I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the season of fall. You see, here in Michigan it’s my favorite season. Baking, cooler weather, sweatshirts, jeans, crunchy leaves, bonfires, and kids back to school. Except the year is 2020, so some of these things are a bit different. I find myself turning to my faith to see if I can reconcile the thoughts and feelings swirling around. The leaves are beginning to change, as they do each year. This year, I noticed something significant. Actually, my husband said driving one day, “How come some leaves change so quickly, and others take a bit longer?” At the time I didn’t think much. In fact, I gave him the science answer about photosynthesis I’d learned in one of the many classes I had taken. Not until days later on a walk did I really look at the trees. Some had brown leaves, some still had green, some were half changed, some were yellow, some were red…each tree has its own unique characteristics. I kept thinking about how God creates each of us, uniquely and wonderfully in our mothers’ wombs. And each leaf is made by Him in the same way-individually. How awesome is our God that He made you and I and every single leaf on this planet? Those thoughts alone are mind-boggling and humongous.
Then as only God can, He took me down the path of how we are each transformed. You see, not long ago I wasn’t sure I believed in this big God – this God that created each of us and everything. He has a plan for us and He knows when we will come back to Him. So it’s much like the trees. Some change a lot, very quickly, some change slowly, some wither and drop their leaves, some stay green for as long as possible. Some become so vibrant they are hard to look at, almost too beautiful. Some quietly do their thing, never drawing attention to themselves. Isn’t this so true of people? Some of us know God our whole lives, never question Him, some of us take the long way around, some of us will never know His love, some of us dance to our own beat drawing all attention our way, some of us patiently keep learning little by little and finally get it. And through all of this God remains the same, unwavering in His love and steadfastness. He allows each tree to do its thing, and in the spring most of them earn new leaves, over and over, year after year. So if He can do that for a tree…imagine how patient He is with you and me.
And all the trees will know that it is I, the Lord, who cuts the tall tree down and makes the short tree grow tall. It is I who makes the green tree wither and gives the dead tree new life. I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will do what I said!Ezekiel 17:24 NLT
I’ve wondered many times why God gives me the same hard stuff over and over. You know the feeling. You’ve made the same mistake again or walked into a similar situation as your past. Why? Why because there is more, more to learn. The tree gets leaves again every year – she tries again. She might change differently this year. Maybe this year she loses her leaves quickly, or maybe she changes color slowly, maybe the wind takes everything away so fast she’s left shaking. It is so similar to us. Some lessons bear repeating, some lessons take us a little deeper each time, some lessons get a new spin. For me, it’s in my work positions that I have had tough lessons over and over. Hurt happens and I wonder “Why this again?” This time, as I’ve grown to understand I am a child of God, I am seeing how each time before brought me closer to where/who I am now. I have walked through years with a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder diagnosis after a workplace investigation and even more recently hurts that opened old wounds. In the beginning, I did not know God, we didn’t have a relationship, yet He pursued my heart for years. Finally showing me that I am His daughter (tales for another day). He takes us through the changes, just like the trees. He knows how the season will go for you and for me, and He knows how it looks in the spring. We’ll be a little taller, have more branches, deeper roots, stronger limbs, a bigger heart, and our leaves will change when He moves us into the next season. Prepare your heart it may happen over and over.