Tuesday, November 8, 2016

A single red leaf

Walking up the sidewalk to our house this morning was like any other morning after pre-school drop off. Typically I don't pay much attention to anything around me except for what is next on the list. Today was different. 
Right in front of our porch steps something caught my eye. A beautiful red leaf. With it being Fall and November and all, this is to be expected. Leaves are all over our yard and our sidewalk and my porch steps. I sweep them and step on them almost daily. But most of the leaves are brown and yellow, not a vibrant red like this one. 
It stood out. 
It was different.
It was beautiful.

As I walked past, I noticed it and it became a passing thought. I unlocked the door with a baby in my arms who was ready for a nap and heard a still, small voice say, 
"Go take a picture of the leaf". 
Weird, right? 
I almost didn't do it. 
Thankfully, I'm learning to do even the weird things that still, small voice is telling me to do. 
I captured a picture on my phone and went on to put the baby down for her morning nap. 

Driving through town later in the day thoughts started pouring through my mind regarding that single red leaf surrounded by leaves that all look different from it but similar to one another. 

Isn't it eye-catchingly beautiful when we see that single red leaf amidst a slew of yellow and brown ones? Sure, the yellow and brown are beautiful on their own but that spark of red just does something for the human eye and mind. 

God gently told my soul (as I was microwaving my coffee at 3:30pm...hello, mom life) that if I saw that single red leaf as beautiful in its diversity, then why do I try so hard to look like the others around me? 

Girls! It hit me so hard! We, as women...as women of the church, we strive so hard to have the same gifts, the same calling, the same jeans, the same loves, the same "picture-perfect" family as everyone around us...and that is so boring!

There have been seasons of my life when I felt like the only things I was allowed to be "gifted" in was cooking food (a service for others) or babysitting kids (nursery at church or offering services to another mom "in need"). Neither of those give me life. Neither of those things make me come alive! They drain me. But that's what everyone else's gifting looked like. That's what others told me "I should" be doing. So, I did. 

No longer. 

There is so much beauty in being that single red leaf. 
In pursuing the gifts God graced me with. Graced you with! 

If we all pursue the same things. If we all look the same. Like the leaves in my yard we become dead and unnoticeable. But, if we are a spark of life like that single red leaf...if we use the gifts that bring us life then how much more can we bring life to others...how much more can the work of Holy Spirit be noticed in our lives! 

"Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good."
1 Corinthians 12:4-7

Varieties of gifts, services, and activities. But all given for the common good (the sake of building the church! and sharing the gospel to an unredeemed world!) by the same Spirit! 

We so often look around and feel as if we are not enough. Everyone is better. We should be doing what "so-and-so" is doing because it gets her affirmation and applause and isn't that what we all want? 

Here's a new perspective--
God is already applauding you.
He is already affirming you. 

So go with him.
Don't follow man's applause and be those boring yellow leaves that are abundant simply because everyone wants to be the yellow leaf that's getting applause from men. 
Follow Holy Spirit.
Follow the life giver...the gift giver. 
Be that single red leaf in a swirl of yellow ones.
Be the woman living her calling, pursuing her gifts, and serving others the way God calls you to for the sake of His kingdom. 
Don't despise your gifts and strive for those you don't have. 
Lean into your giftedness and seek God's face as to how He wants you to use it in whatever season you are in. If you ask Him and earnestly listen, He will tell you. And when He does, run after it with everything you have. 

Our time on earth is too short to be a yellow leaf.
Our calling from Scripture is to use the variety of gifts God has given us 
NOT to long for the ones we don't have. 

God needs each of us women.
God needs each of our daughters.
He needs our daughters to see us using our gifts rather than despising them and speaking life into their gifts (even the ones we don't understand...or maybe even ones we don't like). 
Be that spark of life.
That eye-catchingly beautiful single red leaf. 

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