Renewed purpose in the season of wither |

Renewed purpose in the season of wither

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

On Monday, I drove over Boreas Pass beneath a canopy of golden aspen and Colorado blue skies so breathtaking that even a colorblind atheist would see the hand of God.

On Thursday, we celebrated the beginning of autumn. I found myself in the kitchen creating fall-inspired dishes, such as red chard lasagna, pizza with smoky bacon and black and green olives and thinking about baby pumpkins stuffed with savory sausage, Emmental cheese and heavy cream.

Because September marks the start of a new school year, many of us well beyond school age will feel inspired to begin new projects or reassess those goals we pledged in January.

Entering the winding down season between now and the quiet dormancy of winter’s blanket, let’s emulate the golden aspen gently discarding that which no longer serves us to make room for new growth.

I’m not going to ask where you are in the targets you set at the start of this calendar year. Either they’ve become an integral part of your life or (as in my case) they’re long forgotten.

Instead, let’s look forward.

Entering the winding down season between now and the quiet dormancy of winter’s blanket, let’s emulate the golden aspen gently discarding that which no longer serves us to make room for new growth.

Because my doctor would like to me to lose ten pounds, I joined a group on Facebook endeavoring to walk 100 miles with our dogs between the first day of autumn and the first day of winter. Henry and Max, my two Newfoundland dogs, will enjoy exploring new trails as we walk toward our goal.

What project will you begin?

There are only nine weeks until the start of Advent, the holiday season with parties and lights and all the joy that Christmas brings. Let’s experience these weeks as our season of renewal and begin a new endeavor together.

Here’s the challenge: Over the next nine weeks, let’s read one psalm together each week. We can discuss what it means to us and how it relates to our lives.

I’ve chosen the Book of Psalms because three years ago reading one each day during Lent is how I developed the habit of reading The Bible. And because Psalms contains some of the most beautiful poetry in the world.

But most of all, I want to read the Book of Psalms with you because it feels the most like a conversation between God and us.

We will discover psalms of great wisdom, sadness and longing for God’s help. And psalms of indescribable happiness, inspiration and thanksgiving for answered prayers.

I want to share that joy of discovery with you.

I will continue to write about other topics each week. But I’m going to save a little room to present that week’s psalm.

Will you join me? It’s only a commitment of nine weeks. Drop by my Facebook page, tell me and meet other people who are joining us in this project.

Then, at the end of November, we’ll celebrate our accomplishment with four weeks of Advent and the countdown to Christmas!

Let’s begin with a psalm that speaks to seasons in our lives and how we can grow stronger.

Note: Please read the psalm aloud. What verses grab your attention?

Psalm 1

Happy are those who don’t listen to the wicked,

who don’t go where sinners go,

who don’t do what evil people do.

They love the Lord’s teachings,

and they think about those teachings day and night.

They are strong, like a tree planted by a river.

The tree produces fruit in season,

and its leaves don’t die.

Everything they do will succeed.

But wicked people are not like that.

They are like chaff that the wind blows away.

So the wicked will not escape God’s punishment.

Sinners will not worship with God’s people.

This is because the Lord takes care of his people,

but the wicked will be destroyed.

Read the verses that speak to you again. How do they relate to your life?

Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson is the author of A Map of Heaven and other books. Join Suzanne at

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