Saturday, May 16, 2009

Looking for Leaves

Freely you have received, freely give. (Matthew 10:8)

She asked me one night if I'd go for a walk with her around the block soon. A few months ago, we found a leaf in the back yard that didn't match any of our trees, so she was curious (oh, she is so curious) to seek out the matching tree. Nevermind that we lost that odd leaf long ago. I told her we'd go the next night, but for good measure she wrote "take a walk with MK" on a sticky note and put it where I'd see it.

Before tomorrow came, she was given a homework assignment to collect different leaves from her yard or neighborhood. Providential timing! Once daddy got home to us from work, MK and I zipped out the door for our walk. She brought along a purple plastic basket in which to put our leaf finds. Out the door, and into one of those experiences you want to freeze forever in your heart and mind...

She took my hand - a gesture that is precious coming from this little one - and we headed down the sidewalk. With the sun blazing, and the wind whipping, we began looking all around for leaf specimens.

With eyes, mind, body that never stop, she moved along. I say moved along, because it was walking, skipping, hopping...moving! Joy to be outside, joy to be alone with mom, joy to have no boundaries for a bit.

She asked me to reach for leaves too high for her. Then she ran over to investigate a stump around which random weeds and wildflowers had shot up. This fascinated MK.

Down the long, straight stretch of sidewalk leading to the mailboxes, she really took off. That's when I began trying to soak in the moment, watching her zip ahead of me, hair flying in the crazy wind.

We crossed the street, still headed toward the mailboxes, and she asked me if she could run-hop. But of course you can! She was eager to see if there might be some different trees further down. Off came her shoes and she went down into the grass by the sidewalk. "Oh mommy, this grass is soft. Take your shoes off and feel it!" She sat in it, barefoot, caressing it with her hands, in a little bit of awe. I took my flip-flops off and felt that soft, cool grass, too, mostly loving her delight in it.

After gathering some leaves around the mailbox area, we headed home. She was content. She was....happy. Unusually expressive and exuberant. Reliving it does something very good for my heart.

Slowly, gently, God is teaching me to die more to myself, and pour into others the love He has given to me. How tight, constricted, and self-protecting I am when I feel my last bit of energy or strength or free time might be taken by someone. How unloving, really.

Didn't He "empty Himself of all but love" (And Can It Be? 3rd stanza)? I'm finding that as I trust Him to fill me, I am willing to give that last bit Oh, please don't think I'm good at this. I am falling all over myself, but by His grace I'm learning the difference between the right way and the wrong way and the right way sure does feel better. It feels better because it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). It is better because it is Him transforming my heart more and more into His likeness, for His glory.

For whoever wants to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for me will find it. (Matthew 16:25)


  1. And so often I feel empty, yet in my stubbornness I choose not to look to the Spirit to be filled. Yes, it is just as easy for me to wallow in my emptiness as it is for the Father to fill me...

    Beautiful story. What a gift from the Father to have that special time with your pixie.

  2. As you may have guessed, I'm ecstatic that you are blogging again. We don't get to talk enough and this is a wonderful way for me to keep up with you. Reading your words about Madeline was almost as good as being there and seeing her joy myself.

    I love the look of the blog too. I studied the look for a long time, thinking that I never would have thought of this color combination, but it works beautifully. The banner with your photographs is both colorful, textural and interesting. Welcome back!