On this first day of October, I woke up to find a crisp, cool breeze outside, something quite uncommon in this part of the world. Living in Florida, we do not generally have a significant change of seasons, yet I have grown to notice the subtle changes that occur at this time of the year. For instance, the warming nature of a friends’ status update on Facebook concerning a pot of chili she has simmering on the stove in celebration of the fall weather coming on. Or the beauty of the increasing number of pumpkins, scarecrows, and mums displayed on every corner. Everywhere I look, I see the transition from summer colors to fall ones. And you know what? The leaves aren’t the only things that are changing.

Just like the changing leaves, our lives change each season, each month, each week, and each day of our lives. Some of these changes are welcome, much like the refreshing nature of the cooler weather in the fall or the birth of a new infant. But other changes are undesired, such as the failing health of a friend or loved one or added stress from a new job. Even so, we do not have control over these situations. We cannot change the future no more than we can change the past. But we can pray for God’s strength and peace to help us get through every difficulty we encounter.

Recently, I have had several close family members and friends face critical medical conditions. Just today, I found out that one dear friend may be battling cancer and another may be going into assisted living. Another has doctors trying to figure what is causing their discomfort, and still another is being asked to try a fairly new medication to see if it will help them. Several others are facing various trials in their lives as well. None of them expected to have their health change so drastically, but their physical condition changed nonetheless. Still, they must ask God for strength and healing, holding on to the joy that still exists all around them, despite the unwelcome change in their lives.

Personally, I have seen change in my own life as well, some welcome and some otherwise. Being blessed with my first trip to Europe this summer was a very welcome change from our usual summer routine. This was a change that filled my heart with joy and provided me with an epic adventure that I will always cherish in my heart. On the other side of the coin, there was one change three years ago that caused my heart to break in two. Losing my mom was a very unwanted, tragic change. There are still days when I cannot believe that she is not here with me. I cannot comprehend why this happened. I only know that it did and there is nothing I can do about it.

Both of these changes came like a gust of autumn wind, but what a difference between the two. Even so, I know that God is always with me. He was with me as I made my way to the top of the Eiffel Tower, just like He was with me when I sang at my mom’s funeral. You see, He wants to be a part of every aspect of my life, from the most amazing joys to the darkest sorrows. He walks with me in good times and bad. And He wants to do the same for you. All you have to do is ask.

Much like the brilliantly colored leaves that fall to the ground, the changes we experience in life will never be distinctly alike. Some of changes will be pleasant ones that we wish would last forever and others will bring with them an unpleasantness that seems unbearable. No matter what type of change you are going through, God will walk through the valley with you. He will hold your hand. He will carry you all the way. While this world may be racked to the core with change, there is one thing that will never, ever change. Remember that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8 NIV). Put your trust in Jesus. Don’t let the unwelcome changes in life get you down. Instead, step outside in the crisp, fall air. Listen to the rustle of the wind blowing gently through the trees. Spend some time alone with God in prayer in the midst of the changing leaves.

In Christ’s Love,