I love autumn. I love going hiking. I especially love hiking in the early morning. I am not a huge fan of the freezing temps that we had this week before sunrise, but it's only gonna get worse now that it's nearly winter, so I guess I shouldn't complain yet.
This autumn has been my favorite season in Korea so far. The weather has been PERFECT, but the autumn foliage has rocked my socks off. I don't remember last fall being this stunningly gorgeous, but then again I lived in a bigger city that doesn't make nature a huge priority (not to mention I worked a lot more hours last year, so I didn't get out in nature as often). Jeonju does a fantastic job of landscaping along the streets, so in the spring there were cherry blossoms and azaleas errrrrywhere, and now that fall has come and almost gone, the multi-colored leaves have been too! Even if you don't get off the asphalt path that often, you can't miss the seasonal foliage. I have taken SO many pictures of fall leaves with my new fancy camera, but unfortunately my computer has stopped reading SD cards, so I can't upload them anywhere yet. Grr. Soon. Maybe. I hope. The leaves have mostly fallen around town, leaving everything a plain November brown, but up in the mountains, the leaves are still blossoming (if you'll let me borrow the term). Beauuuuuutiful. Ah. So pretty. Baie mooi.
Anyway, I don't have to teach on Thursday mornings so it's a perfect day to go hiking. It's not as busy as Saturdays and I like that. I waited until the sun was up a little to hit the trail (cause it was too COLD), but even still I caught some beautiful sunrise through the clouds. The LEAVES, y'all! Texas doesn't have color like this!! Heck, we don't have much of this "fall" stuff at all. We go from "late summer" to "early winter-ish" too quickly. You might see one or two pretty red trees in the fall, but nothing like this. My Canadian friends mocked my admiration of the leaves changing, cause apparently this ain't nothing compared to their typical autumn color. I can't even wrap my mind around that!
SEE? No filter. No editing. Just seasons. SEASONS. It's so neat!
A lot of times when I go hiking by myself, I listen to different podcasts. This week I was streaming a sermon from The Village Church in Dallas, TX. They're finishing up a series on Recovering Redemption. It's flat-out awesome. Matt Chandler is a seriously gifted preacher. That man can hits with the truth and doesn't have an ounce of pretension or arrogance behind it. I can't recommend it enough! They've got an app for their sermons, so search for The Village Church in your app store, or you can just check the podcasts on itunes. After my hike, I went back to August in this sermon series to start at the beginning, cause the talk I listened to on the mountain was just. so. good. Almost makes me want to move to Dallas instead of Austin if and when I ever move back to Texas (my love).
So basically I went hiking with Jesus. If you've never done that, if you've never carved out time in your schedule to go off in nature and ponder the glory of the Lord while surrounded by the glory of his creation, get on it. It's so awesome.
Relevant side note:
I don't know about you all, but October was kind of a difficult month. It wasn't smooth sailing. I wasn't my usual chipper, bubbly self for most of the month. I got slammed with a weird bout of homesickness out of left field! I've lived overseas for nearly 2 years, so I kinda figured I'd gotten the hang of missing people. Like it's a back-burner thing. I'm always aware that I miss people, but I am not constantly thinking about it most of the time these days. AND THEN October. It wasn't as sharp as it was the first time I experienced homesickness & culture shock early in 2012, but the fact that it came out of nowhere made it pretty intense. Bam. It was strong, y'all. I love my family. Being away from them is super hard some days. So, yeah, October was kinda rough.
And then there I was on a beautiful Thursday in November, beautiful new November, on top of a freaking mountain in South Korea, surrounded by the most beautiful leaves, pondering truth from God on high. Truth like...
Don't despise difficult days. Your loving Heavenly Father is tugging on the roots of sin. God uproots sin at the plant, he doesn't just get rid of the fruit of sin. A root is killed by exposure- God himself is gardening in the depths of your heart. It's because He loves you! Drag those roots into the sunlight.
Reroot in God. Let him use you, submit to what God wants to do in your life. The old has passed away, the new creation has come. You're a new creation, it's not just modified behavior.
2 Corinthians 4:16 reminds us that our inner self is being renewed DAY BY DAY. It is not something that's accomplished 'once and for all.' It's not a silver bullet. It's a habitual change of ethics. Day. by. day.
I don't know about you, but I need, desperately need, reminders like that. To God be the glory, great things he has done!
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ... For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2: 4-5, 8-10
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4: 16-18