ask the lady in the apron about pumpkin varieties, all casual like it’s just a question that has popped into my head for no apparent reason.

Finally I just tell on myself.   Here’s the deal.  We’re trying to figure out this scavenger hunt word scramble and how in the world are we supposed to know the names of the seeds you use when you plant pumpkins?  So can you help a girl out?

She laughs and says, “Whoa, that’s a hard clue.  How are you supposed to know that?”  Even she has to go and find someone else who knows the answer.

Dill’s Atlantic Giant

Gold stars to my husband for figuring out the “Giant” part.

He says I cheated and we could have figured that out.

There’s no way.  Even the nice people at the farm assure me no one would know the answer unless you actually knew about pumpkin breeds—which I do not.

No way could I leave that pumpkin patch with a question hanging over my head like that, though.  Cheating or not, I needed the answer, the solid truth to put that question right to rest.

Unanswered questions sit heavy on my soul.

I’d be Nicodemus slipping out into the night to find Jesus and pester him with questions because I just want to understand and make sense of it all.  Born again?  How does that work?  Parables, stories, and metaphors are all fine and good, but, Jesus, I want to know.  Can you lay it out all clear and step by step for a muddled, mixed-up girl like me?

I’m a Question-Girl who knows a good question when I see one.

So, I read it in Scripture, how the Israelites whined and complained their way through the wilderness outside of Egypt.  They glorified the past.  They questioned God.

In Exodus 17:17 it says,

Moses named the place Massah (which means “test”) and Meribah (which means “arguing”) because the people of Israel argued with Moses and tested the Lord by saying, “Is the Lord here with us or not?”

 Dr. Tony Evans says:

“It’s easy for us to judge the Israelites as we read their accusatory question against God. But I imagine we’ve all asked that question at some point, ‘Is the Lord among us or not?” (The Power of God’s Names)

Is that what it all came down to with them?  All of the complaining was really the perpetual search for an answer to the question that was rocking their souls:  Are you here with us, God?  Have you abandoned us?  Are we on our own?

We know the theological, good-Christian answer.

But sometimes I still feel like a lost little girl on a big wide farm with a crayon in one hand and a paper with a mixed-up message on it.matthew1

Is the Lord among us or not?

And that’s when we cling on tight to the promise that He is Immanuel, God With Us.  It’s the only name that fits in the blanks and that uses all the letters.  The only name that can heal the cracks in my shaking foundation and soothe the ache of my wandering soul.

Life in the wilderness for Israel was messy and hard.

Life for us sure is messy and hard sometimes, too.

During my year-long pursuit of the presence of Christ, this month I’ll be ‘Doing Messy Faith.’

Quiet times aren’t always pristine.  Prayer doesn’t follow a formula.  Life is noisy, busy, rushed…messy indeed.

But God is With Us right there in the middle of it.  Life won’t be perfect, but I don’t have to have all the answers to draw near in His presence.

Will you join me this month?

To read more about this 12-month journey of pursuing the presence of Christ, you can follow the links below!  Won’t you join me this month as I ‘Do Messy Faith’?

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Heather King