Amy Eksteen

“This is the season for letting go. Making room for what is new, and opportunities to grow.” – Morgan Harper Nichols

With Winter coming to an end this month, it’s hard not to look out of our windows to admire just how wonderful the changing of the seasons can be. It’s hard for us not to celebrate the complexity of nature around us and how we are privileged enough to be connected to it.

The heat of Summer can make us want to run and splash among the salty sea, build sandcastles in the sand and spend time outside until all hours of the evening. Autumn, with its beautiful rustic colours and falling leaves can leave us feeling full of anticipation as we wave Summer goodbye and watch wistfully for the frostiness Winter will bring. Winter, with its clear-cut cold atmosphere and fresh air. Once here, bringing with it, an endless need for beanies, boots, blankets and a warm cup of whatever your heart desires.Springs greets us with the feeling of regrowth and renewal. The birds seem to be always chirping, flowers blooming as far as your eyes can see and the feeling of new beginnings. But among all of this change, thankfully, there are some things that will always stay the same, like the rising of the sun, never-ending sunset art and the beautiful moon and stars.
Now that we’re in August, we can’t help but appreciate the last of the Winter months, especially down here in the South of Africa.

I was having a conversation with my mother over some breakfast and freshly brewed tea just the other day. I was discussing what source of inspiration I could use for the month of August on the blog. My mother, being one of the most supportive and motivational people in my life, with her ever-ready and endearing perspectives suggested, “Why don’t you write about the changing of the seasons?” I replied with a look that suggested, “Why would I do that?”

My mother went on to explain and remind me that there is always something beautiful to discover when we stop to take a look around us. She explained to me that when she is mindful of her environment and when she takes the time to observe things around her, she is always so in awe of the power and symbolism of the changing of the seasons, especially when it is Winter.

She described why she believes Winter is beautiful, even though there are hardly any leaves and fruit on the trees or flowers in the ground, making it easy to overlook and pay no mind to it. The animals too, seem to stay away, hidden in burrows, trees, nests and holes. She expressed that the ferocious wind that can randomly decide to make an appearance is also a magnificent reminder of how God can come and sweep away all that is dried up, lying around and decaying, in order to make room for meaningful growth and beauty, much like He wants to do in our lives. She looked at me with a smile and said “Don’t you see how the atmosphere is preparing itself for Spring?” as she looked inquisitively outside. “It’s preparing itself for a new purpose, a new season.”

The way that my mother thinks and sees the world around her always has amazed me. This particular experience made me even more grateful for her uniqueness, wisdom and how her eyes perceive and understand a little part of the world that I have yet to discover. She reminded me that beauty comes in all forms and that there is always something to learn. There is always a purpose, literally, in every season.

So for August, taking my mothers advice, I decided to use the verse John 15:2 as this month’s source of inspiration.

He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful (John 15:2)

This verse stood out to me because just how God uses the seasons for different purposes, He uses us and brings us through changing seasons for a purpose too. We go through seasons full of fun, sunlight and laughter. We go through seasons where things seem to be ever-changing and falling a part around us.We go through seasons of decay, where strong winds might come and sweep everything away. These are often the seasons that can feel cold, painful and unfair.But then we go through seasons filled with exceptional growth, fresh starts, new opportunities and beauty.

What I want my readers and myself to take away from this post is that God knows what He is doing. He knows the plans He has for us (Jeremiah 29:11). This month I want us to allow Him to sweep away and cut off anything in our lives and in us that isn’t healthy and that doesn’t serve a purpose. Let us allow Him to cut away the branches that don’t provide opportunities for us to grow and that don’t bear the right kind of fruit. Let us allow Him to work within us and around us, to bring out the best in us and to help us sprout, shoot and bud like never before. Let us allow Him to be the ultimate gardener in our hearts and most importantly, let us allow ourselves to not shy away from the cyclical seasons in our lives, for there is so much beauty and purpose to be discovered in each one.

Last but not least, a happy women’s month to all of my ladies out there! We are all so lucky to be able to share our lives with intelligent, unique, beautiful, strong, independent and talented women all around us. You are all so appreciated!I would like to challenge us all for this month and further, to be mindful and to celebrate the women in our lives, even the women we don’t know, but might cross paths with. Let us spread the love this month by being supportive and encouraging of one another maybe through a compliment or helping another lovely lady who may be in need.

Today is also an extra special day because it is my mother’s birthday. She was, after all, the inspiration for this blog post.Happy Birthday mom! I am really blessed with the best mother a girl could ask for. Thank you for your undying wisdom, selflessness and beauty. Thank you for being a constant source of inspiration, for your one of a kind perspective, guidance and understanding on things I have yet to learn. I truly appreciate your humour, genuine and authentic heart as well as your loving, kind and care free spirit. I love you and I appreciate you more than words will ever be able to say.

Happy August xx