October is by far my favorite month of the year. I love everything about it. Hey. I'll even take the allergies and sinus infections that accompany bonfires, apple cider donuts, and hours breathing in the crisp beauty that is fall in the midwest. I can literally feel my heart filling and my spirit being strengthened with every leaf gathered and pumpkin carved.
And then November comes. November always feels a little ominous to me. The skies are gray, cold, and they carry a message that winter is on the horizon. Said message is usually accompanied by some new strand of strep throat or the stomach flu or itis of one form or another. We gradually stay inside more and more, and by the end of the month we are bracing for a full-blown Midwest winter.
But don't you worry November. You're not a lost cause. Your redemption is found in pumpkin pies and mashed potatoes. And in quiet, dark evenings. And Christmas shopping and down blankets and good books and gigantic mugs of coffee. November is a slow, quiet month in our little Hamann world. I so deeply treasure white space on our calendar, so I'm always happy to walk across the chaos of Halloween into the lazy pace of November. I have no shame in wearing my pajamas all day and organizing my spice rack just because I can.
But. I get a little carried away with the whole white space deal at times. I find myself on the computer, pinning things that I will never craft or bake or be able to afford. I sleep in more, missing my chance to meet with God and to get rid of this baby weight that is almost six years old. I become more discontent with my home. Because we are inside more and we have more down time, I begin to nitpick things in my house that I hadn't had time to notice before. Our carpet is stained. We need a fresh coat of paint. Everywhere. The closets aren't organized enough. And so it goes.
I know that is not how God has asked me to spend my gift of time. Time is the only currency that I have right now. Therefore, time is my main act of worship. It is so easy to exchange the blessing of time for things that do not add. An extra half hour of sleep will not fill my heart like He does. An hour spent on Pinterest will not make me thankful for the things He has blessed me with. Watching a whole season of Fringe in a weekend will probably not produce holy fruit in my life.
I know that God has gifted me with white space on my calendar so that I can turn inward. So that I can use these moments of peace to sit with Him and gather up strength and wisdom for whatever lies next. To use my November as a threshing ground, reaping the harvest of what He has accomplished in my life. And to account for all that is in my storehouse and sing His praises because of it. I could stop there, with posting what I am thankful for everyday on Facebook. And that would be a good thing.
However, if I am fully living for the God that gave me everything in my storehouse, I will give. I will give without reserve. Being thankful is the first step. But. Being active in our thanksgiving is what really counts. To call a friend and pray over her life. To make a meal for a family that is struggling and drop it off just because. To encourage and notice even the tiniest bit of growth in my daughters character. To compliment my husband when he leads our family. And to learn to thank God together for it.
Oh November. You are preparing my heart for the coming of the King. Teaching me to be bowed in gratitude and humility as I enter the holy space of December. Aligning my heart in response to All He Has Done. Trusting that What He Has Yet To Do is better still.
So. While I still will enjoy reading a book from cover to cover in one sitting, I now understand that I am responsible to God for this white space. I'm so confident that He can merge the meaningful with the restful and create some deeper storyline than I could ever write of. So let's be excited when the cold winds of November blow us all indoors and under layers of down comforters. We can invest our time in allowing God to harvest His work in our lives. We will emerge in the spring, better versions of ourselves and triumphant in His accomplishments.
Faithfulness springs up from the ground, and righteousness looks down from the sky. Yes,the LORD will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase. Righteousness will go before him and make his footsteps a way.