About the Author

Ashley Hales is a PhD, writer, speaker, pastor’s wife, and mother. Her first book is: Finding Holy in the Suburbs: Living Faithfully in the Land of Too Much (IVP). Connect with Ashley at aahales.com or @aahales on social media.

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  1. So beautiful. . .I could be inspired by reading this daily! Thank you for your perspective. . .so pure and true. Thanks. . .dying to self can be such a struggle. . .the battle between the angel hovering over one shoulder and you know who thee other. Your words make his presence, lies and tricks fall and the angels glory abound. Hugs!!!

    • Thanks so much Eunice. I love how Martin Luther said that we are both saint and sinner simultaneously — it rings quite true to scripture and experience. Blessings on you today, as you struggle and lean in.

  2. Ashley,
    This is beautiful!! All of your words struck me, but especially the line, ….”It is rather in the letting go where ITS glory shines.” (emphasis mine). Oh how we want to shine like the gorgeous trees ablaze in the fall, but it is in the dying to self – the letting go our OUR glory that HIS glory can be revealed. Dying to self so that God can bring forth new life. Amazing what we can learn when His creation preaches a message?! Loved this 🙂
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • Thanks so much, Bev. Yes! I sometimes write of myself as a glory vacuum where I want to suck all the glory in to me instead of letting Jesus have his. I’m finding too, when I’m paying attention, that the created order speaks such truth.

  3. So beautifully written! Thank you. I could read and reread again. I shared a post on my own blog yesterday called “Our Octobers are Different” – it was the year I lost autumn or October in a completely different way… but isn’t it amazing how God speaks to us through the seasons. Again, my post was so different (regarding my new October being Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month for the first time 6 years ago when my daughter died), it was raw and hard to write, but I know the sweetness of exactly what you write about in your last paragraph and it’s just perfect.

    • Kristin, thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment and share your own story of loss. I’m so sorry you lost your daughter. The pain feels unbearable still, I imagine and thank you for sharing your own loss and fumbling of grief and healing. It’s so important to tell our stories, to help other people see we’re not alone. You’re one of those trees Kristin! Your loss and grief really are being transformed into something beautiful. I hope you get to see that more and more.

  4. Oh . . . maybe this is why I need autumn every year. It does something to my batteries that no other season can do, and I think you’ve nailed it.

    • Thank you Michele. It really does do something. It’s amazing how mysterious the earth is and how how true and right our God is to use it all to show his glory. Blessings to you on your own autumnal (isn’t the best word?!) journey.

  5. Thanks for having me (in)courage. It’s a blessing (as always) to be among you. It is my prayer that we would more easily let go of control and that we would let God move in all those spaces of falling. Thanks, friends, for reading and sharing.

  6. What a beautiful statement of the profound and wonderful mystery of God. I pray your story touches many hearts and minds with joy in the awareness that God is the only reality.

  7. Ashley, this article is right on time, this moment, this day. I am in the midst of pouring out stories from my life for a book God asked me to write. This past week I posted one of the most painful pieces of our story. I came away from it saying, “I can’t do this Father. It’s too painful. I can’t, it hurts too much.”

    Then I read this line “The trees need to be stripped bare before new life can grow.” My heart pours out more tears, knowing this is exactly what He is doing. This is the reason for the book, now, in this moment and time. He is answering my prayer for new growth, but the only way for that to happen is to strip away the old and discover under it all is Him. In my weakness He is strong. In my vulnerability and feeling of total failure, it is His strength, His love that lifts me from my past to a new day.

    Thank you Ashley. I will be printing this out and putting it in my journal.

    • Mary, I love hearing how God works. So glad this met you right when you needed. it. That’s so encouraging to me, tokens that nothing is wasted in God’s economy. Praying for you and for the journey he has you on — that much good and his glory would come out of the painful places of your story.

  8. I’ve always loved Fall though it is never an easy season. Your words resonate with the message and intentions of the Lord through this time of the year. I love that you dwelled not on the “coziness” of this time of year but rather on the difficulty of letting go that eventually takes us to a place that is not just cozy but stable and secure because it is what the Lord has for us as we walk humbly with Him. Obviously your words have struck a chord in many hearts. May the Lord walk closely with each of us in this meaningful season.

  9. Ashley,
    I absorbed each of your beautiful words. Something that came to mind was, last night after swimming my son had a younger boy bug him about if he still wears a life jacket in the pool. My son calmly replied, “No that was someone else.” (He was diving into the deep end without it minutes before). I reminded him about fibbing, and then I realized that in his mind it was someone else. Someone who patiently waited on the sidelines after a lengthy illness. And with Faith, and Hope he’s back to being a confident, thriving, active little boy. So grateful for his season of Fall….
    Thank-you Ashley for your inspiring words.
    Blessings to all,

    Penny

    • Thank you, Penny. Thank you for sharing your story; it’s so important. I love to see how there is such hope on the other side of loss. Praying for you and your little active boy.

  10. Beautiful, Ashley! I always love reading your work, and this message is so important. Thanks for sharing your heart and skill.

  11. This is an incredible insight like music to talk of one’s faith and life.Letting go is the hardest thing I think that man can do…you are right death in the physical n tangible realm does not mean death for those who believe and know and love our Lord…your writing brought much tears but one of not sadness but a realization and understanding that there are others like myself different by experience s events and families but all very human in each and every way making us twins almost in thought n feelings.
    Thanking you for penning it down.

    • Thank you Sheeba for your kind words. Yep, I think we are all going through this death to self and trying to trust Jesus for it and not take his glory. Thanks so much for being here.

  12. Beautiful writing! I am so glad I have found and followed you in blog world. Very encouraging post! What a wonderful way to view Fall. I anticipate its arrival, so I can marvel in the truths you so eloquently described. I am a new blogger. Glad to connect with you!

    • Yay! Thanks for finding and following me, Kristin. Congrats on recently starting blogging. It’s a crazy ride. Thanks for connecting and commenting.

  13. I live in Quebec Canada.
    Read your story. We here
    also have changing leaves.
    What an awesome scene.
    Winter is pretty as well. But
    do not like the windchill.
    Thank goodness for His dying
    for us. One day and that will be
    very very soon, we will be in a land
    that will not have 4 different seasons
    but one continual season … A season
    of continual Beauty. HIS BEAUTY.

    • Quebec is gorgeous. But I hear you on the windchill! When we lived in Scotland, the cold went right through your bones. Thanks for being here and commenting, William. I love what C. S. Lewis says about beauty — that we want to get lost in it — and one day, we will because it won’t be ours, it’ll be God’s.

  14. Ashley,

    I didn’t really have a “fall” close to twenty years. Living in Tampa, FL the seasons don’t change much. For the last twenty years I have been living in the midst of the Smoky Mountains and get to see God’s glorious splendor. I never thought of fall in this way: “Fall showed me most clearly what I’m scared of: That dying is never the end — when we’re dying to ourselves day-in and day-out. There is something mysterious in the golden color change. Fall is the great letting go. I need to let go of me and put more of God in my heart!

    Blessings 🙂

    • Beth, it sounds like the new seasonal change is good for your heart, too. Praying that you’d see God’s goodness and it’d motivate you to let go finger-by-finger.

  15. This is so telling for me, especially on this day, October 8. Nine years ago my dear Mom left us to be with Jesus. It has never gotten easier for me. October has both of our birthdays, the date of her death, the anniversary of a terrible accident my daughter & I was in back in 1999. We laid Mom to rest 2 days before my 50th birthday. Yes, October holds much pain, and heartache but also the only hope of life eternal with our Lord & Savior. I can only imagine the reunion we will have which fills me with such joy. Fall is still my favorite season despite it all.
    Thanks for your comforting words.

    • Oh Pat, thank you for sharing your story. I’m so grateful that my few words met you when and where you needed them to. That is a tremendous privilege. I hope that you can lean in to the pain and comfort this month and Jesus meets you right there.

      • Ashley,
        Thank you again for your comforting words and taking the time to reply. It helps so much.
        Blessings to you!!

  16. Ashley, I was just today thanking the Father for the changing of the leaves and the beauty they display in the Fall. I have always preferred Autumn over the other 3 seasons, and I asked Father why that was. And asked Him if maybe it was because I am now in the Autumn of my years here on earth. I believe it is as you said, Autumn is the death-knell for the trees, as it should be for us as we die to self. But not only that, I see it as a last ‘hurrah’, if you will, for those of us who have more life behind us than in front of us. It is in the Autumn of our lives that we can do more for God’s Kingdom. Our children are grown and gone and so we now have more time to devote to serving our Lord. May others see those glorious change of colors in our lives as we more fully represent the Father to a dying world. Blessings!

    • I think the “autumn of our lives” makes so much sense. I feel like I’ve sort of always been there, even though I suppose I’m in the summer years. Older souls. I love that you are seeing new opportunities to love God and do justice and mercy in his kingdom now with more time. What a gift.

  17. Beautiful, Ashley. You gave me chills this morning. The end of summer always makes me sad, but I do love Fall. You gave me a whole new perspective on why!