My Leaf…My Life

Walking down our driveway last week, I spotted the most beautiful leaf. She stood out from the rest. Red. Star-shaped. I decided to make leaf place cards for my Thanksgiving table. I’d choose a leaf for every family member and paint each person’s name on their own special leaf.

This red leaf would be mine.

Heading up the front porch steps, I grabbed a fake orange leaf from the wreath on the door.

Comparing the two leaves, the red one wasn’t so perfect-looking. Little holes dotted her. Parts of her body were torn off.

She’d been through some hard times.

What was I thinking? She’d make a pitiful place card.

I flipped her over. The other side was worse.

Then I examined the artificial leaf. She was perfect. No dark spots. No rips. Shiny.

I decided to use artificial leaves. One at every place setting.

Then a gentle thought came.

Put the real leaf in front of the candle, God seemed to say. Look closer.

The candlelight shines through the holes. Makes her color even brighter

Difficult times in my life came to mind. Burying our baby boy. Daddy dying with brain cancer. My year of depression. Hard things family members are dealing with right now…

I see all your broken and tender places. Torn edges. Scars.

These are the VERY SPOTS where My Light shines brightest.

We’ll have real leaves on our Thanksgiving table this year–one at each place setting.

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 NIV

My dear readers, what does your leaf (your life) look like? I’m praying for you.





  1. Julie, how beautiful. Reading this I’m completely relating to your red leaf…love the light shining through and your wisdom xo

  2. Anna Haney says:

    God is using you again. Last night (and you may have seen it) I posted a list of all the prayer concerns and sorrows that were going on with people I love—one awaiting a heart transplant, some who are dealing with sick parents, others who have lost sisters, parents, grandparents, At first, I was saddened by this list, but then I realized how God has been glorified in all those circumstances. People have come together in prayer, In the lives of those who have passed, God was a major part. Yes, there have been problems and there are still sorrows, but the one constant all of us have is God and His love. Thank you, dear friend. Much love, Anna

    • Anna–that’s exactly what I’m talking about. And sometimes during the middle of it, we can’t always see Him. Sometimes it’s only in retrospect that we see how His hands were right there with us through other people’s love.

      You’ll never know how much your encouragement means to me….just to know that my words connect with your heart…OXOXOX

  3. Artificial leaves are so… fake. Same with people. And sometimes it takes the Light Of The World to show us the difference. What a beautiful conclusion you were led to, Julie. Keep your brightly shining “leaf” where He can shine through — never hide it under a basket.

    On the other hand, if I wish to have some gorgeous red leaves here on my Thanksgiving table, they have to be from JoAnn’s or cut from construction paper… 😉 (we gots green, yellowed or brown…)

    • Melody, I’d never realized how fake artificial leaves look until I compared it to the real red leaf. Unbelievable. True–thought about not hiding my light for the Scripture on this one, almost went with it.

      And I’m thinking by Thanksgiving, all our leaves might have turned crispy. Might have to go to JoAnn’s too!


      • Well, there’s always pine — it’s so versatile. (I even have 2 pine trees.)
        In my apartment-dwelling days I had a Jewish neighbor who ALWAYS ordered lemon branches/leaves from the florist whenever she entertained.
        My problem is, my tables are always so full of food there’s no room for decorations. (You can tell what’s most important to my guys, huh?) And lately, because of everyone gathering to our space, we’ve gone to buffet-style served off the bar & kitchen counters — so we don’t even make the place settings pretty any more. 🙁

        • Melody, I always put my food all over the kitchen counter and do the buffet-style thing too. And in Georgia, we have SO many pine trees– they’re everywhere–they’re everywhere! Lemon branches–now that sounds wonderful!!

          Happy Early Thanksgiving–still waiting until closer to time to pluck my real leaves of the real trees. 🙂

  4. I love when Jesus shines through, especially in those moments we don’t realize it. 🙂 But without the tears and holes, He can’t shine through them. ;o)

  5. Brenda Greene says:

    Beautiful post Sweet Julie!! Love, love, love those beautiful leaves also and the wonderful analogy you connected there. However I find once I “gather” those lovely leaves, enjoy their beauty, and marvel over God’s amazing creativity….they turn brown, dry, and blow away as dust. Big sigh.

    Therefore, I love “fake” ones too; their bright colors continue to remind me of the “real” ones God creates each and every year of my life thus far!! Just walked the quarter mile to mail some letters and snapped a few pictures of the leaves that have finished their journey and fallen from the trees for me to snap,crackle,pop through! That was fun too!!

    Thank you for reminding us to always look for God in the most ordinary things. Headed downstairs where Hubby has a bubbling pot of spaghetti I’m going to dive into!! Life is good…God is better!

    • Brenda, I don’t know why, but ordinary things, to me, seem huge. They always have. One day I’ll have to blog about what ants taught me as a child.

      Love that you took a walk through the crunchy leaves! I forgot they make sounds. 🙂

      I may have to get fake ones for our table…if the real ones don’t hang on for two more weeks. We’ll see. Hoping for real.

      Yum! Spaghetti made by a sweet husband! Happy Fall.

  6. What a beautiful message, Julie…..thank you for posting this.

    • You’re so welcome, Rita. Thanks for letting me know you’re reading. 🙂 Blessings to you and yours.

  7. Huh, God and nature are at it again, showing us the beauty in all that is around us. You have a knack for seeing it. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  8. Georgia says:

    Julie: What a touching post today. Thank you so much for sharing.

  9. Patricia Martin says:

    I loved your blog, Julie! It was just what I needed to hear today! You remind me of a butterfly-strong and beautiful. People and leaves share so much of the same qualities; similar and yet very different. (: Please pray for me as my teacher grades my math exam today . God bless you and your family!

  10. Kim says:

    You are making me think again Julie. I read and then dwell on your thoughts and words. Come back later and write a response.

    I am reminded that through our individual experiences, we all look different, just like the leaves. Our imperfections are all unique and God shines through us and our spots in different ways.

    • I love making people think, Kim…in a gentle way.

      Exactly!!!! And even our imperfections, our flaws, our bad decisions, if we allow Him to, God shines through!

      So glad you let me know.

  11. WOW, what an awesome reminder of the beauty God makes out of our weak and broken parts. Yes, I can see the light shining through Julie, thank you!!

  12. Beautiful post, Julie. Sweetgum leaves are my favorite for lots of reasons. They’re star-shaped and they turn different colors, even on the same tree (red, orange and yellow). And I use the gumballs to put in fall arrangements. I volunteer at an elementary school and we do leaf rubbings in the fall. We always talk about how the bug holes and other flaws give the leaves character.

    • I don’t know much about which trees produce what sort of leaves, Jennie. I should do some research. Love that you “got” this post!!!! I bet your arrangements are exquisite!


  13. I look forward to clicking on the links to your posts every time they pop up on Facebook. What a gift you have of words and pictures, Julie. Thank you for sharing!

    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack in everything
    That’s how the light gets in.
    – Leonard Cohen

    • Ohhh, thanks Patrick. Every week, after I post I have a flicker of concern…God, if You don’t help me this week, I won’t have anything for next week. I’m just beginning to discover a tiny corner of His creativity and faithfulness.

      Writing down these words by Leonard Cohen.

      Thank you!!

  14. Julie Gilleand says:

    Maybe that is what it means where scripture says (via John the Baptist), “He must increase, I must decrease”. The places in our lives where holes have been torn seem to diminish our lives or some part of of it, but maybe we are becoming less so He can become more in us and through us — His light shining through all those holes and gaping wounds.

    Thanks for sharing, my fellow leaf-friend 🙂

    Other Julie

  15. Sandra Walker says:

    Thanks. That was perfect.

  16. Lujene Greene Clark says:

    You are a beautiful writer. So glad to find you again. I moved back to Georgia to care for my parents after my husband passed away.

    • Hey, Lujene! So good to hear from you. I’m lifting you in prayer right now…that He’ll be your Strength and Hope–especially in this season.

      All my love.

  17. Beautiful application, Julie! I couldn’t help but compare it to my real life with Christ vs the fake one we sometimes want others to see; real beauty with all its life marks vs the fake beauty of alteration; real love of people and God’s Word vs fake love of stuff and the culture.

    Thank you!

    • Ohh, that’s good, Vonda. Yes!!!! Love it. Now I need to find another leaf to teach that Truth.


  18. Thank you so much for your great post and pictures are really very awesome. Great post.

    • Thank you so much, Anne! I’ve taken a two-hour photography class–still have a lot to learn, but my heart’s in every picture!


Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.