For years the melting of snow followed by the sounds of early-morning birds chirping and blossoms on flowers
sent me spiraling into deep sadness.
The transformation in nature from winter to spring flooded my heart with memories of Adrienne's short little life.
She was born as winter ended and she was gone before spring could even end.
Everything about her life was wrapped in blossoms and promises of a fun summer.
For a long time I struggled to find anything about spring that I liked,
but I remember the year vividly when I seemed to notice all the blossoms as bright and beautiful again.
It was like a layer of haze had been removed from my sight and suddenly I could see spring's beauty again.
Kind-of like the moment in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe when the evil Queen had been destroyed and winter ended in Narnia.
I would drive down the same streets I had driven year after year and see bushes and trees in yellows and pinks that seemed to take my breath away.
God restored my springtime heart.
Now, I'm dealing with similar struggles as summer changes to autumn.
Everything about cooler weather, leaves beginning to slip from the trees, hints of Halloween in stores.
All these things stir memories of Nick's last fall.
And my heart feels faint.
Hard memories are fresher this time of year,
and maybe that's why grief can ambush me so much more easily right now.
Like the other day at school when a little boy's one tiny question swept over me like a tsunami.
I just happened to be walking by a class lined up in the hall when I heard a student ask his teacher,
"Was that a compliment?"
This particular teacher gives points to her class if they are praised by other people in the hall or in the classroom for good behavior,
and someone must have said something nice about how quiet they were being.
As I heard his question, I turned to look at his little face and everything about him reminded me of Nick.
His voice, his eyes, his desire to please his teacher.
It took me by such surprise and was more than I could bear at that moment.
I slipped back to my office, shut the door, and for the first time in a long time,
I cried deeply.
Honestly, I had reached a place where tears for Nick seemed to be gone.
Not that I don't miss him every single day, but I just hadn't cried in so long about his absence from our daily life.
And then it hit me.
Fall is coming and with fall seems to come layers and layers of memories
Many of these memories are precious ones,
because my boys loved Halloween.
Going to Mamaw's to shop for costumes was an annual tradition.
All four of them trying on masks in the aisles of Cox's, a store in Mamaw's town, is a snapshot in my heart I'll hold onto forever.
Carving pumpkins, jumping in leaves, taking walks with boys on their bikes speeding ahead of me with me hollering,
"Wait at the corner! Watch for cars!"
I love my fall memories as a mom of four little boys.
So, even as I type this my throat swells up and my eyes rim with tears,
because I am thankful and sad all rolled into one.
And for the first time in a long time,
I realize that this particular time of year has become for me what the ending of winter use to be.
Maybe just acknowledging it will help me walk through it with a smile even as I wipe big tears from my cheeks.
I'm not surprised that Nick's life would end in fall.
Foot ball season.
Thanksgiving in everyone's heart.
This was Nick's favorite season.
If I could write my life story, I wouldn't have included many of the chapters I have lived.
But, I'm thankful that the Author of my life somehow continues to pull me through the painful chapters and the constantly changing seasons by reminding me of just how special each of them are.
I wouldn't be the person I am today without the hard chapters.
I wouldn't love as deeply.
I wouldn't care as passionately.
I wouldn't understand what having a living Hope really means.
So, today, I'm thankful for hints of autumn even though they stir parts of my heart that bring tears.
And as I typed these words this morning, a Scripture came in a text from a friend who had no idea I was typing.
This was the verse Pam sent this morning,
"We will be His people, and God
Himself will be with us and be our
He will wipe every tear from our
There will be no more death or
mourning or crying or pain."
With that kind of promise coming from God this morning,
I know I'm going to be okay.
He's walking this journey with me even when it's hard.
He makes it clear every day either through things I see, things I hear, or even texts I receive that He is with me.
He longs to have this kind of intimate, personal relationship with each of us.
I hope today you will feel His presence with you in a very special way no matter what kind of day you are having.
He is there.