Happy… seeing white puffy clouds against a clear blue sky, watching chipmunks race lightning speed over huge rocks and running from each other and circling hawks overhead, watching sunsets cast calming shadows over towering Pines… day to you.
ACORNS OF LIFE…
One Leaf at a Time
Dear ‘LB’ friends,
At the very beginning of Life Beats, I mentioned I would tell you of recent but also earlier life events. This is one when my daughter was approximately four years old. I tell you these because the ‘life’ application applies to all of us throughout our life journeys.
My red-haired little girl and I were in our backyard sitting on wooden steps next to a large Ligustrum bush, having a delightful conversation about nature and its glorious beauty. We enjoyed our quiet times of discovery enjoying the gentle breeze.
As we sat conversing and listening to the different birds singing their gay songs, I idly started pushing away accumulated leaves that had fallen from a nearby Oaktree. Underneath the somewhat damp leaves was an acorn sprouting its green growth.
Upon seeing it, I thought it might be a good visual example of our lives. I said, “Honey, do you see this little acorn?” Craning her little neck to see around me, she said “yes.” I responded, “This little acorn is like us in a certain way.”
With a puzzled look in her bright blue eyes, she responded, “Like us? How?”
I replied, holding back the leaves, “This is a baby tree. It doesn’t look like a tree yet. But its roots are growing underneath the acorn. It’s trying to become big and strong. As it gets the proper water, air, and sunshine, it will develop into a tree big enough to one day climb on its branches.” She continued to look at the small acorn, still wondering how she was like a tree.
I continued, “We are like this acorn because, when we are born, we don’t look like an adult but, like the acorn, when we, with the proper food, water, exercise, and especially love, we grow to full size, an adult who can become like a tree of righteousness.*
I continued, “But do you see all the leaves on top of the acorn?” She nodded her curly red hair as I moved the leaves away from the acorn. “Sometimes, as we grow, things happen in our lives that can stop us from becoming a beautiful tree of righteousness and try to bury us just like this acorn is buried by the leaves.”
She looked at me with a question in her deep blue eyes and asked: “Like what?”
I said, “Oh, it can be many things. Like when others are mean to us or hurt us with their words or actions and we get mad and don’t want to forgive them. We can start to get buried under our feelings of anger, resentment, or even hurt.” I then picked a damp leaf off the small acorn and held it in my hand. “It can start out with one angry feeling at a time like one leaf at a time covering the acorn.”
Her little body moved a little closer to me as she gazed ahead as if remembering something. “Like when Victor teases me with worms? I get so mad at him that I don’t want to forgive him sometimes.”
I responded, “Yes, that can be an example.”
She turned her head and looked at me with a question in her eyes. “What do we do?”
I put my arm around her and said, “We ask Jesus to help us with our feelings. We ask Him to help us forgive others and also to forgive us for our angry feelings we have been holding.”
She then lowered her head and prayed, “Jesus, please forgive me for not wanting to forgive Victor when he scares me with worms. I forgive him, and please also help him TO STOP!”
I then gave her a big hug and said, “I am so proud of you. Let me know when Vic tries to scare you, and I will stop it.”
She smiled her infectious smile and, with face beaming, wanted to go in the house to play with her brother, the worm tormentor. Her little heart felt lighter. As I watched her run in and close the door, I lowered my head and prayed, “Father, in the name of Jesus, thank You for showing us the acorn and letting it be an object lesson for us to draw closer to You. Please have Your hand upon my children all the days of their lives to be trees of righteousness for You.”
You might be thinking, “That’s a cute story, but what does it have to do with me?” Just as my daughter, at such a young age, recognized the leaves of resentment and hurt forming around her life as a result of an unjust action to her tender soul, you may have the leaves of hurt, abandonment, thoughtless or purposefully unkind words or actions, or possibly even cruelty experienced from a spouse, employer, parent, sibling, teacher, friend, or stranger layering your soul. The list can be as endless as a human’s ability to hurt. We all have our stories of injustice.
You can do what she did. You can take the offense and the offender to Jesus, asking Him to forgive you for the resentment and maybe even bitterness you feel toward him, her, or them and ask Him to heal you and turn everything out for the good in your life. Scripture declares, “All things work together for the good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.”*
You may think, “Wait a minute, ME, forgive? You don’t know what he (she) did! Why do I have to be the one? If anyone does, he (she) should be the one!” Understandable feelings and God certainly knows what we feel. But He knows what a trap it becomes for us to carry the resentment around in our tender souls. A trap that can progress to sickness or disease. The Scripture in Matthew exhorts us to forgive men (women) their trespasses so our trespasses will be forgiven.*
We don’t think about what we have done wrong (trespasses) during our time of the offense. Our thoughts normally concentrate on the wrongs of others, and it’s understandable why we act the way we do… right? Our thoughts say to us, If It wasn’t because of what he (she) did, I wouldn’t have behaved the way I did! Can you see or feel the leaves layering?
The accumulated leaves can weigh us down, causing sadness or depression. When you do forgive, the leaves slowly start to fall off, sometimes dramatically, other times one leaf at a time as the Lord reveals your heart. I have prayed many leaves off of my soul over the years.
There may be times that you need to have someone to tell of your experience. A caring person you can talk to will be listed at the bottom of this reflection. She can pray with or for you and help you walk through your journey to freedom.
I tell you this short story so you can see there are messages and sermons all around us. We don’t have to wait until Sunday to hear them in church. Just ask the Lord for examples. Then, listen and watch closely; you will be surprised what you find.
*Isaiah 61:3, KJV; *Romans 8:28, KJV; *Matthew 6:14-15, KJV
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on lifebeatscorner.com
©TEXT & PHOTOGRAPHY, NEW VENTURE ARTS
Featured Image by LSD for Society