A Connoisseur of Grace


Sundresses and Sweaters

Autumn arrived in my town last week. I noticed when I did the laundry. How else could I explain the wardrobe shift?

As I hung clean clothes on the rod that my awesome husband installed next to the dryer, I noticed my blue eyelet sundress hanging right between a pair of green corduroy jeans and a red cotton sweater– here in Southern California, we don’t break out the wool until January.

If it hadn’t been for the rain, I would have missed it. A week ago Sunday, it reached 84 degrees; we spent the day with windows flung wide open, both at our little hilltop church and our canyon home. Wednesday, it rained and the temperature never cleared the mid-60s. Last Sunday, we opened windows again, welcoming fresh air and sunshine that brought us to 79 degrees.
I used to joke that our region is characterized by an absence of weather. Now I say that our weather is for connoisseurs: the shifts are subtle. Our average high in January is 66 degrees. In August, the average high is 99. You have to be on the lookout for signs when the annual thermometer swing is so narrow. 
Like sundresses and sweaters in the same week’s laundry.  
Or sycamores dropping their leaves. 
Or Christmas decorations arriving in the shops.
It would be easier to note the change if it were dramatic. I imagine going to sleep one night with windows open, blankets thrown back, as the trees outside slip into autumn robes under cover of darkness. The morning  air, crisp like winesaps, would be the sign of fall, calling me to yank the blankets up tight to my chin. 
We don’t get that here. 
Sometimes I long for the spectacular transformation, not in the weather, but in my heart. I want a revelation. I want to be Cleopas, breaking bread in Emmaus on that first Easter. 
I want a change so big it wakes me from my sleep.
It hasn’t come yet. And that’s okay. Because as much as I would love an astonishing moment like that, I can feel the changes coming. My heart may not yet be wholly flesh, but it’s a whole lot less stony than it used to be. 
As surely as our season is shifting, I am being remade. 
This transformation–my transformation–teaches me patience. And it makes me a connoisseur of His grace.

3 B)’>my every prayer for you all, 5 in view of your C)’>participation in the E)’>from the first day until now.6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until , Luke 24, patience, Philippians 1, seasons, waiting


  1. I love this and need to go read the story about Cleopas, now.

    If God changed us all at once, our little heads would pop off, so you’re right; He works with gentleness, and very gradually. But what I love is that, occasionally, I’ll do say or do something after which I’ll pause and reflect: holy cow! I never thought I’d be someone who’d do something so church-ladylike! And I know it’s the same with you, Sheila.

    He is transforming us, and I see Him all over you! 🙂

  2. Brandee,
    You are right. Such wisdom in this:
    “Our little heads would pop off.”

    I am smiling here in the left-coast dawn.

    I see Him all over you, too 🙂

  3. “A connoiseur of his grace.” Lovely! There’s joy in the journey.

    Currently I live in Missouri (though I’m a Washington State girl through and through) and this is that time of year we have summer and fall clothes all mixed together in our closets and laundry baskets. 🙂


  4. A visitation from God usually comes at an unexpected moment. And often only a nudge or whisper. It would be great if we were to experience floods, torents, warmth, flashes of light in our spiritual experience, but it is like the seasons, not daily, and probably not annually but enought.
    You live in a mild climate place, and that is often how our spiritual walk is.

  5. So true, Hazel.

  6. Ah, Sheila, this is beautiful. Though the seasons swing wide here, my inner shifting is much more subtle too. But, like you, I see the signs.

  7. Oh my goodness! Brandee is so right about our heads popping off.

    But Sheila…I think your heart is way more flesh than you imagine. I do.

  8. Thank you, Laura.

  9. Isn’t she, Deidra? I think she needs to write a post about that!

    Thanks for reading.