Encouragement from a Squirrel’s Nest

Saturday morning at our porch party, the wind whipped around the house, bending the frail-looking Georgia pines. My husband and I wore heavy coats and were covered in blankets. We sat rocking and drinking coffee together.

Of course I was thinking about lots of things.

Some family issues.

The small group at church we’re going to be leading soon.

Writing ideas.

And I was drawn to the strangest sight–

A clump of leaves way up high in the top of a hardwood.

I’d noticed them several weeks ago.

“Look at those leaves in the middle trees. Why are they there?”

“It’s a squirrels’ nest.”

“Isn’t that weird? It didn’t fall–even with all the wind and rain.”

“Yep.”

“And the poor squirrels had to build it with the only things they had. Leaves and twigs.”

“Um-hmm.”

“I bet they didn’t worry or complain. They probably didn’t say, ‘I wish we had a nice box lined with a soft blanket instead of these dumb old leaves’.”

Rick looked at me like where do you come up with this stuff? 

I didn’t care. I had that sweet, warm feeling God was talking to me. 

Later that day, I did some research on squirrels’ nests.

They build their nests with green leaves in the summer. After packing them in tightly, the leaves die and turn brown, and their nests grow even stronger in the winter–just when they need them the most. (Here’s more info on Wikipedia.)

You wouldn’t think squirrels’ nests could possibly work.

A pile of sticks and some leaves.

But they do.

It’s exactly the way God planned it.

When He calls us to do something seemingly impossible–a job, a dream, or even to love someone–He gives us everything we need at just the right time.

And not a moment sooner. 

Have you ever experienced one-leaf-at-a-time kind of faith? Tell me about it! I’d love to hear.

Love,

Julie

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.

Love,

Julie