True Colors

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Fall is my favorite time of the year. I love the cool, crisp days that bring relief from summer’s heat. But most of all, I love the beautiful colors adorning the trees in our Blue Ridge Mountains. My husband and I get great joy from driving through the mountains and hiking the trails to see the changing leaves. And as a photographer, I love capturing images of the lovely scenery.

Recently God revealed a lesson that has changed the way I look at changing leaves and made me love this season even more than before.

Many look at fall as a melancholy time of year. I’ve heard others refer to the colorful trees as giving their last burst of beauty before they die. Truthfully that perception couldn’t be farther from the truth. 

Did you know the vibrant colors we see during fall are the true colors of the leaves? Those colors are masked at other times of the year by the flood of chlorophyll that turns the leaves green.

I think of spring and summer as times of abundance. Plenty of sun, with weather that’s easier on the wildlife. Even for people it’s seen as a time of rest and relaxation. And yet, this time of ease masks the true beauty of the trees. During these seasons the trees wear a uniform color, blending in with each other. While it’s beautiful, there is a certain sameness to the landscape.

Life is like that. As much as I love having times of ease, they’re not the times when I shine. I get lazy and my spiritual life reflects a certain amount of lethargy and complacency. When things are easy, I can grow stale, and instead being true to who God called me to be, I merely blend in.

It’s easier to just go with the flow, instead of standing out.

But when adversity strikes, I dig deep and move closer to God. I leave the crowds and begin to work harder at being true to who God created me to be. So, as a direct result of my struggles, my spiritual life begins to shine as insight and inspiration bring color to my relationship with God. This in turn allows me to follow the path He has for me much more wholeheartedly and effectively. Instead of blending in with the crowd, the complacency drains away and His colors begin to shine through me.

We’re in the midst of adversity right now. I don’t know many who aren’t struggling with the new paradigm of life today. But I would like to challenge you to let God use this time to drain away the things that hide the beauty of His Spirit inside you. Allow Him to make you into the true person He called you to be. And as you dig deep and draw nearer to God, do it with anticipation for what He has ahead. 

God has great plans for His people and you are a vital part of that. Rejoice as adversity brings out your true colors! 

And think about this life lesson in light of Romans:

And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:3-5 NASB

True Colors – thoughts on letting God shine through when life is hard, @EdieMelson on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

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About the author: Edie Melson is a woman of faith with ink-stained fingers observing life through the lens of her camera. She’s a writer who feels lost without her camera and a reluctant speaker who loves to encourage an audience. And she embraces the ultimate contradiction of being an organized creative. As a popular speaker, she’s encouraged and challenged audiences across the country and around the world. Her numerous books, including Unruffled, Thriving in Chaos and the award-winning Soul Care series reflect her passion to help others develop the strength of their God-given gifts and apply them to their lives. She lives in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains where she spends time off hiking with her husband and her camera. Connect with her on and through social media.

Join the conversation: How has God brought out your true colors in this season of adversity?

Passing the Deep End Test

by Lori Stanley Roeleveld @LoriSRoeleveld

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.     2 Peter 1:5-8 ESV

Throughout my childhood and adolescence, I was no lover of deep water.

From eight to eighteen, I spent significant portions of my summer at a Christian camp, first as a camper and eventually as staff. Campers were barred from the deep end of the swimming area unless they could pass the swim test – three laps the length of the docks. For most campers, it was not a strenuous swimming challenge. For me, it was the English Channel. I was a chubby, non-swimmer, usually outfitted with a skirted swimsuit.  Still, I coveted access to the deep end.

Every summer I would screw my courage to the sticking place and make the long walk to the far end of the dock. Plugging my nose and hyperventilating in anticipation of the effort and humiliation, I would jump in and begin my quest.

By my third summer, Harold the lifeguard would extend the rescue pole over my head the moment I made my initial plunge. Near the middle of the second lap, I would grasp at the pole sputtering and gasping like a kitten emerging from a pail of water. I was well into adolescence before I achieved admission to the deep end. But the most I ever did with the privilege was tread water before lying on the far dock to tan.

Looking back, what strikes me is that as badly as I wanted to swim in the deep end, and as much as I dreaded the yearly humiliation, I never did anything that would help me achieve my goal.

I didn’t request guidance. I didn’t take lessons. I didn’t practice in the shallow end. Nothing. I just expected every year that somehow, magically, I would eventually be able to pass. Eventually, I did, but it was a lame, straggling pass, and I’ve never enjoyed the deep water, nor  progress as a swimmer beyond that point.

That’s how many of us approach our spiritual lives.

We long to swim in the deep end of faith. We know there will be testing to merit that privilege. But too often we spurn counsel, effort, teaching and training. Yet, we expect that we will somehow, magically, be able to pass the test of faith and gain admission to spiritual deep water. When God extends His rescue pole and fishes us out – exhausted and floundering – He shakes His head – like Harold the lifeguard.

At times when we do manage to reach deep water, we feel lost and out of our element. We don’t know how to really process the experience, and the most we manage is to tread water before heading back to shallow water near the familiar shore.

There is nothing we can add to the sacrifice of Christ to earn eternal life with God. But we can put effort into pursuing those qualities that equip us and keep us from being ineffective and unproductive in our faith. Peter provides guidance, but we must invest the effort to applying it.

I long to spend my life in the deep end, not just to arrive there but to be adept there, at home and able to support the efforts of others who venture out that far.

Passing the Deep End Test – insight from @LoriSRoeleveld on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

lori Roeleveld Headshot 2015About the author: Lori Stanley Roeleveld is an author, speaker, and disturber of hobbits who enjoys making comfortable Christians late for dinner. She’s authored four encouraging, unsettling books. Her latest release is The Art of Hard Conversations: Biblical Tools for the Tough Talks that Matter. She speaks her mind at

Join the conversation: What efforts do you make to deepen your faith to avoid spending life in the shallow end of God’s great adventure?