Goodbye, September. (a guest post)

I am so excited to introduce you to my first guest blogger for AnnasJoy OctoberJoyFest, the wonderful Andrea Stunz. I met Andrea through Jen Hatmaker’s book launch team and instantly bonded online through our experiences living overseas and love of writing. Her wisdom has helped my soul heal in deep places and her hand is graciously outstretched from a few seasons beyond mine to help navigate the way ahead. I’m being nice and sharing, but next time, you’ll have to go get your own from her page, AndreaStunz.com.

Turns out, I’m not the only one who struggles with a month, and here Andrea shares some simple but effective things to do while waiting for redemption. Enjoy.

Goodbye, September
photo by Andrea Stunz

In two words with a comma and a period, symbolizing pause and closure, I bid adieu to my least favorite month of the year. Goodbye, September. This two-word sentence contains proper grammar and punctuation forming a complete sentence. But don’t be fooled. This tiny sentence packs in six years of brokenness and redemption.

My dread for September began in September of 2011 to be precise. The details are a story for another day, but what happened literally changed the trajectory of my life, my heart, my faith, my universe.

Each year, around mid-August, a sense of anxiety wells up inside of me knowing that it’s coming. September rolls around every year, just like Christmas does, but somehow, I’m never quite prepared for it, even all these years later. Since then, God and I have been on a mission to turn right side up what had been turned upside down.

In many parts of the world September ushers in the first signs of Fall. The climate cools and the earth feels weepy. These changes feel like a death to some, but to others they bring the potential for life.

I love Fall. I love seeing the colors change and welcoming the cooler temperatures. Fall is good for my soul. While I experience its pleasures, I also grasp its reality of death.

Isn_t it ironic how the leaves falling and the changing of colors can offer both sadness and joy? This is perfect godly order, for without one, we would not have the other.
Photo by Anna Carpenter

Isn’t it ironic how the leaves falling and the changing of colors can offer both sadness and joy? This is perfect godly order, for without one, we would not have the other.

After years of searching for God’s redemption in my Septembers, I realize that death makes way for new life. The buried seed must die and break open for the inside to release its spring.

As Fall settles in, are you in a holding pattern of anxiety over your “September?” Are you desperately waiting for the redemption of Spring? Below, I’m sharing five things that I found helpful as I’ve waited for God to redeem my September. I hope they’ll help you as well.

Be Okay with Not Being Okay
Give yourself grace even when others don’t. You are worth it – not like you deserve a king size Reese’s peanut butter cup kind of worth it. But you deserve to be healthy. One day, you’ll be okay. Just maybe not right now.

Get Help
I can’t imagine walking through my waiting times alone. One dear friend calls it her “holy honor” to be an encourager in my story. Maybe your “person” is a trusted friend or maybe it needs to be a qualified therapist. Get the kind of help that is right for you. The kind of help that helps.

Rest
Often, in our waiting times, we get busy. Too busy. “If the devil cannot make us bad, he’ll make us busy.” (Corrie Ten Boom) We wear ourselves out. Let’s not be too exhausted when redemption comes to notice it.

Stay and Move
While we wait, in our persevering (waiting with forward motion), we can simultaneously rest and run. Rest in Him and run towards Him.

Raise Your Hands
Raising our arms high puts us in a posture of worship. It will actually change how you feel. It opens up our spirit and connects us to something bigger. Try it! Amy Cuddy says in her TED Talk, “Tiny tweaks lead to big changes.” Raise your hands in worship and wait for it. Wait for Him.

While my lackluster attitude is towards September, others have different months or seasons that bring feelings of sadness or anxiety. What’s yours? I pray you will allow God to redeem it.

Hello, October!

Andrea Stunz Bio ImageAndrea Stunz has been a Christ-follower from the age of seven. She is the committed wife to one, loving mom to three amazing adult children, grateful mother-in-law and ridiculously proud grandmother. A well-traveled Texan, having lived in Brazil, Asia, and the UK, Andrea finds joy in her family, grace in her friends, beauty in a story, purpose in the sunrise, wonder in her travels, and hope in Colossians 1:17. Andrea longs to encourage others by sharing stories because “a story worth living is a story worth sharing”. Find more from her at AndreaStunz.com.

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Do you have a story, piece of beauty or way to help me and the other readers here smile? I’m still taking contributions! Leave me a comment or send me an e-mail to annasjoy at gmail.

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