I love you. You have given me weekends at the lake, endless dinners on the grill, pool dates with friends, scattered flip flops everywhere, bonfires, sticky s’mores, and so much more. You have nursed my broken heart more than once through the years with gifts of sunshine and ice cream. Each year, you come back again to help me write another incredible story. Thank you. xoxo, Sarah

P.S. You’re my favorite, but don’t tell the other seasons.

As I look back at past summers, I see a trail of beautiful and bittersweet memories. There have been summers that overflowed with joy and summers filled with deep sadness and pain. The common thread is that every summer was unique and had its own tale to tell.

Just as every natural summer has a story, so does every spiritual summer. We will each walk through the spiritual seasons many times. Autumn is a time of change. Winter is a time of barrenness and preparation. Spring is a time of rebirth. And summer is a time for bearing fruit and embracing the abundant life that surrounds us.

The key to embracing our spiritual summer, no matter what time of year it is in the natural, is to remember to seize the joy of the season. This is a time to feel the heavenly warmth on our face and revel in the beauty that surrounds us. Relax, have fun, celebrate, and abide in gratitude for the blessings that surround.

Fall and winter will come, but don’t let thoughts of the unknown rob you of the joy of the moment.

Summer is a season known for cultivating and bearing good fruit. Oh goodness, there is just nothing like a sweet, sun-ripened, summer strawberry. It is like a taste of heaven on earth! Our spiritual fruit of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control must also be cultivated and ripened so it can taste even sweeter than the best summer strawberry. There is one sure way to do this, and that is to remember who our spiritual gardener is and to remain in him always.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5 NIV). [Tweet: “The seasons may change, but our good and loving Father does not.”] Let’s celebrate our summers, both the natural and the spiritual, and embrace every story being written, because God’s hand is in each one.

Lord, thank you for the gift of summer. Thank you for ice cream cones, backyard barbecues, and sun-drenched memories. May we seize each moment of joy and remember that you are the true cultivator of our harvest and author of our stories. Amen.

Scripture for Reflection: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and selfcontrol.” (Galatians 5:22-23 NIV)