Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sunday Afternoon Tea - Lessons from the forest

For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Isiah 55:12

I talked to the forest this week.  Not loud enough for the neighbors who live across the gravel lane from the forest to hear, of course.  However, I'm certain the trees heard it.  God did.

The forest is mostly various shades of green and gold at the moment.  There are few shades of red, although it is possible that there will be a short explosion of color to come later.  I've seen it happen before in "off color" seasons.  Much like the forest is apologizing that it can't provide color for very long but it works hard and gives us a few gorgeous days.

I had walked down the lane to check the mailbox when something made me stop by the forest and just take it all in.  The aroma of the forest in Fall is, I think, my very favorite.  It has that musty smell of fallen leaves and wet sod and honestly, I can understand why the Celtic lands write about seeing fairies in the forest.

October brings about a magic... Narnia magic... which easily makes one with an imagination think they can see into that world.  Perhaps it was the Octobers of England that inspired Lewis and Tolkien and Wordsworth and so many favorite writers.

October in the forest reminds me of both the process of dying and the hope of the Resurrection.  That is why I was talking to the forest... but really to the God who created the trees.  The One that made the deciduous trees to lose their leaves as they get tired and old and at the end of their appointed journey.  Even in their dying they give joy.

The forest doesn't weep for the losses, the trees know this is their natural process.  Without the leaves falling to the ground and becoming compost for the land, there would not be the needed nutrients for the new growth of Spring.  No, instead God wove into the circle of life I think the best part of it... that amazingly other worldly look and feel of an October forest.

The sunlight shining through the leaves made for beautiful images in the camera lens.  Short bursts of light seen only through the lens as it reflected in the scenery that day.  It is the light that makes it beautiful.  The forest at night is something I avoid.  It is quite dark and unsettling and sometimes scary and always alive with sounds.  While I know in my heart they are made by small furry animals with four paws... one's imagination can easily be swayed to more sinister inhabitants.

Sometimes my circumstances are more like the forest at night than the lovely days when light is streaming through golden leaves.  That is why I was talking to the trees.  I was thanking them... and not being a Druid, actually the God who created them... for the lessons they provide those of us whom Lewis calls daughters of Eve and sons of Adam.  We can learn much through nature.

It has been a month when the income was less than the outgo and I was still too tired to clean the deck "garden".  My husband's personality was being affected by the leaf mold he is so allergic to and my eye was still too blurry to read easily and honestly, I was just plain tired.

Just before stopping to enjoy the forest, I had been talking to God on a different level.  Just a chat with the Father to tell Him... as if He didn't already know... that life gets hard at times.  I had recently watched a documentary about a missionary couple who was affecting Zimbabwe for the Lord and reading about the work once again that Katie is doing in Uganda and comparing myself to those who do great things for the Gospel of Christ.

I'm sure that it was Him who put in my mind to walk down the lane to check the mail right then.  Just as the sunlight was streaming through the forest.  To gaze upon the trees who were at the end of their journey but remain such a vital part of the forest as a whole.  Not to mention that they are their most lovely at this part of their seasonal cycle.

Okay, God... I see what you are teaching me.  I talked to the forest and to Him.  Each season has its' own Beauty and each season of the forest and of life contains what it needs for where it is right now.  Today.  Where we are on our journey.

The trees are not looking back at April when they were sprouting their first chartreuse leaves, nor were they nostalgic for their fullness in July.  They were content in this season of October so much that the scenery they created and the scent they provided caused one to stop and fill up their senses with the sights and sounds and smells of the forest.

I realized that I cannot compare myself to anyone else in God's eyes.  I am uniquely made (and my children shout, Amen!!) and when I stand before Him to give account of my life, He will not judge me by the accomplishments He expected from another person.

He didn't call me to Africa or to walk the Mission Trail in California or to preach in stadiums like Billy Graham.  He called me to be faithful in the small things, to know His Word, and to accomplish what was set before me in my own journey.

His Word is truly a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.  It keeps me grounded and wise and not easily deceived by the whispers of the enemy of my soul. For those who have accepted Christ as their Savior, the coming Spring will be far better than anything experienced before.

Like the trees, we will not look back on our previous days of glory for they cannot compare to what He says is awaiting us.  The Bible says it is far beyond anything we can ask or think... and I'm pretty good at thinking.

We are to be content to do what we can, with what we have been gifted, in our own season of life. Just like the forest, God is not asking us to do anything but reflect His glory in our days... and to trust Him in all things.  I don't know about you but that brings great peace to my soul.

Image:  The view of one small area of the forest last week.


Sandi said...


Ann said...

I wonder often what I'm supposed to be doing in these slower years of my life, what impact am I having for the Kingdom, what value the things I do every day. And then my baby granddaughter comes to play with Grammie and Grampy for a few hours most weekday mornings to give her mom a little time for herself and I see her eyes light up and know that there is great value in this time we share with her. And our life example for her mom and dad is something that young people (not yet believers) need in this day and age. And so I leave it in God's hands that He will put us where He wants us and show us what to do.

Anonymous said...

"I talked to the forest this week." ~ I Love it!! I love your analogy! This really spoke to my heart, where I am at this point in my journey, too. I've been asking God, lately, "What now?" as I had to give up a position and ministry at my church and feel kind of forgotten and like I've been put on the shelf, so to speak. I took on the role of babysitting for my new baby grandson two days a week and have little energy left at the end of the day, for anything else! I know this is a special time with him and I'm cherishing it. It kind of reminds me of being a new Mom, when it seems like all you do is take care of the little ones. They reap the benefits in the long run, however. I waited so long to be a Grandma, so I guess this is my new "ministry" for now! Thank-you for sharing your perspective. You are touching lives of people you probably won't meat until we all get to the other side!
Hugs and Blessings,
Laura C(WA)

Vee said...

Brenda, this is so thoughtfully written and beautifully shared...yes, trees don’t fret about pushing out leaves or fruit. When we abide in Him, He takes care of all those things. Taking time before I leave here to pray for your husband’s healing from allergies and for your eye.

Father God, Brenda shares her heart and the truths of Your Word week after week and I ask that her faithfulness be rewarded in ways that only You can do. Touch this couple and bring comfort and continued healing to them from allergies and eye ailments and the bigger even more troublesome afflictions. I ask it In the Name of Your Son Who died on that cross for everything that we will ever need. Amen.

Love to you!

Bonnie said...

Very well said, Brenda!

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

Yes, amen.

We are study a book called "Ordinary. Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World" by Michael Horton. It's really good and your post reminds me of it.

Amy said...

Brenda-this really struck a chord with me as it so very often does. God has used your words...your experiences...your outlook many times to bless me..comfort and reassure me. Rest assured you have incredible value to many of us. Thank God for you!

Anonymous said...

Very nicely said, Brenda. Love your way with words. Pam (SD)