I missed it.
One Monday in late October, I walked out the front door of my house and I noticed the trees were changing colors. I decided that morning I would take a photo of the trees every day for a month and document the change as it happened.
Before driving the boys to school, I’d walk out to the street, take my photo and go about my day. I did it every day for about fourteen days.
On the fifteenth day, I created a little video montage of all my photos. As I watched it back, I couldn’t see anything. I was underwhelmed. All my efforts to capture the leaf change seemed to be in vain. I sang that tune from the Price is Right when the contestant loses the showcase, “whomp, whomp, whompppp.”
The next morning, instead of taking my photo, I just hopped in the car and drove off. Subconsciously, my little experiment had ended I suppose. I didn’t take any more photos.
And that’s when I missed it.
Two weeks later, I walked out the front door once again to take the boys to school. The sun was bright and warm overhead and a gentle breeze was blowing. I looked up at the trees and they were BEAUTIFUL! I pointed them out to the boys. They half-heartedly agreed, “Yeah mom, they look good.” I walked out to the street and took a photo. Actually, I took ten. They were just amazing to me. But when did this happen? And how did I miss it?
Impatience, that’s how. I know this about myself. I like instant grits, pop tarts, prebaked cookies, minute rice. If there’s a way to get it fast, that’s the way I want it.
So when it came to the trees, I wanted the change to happen quickly. I wanted to see evidence of the change. I wanted to see tangible progress every day. And when I didn’t see it, I quit. When the change was subtle, I gave up. When the change was happening on the inside, not the outside, I stopped paying attention.
And that’s how I missed it.
The Lord was working slowly on my trees. Each day, a few of the interior leaves would get a little lighter. Each day, green would transition to red and red to orange and orange to yellow. Each day, the process was happening. Each day, I was supposed to watch and wait with expectancy. Each day, He worked, right before my eyes. Each day, for two weeks, I missed it.
But, by the Lord’s grace, I didn’t miss all of it. I’ve been taking photos every day this week and it has been so rewarding! The trees were so vibrant and colorful.
On Thursday, the branches began to release the leaves. The ground was covered with red, orange and yellow leaves. I had to wade through them each morning to get to my car.
One afternoon, the toddlers next door had a great time gathering and tossing and sorting the leaves. And, of course, I took more photos.
Then, today, I went out the door to check the tree’s progress. Just about every leaf has fallen off and the trees have sung their last song of the fall. I like to imagine they are silently preparing and rehearsing for their spring performance.
I laughed when I realized my Bible Study Fellowship lesson for this week was from Psalm 19.
1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
3 They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
I often find myself smiling when I finally notice the ways the Lord draws me to Himself. In the mundane routine of taking the boys to school in the morning, He inserted Himself. He made those trees sing and dance and tell me He loves me day after day. Some days I listened. Some days I ignored Him. And yet, He continued to draw me.
More than that, He orchestrated the rainiest October in recent history. This gave the trees the nourishment they would need to hold on to the leaves longer than they have in all the years we have lived here. This would allow the leaves to change to colors I’ve never seen before.
He knew that’s what it would take for me to hear Him. He knew I would grow weary with my routine. He knew I would need a morning pep talk. He knew just what tune to sing to get my attention. He knew. He sang. I heard Him.
The trees have no speech, no word, no sound, yet the Lord spoke to me through them.
How is the Lord singing to you? Where is He moving in your ordinary day? Where is He smiling at you and saying, “Hey, girl hey! I see you. I love you. Keep going. I’m here.”
Don’t miss it. Open your eyes and listen.