Friday, October 24, 2008

My Leaf Story

This is the story I've been wanting to tell about the picture of the leaf I posted a few weeks ago. It unfolds over the course of a few weeks and is a little long, which has made me hesitate to post it, but it's something I want to share, so I'll just hope the details aren't too overwhelming. It sort-of has two parts that came together one day and made a third, more wonderful, part. Or maybe it's all a part of one big whole. :-) Who knows. But, here it is.....


The first part happened one night a couple months ago when I went for a walk in my neighborhood and my family left while I was gone and, thinking I had a key, they locked the door. I had no key- so I was locked out for about 1/2 hour waiting for them and spent the time in the driveway praying and singing to myself (softly, of course). It was dusk, or right thereafter. I was going through a pretty hard time emotionally and seeing stars in the sky, I sang the lyrics to a Tenth Avenue North song, "Could the Maker of the stars, hear the sound of my breaking heart?" I looked across the street and noticed in the silhouette of a tree that was dark against the sky, the outline of a shape of a heart near the top, as if the branches were forming a heart. I'm practical and I thought to myself, "Well, that answers that question". :-) I praised God for his love and nearness.

A couple days later, I was at Jacob's soccer practice about that same time of day and this time, listening to worship music on my MP3 player, on a whim, searched the trees for hearts and saw TWO hearts overlapping in two tall trees that were standing side-by-side. Again I praised God for his love and journaled about all of this later that night. Like Mary, I treasured this all in my heart.

That's part one. In part two, I was reading my bible in the middle of the night one night and reading in Jeremiah... I read this verse... Jeremiah 17:7-8, "Blessed are those who trust in the Lord... they are like trees planted along a riverbank with roots that reach deep into the water... they never stop producing fruit". Well, that reminded me of Psalm 1, which I had recently memorized... so I recited it to myself, "Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked... But his delight is in the law of the LORD,...He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither".
I enjoyed the "coincidence" for a minute and then got distracted a while and ended up flipping to Revelation, near the end, where it talks about Jesus coming on a white horse and the glory of heaven.... and I read this: Revelation 22:2, "On each side of the river (that flows from God's throne), grew a tree of life- bearing 12 crops of fruit with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations".Well, this was just too much of a coincidence- I knew this theme about trees planted by streams was somehow something God was trying to communicate to me. I just didn't completely understand it. Still, I enjoyed him speaking and journaled about it, treasured it in my heart once again.

Part three starts around the beginning of this month ... I was at church and we were singing the song that goes, "Flowing from His throne, there is a river... bringing life and health wherever it goes...." and I realized that it came from Revelation and really spoke to my little theme from that middle-of-the-night time with God. When I got home that night, after a tense time at church, I couldn't sleep- I grabbed what I thought was MY bible from the end table and went back to bed and read the last few chapters of Revelation again, really meditating on that river and the trees and the leaves that are for healing. I had not, in fact, grabbed my own bible, but Sarah's. Sarah has a "Backpack Bible" for kids and it has little devotionals in it and after reading Revelation and dreaming of heaven a bit.... I turned to one of the devos and it was about eating your lunch and giving your body fuel to grow, etc. Nothing special until I saw the verses they quoted to go with the devo: Psalm 1:1-3! (see above). I had one of those moments where I just sat up straight and said to God, "Okay, God, what are you trying to tell me?" I still wasn't completely sure, but I prayed that I would plant myself by his stream and stay there. I went to sleep feeling very close to God.

So- it's not over. The next morning, I emailed my friend Lisa (who I had previously told about the hearts in the trees) and told her all that I had been thinking, starting with the song at church and my bible reading the previous night.... and then.... I left the computer and went outside for a walk in the neighborhood. As I was enjoying the beautiful cool temperatures and the sunshine, I started to think about the trees by the water, the leaves not withering and then JUST as I started to tie that into the whole hearts-in-the-trees thing and wonder about the connection, I looked down and that is when I saw the leaf with the heart "painted" on it-- the one I blogged about a few weeks ago. I have to stop here and say that God is just so awesome- so caring- so involved in the details... I meant it when I said that if you don't know him- you should. The more I give myself to Him, the more incredible I find Him to be. You'd think the story was over, but it wasn't quite... I skipped home with my gift from God and took a picture of it. I opened my email to send the picture to Lisa and before I could do that, I had an email waiting from her that said:


I was about to flip my calendar over but when I noticed this saying, it reminded me of what you just sent, so I’ll pass it along:“We see God reaching out to us in every wind that blows, every sunrise and sunset, every cloud in the sky…and every leaf that fades.”~ Oswald Chambers


Wow! I couldn't believe it! :-) I felt God so near in that moment and I felt so in love with Him that it actually hurt! I serve the most loving, creative, artistic, faithful, amazing, big, attentive, patient, long-suffering, forgiving, trustworthy, perfect God. He is all around and we can't miss Him if we are looking... I am so grateful I was "looking" that day!


To honor and preserve this gift from God, I created this today:





Here is each panel up close (the leaf is only a picture of the leaf, not the actual leaf):


That's the story so far. Knowing God, it's not over...




4 comments:

Lisa said...

I absolutely love what you did with your leaf stuff--both in words and in the frame. It's a great story of God's love--thanks for putting it all together and sharing Him with us. He is indeed awesome. Can't wait to see what is next...

Misty said...

Very cool story! It's amazing how God speaks to us when we take the time to stop and listen! The picture frame is great. Very creative of you!! :-)

Kristy said...

That is so beautiful Brenda! I love what you did with the leaf in the frame (and by the way - that looks like the actual leaf to me). I don't think I could be so creative! Thank you for sharing your sweet interaction with our amazing God. I am so happy for you that He showed His love for you - in ways you couldn't miss.

Elsie said...

After reading your interesting story, I went immediately to my Bible to find more verses on hearts, and it opened to II Peter 1:19. It says, “We have also a more sure word of prophesy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your heart.” Then I found Proverbs 28:26 which says, “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.” That lead me to Philippians 4:7 with “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” As I studied these verses and others, my vision of the heart was clearer and even redefined. For that, “I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will show forth all thy marvelous works” (Psalm 9:1).