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DEVOTION

The Autumn Bouquet

By Missey Butler
Guest Writer

CBN.com -- As a young girl growing up in the South, it was customary to experience what we call Indian summers. The warm days that would linger on into the months of September and sometimes October.

During those extended periods of seasonal temperatures, you could usually find me perched high atop one of the many large apple, maple, or oak trees that graced our two-acre family home. Life was fairly simple then -- at least that’s how it seemed for this former tomboy who much preferred a catcher’s mitt over playing with Barbie doll’s any day.

My entire summer wardrobe consisted of blue jeans, T-shirts, and a red celery stalk rubber band that nicely gathered up my blonde locks into a bouncy ponytail. Yep, back then it was just me and my love affair with trees. To this day my brothers still talk about how I used to “live” in the trees and how I had the scarred-up elbows and knees to prove it.

Looking back, I realize how those grand old trees must have been somewhat of a sanctuary for me. Besides offering a great view and a cool shade, I honestly believe I was just trying to get a closer look at the ‘God of the sky’, the God I had been hearing so much about from my Sunday school lessons.

I could always sense His presence whenever I held a large, golden maple leaf and gazed at it in curious wonder while lying in the crook of a large limb. I was fascinated by the tiny veins of sap that crisscrossed on its surface and the teeny-tiny critters that gathered inside the foliage. I would patiently watch as an inch worm continually re-gathered himself as he humpity-humped his way e-v-e-r so slowly toward an over-ripened apple that was barely hanging on by its stem.

My absolute favorite time of the year is fall. I just love the warm colors of the yellows, oranges, reds, and crimsons that autumn brings her way. The very air itself seems to hold a clean crispness as the squirrels scamper around, greedily stuffing acorns in their jaws, while dried leaves one by one slowly fall, toiling and spinning in the dance of a graceful decent.

After a few weeks of the cool fall breezes, I would soon notice that my tree hideaways were becoming a little more sparse and empty. All the colored foliage was now scattered about on the ground underneath. I would jump down from the trees and shuffle my bare feet through the leaves as I carefully selected only the prettiest and brightest leaves while holding them together by their stems. Before long, I would have a rather large bouquet of autumn leaves to offer back to the God of the sky, who had made the wonderful trees that I had spent my entire summer in and all the tiny creatures that had befriended me there as well. This was the beginning of a long love affair between a tomboy girl and her Creator that would last for a lifetime.

I still gather up the prettiest and brightest fall-colored leaves in remembrance of my wonder years, those impressionable years when I was discovering the God whose marvelous handiwork is displayed not only in the sky, but throughout the heavens and the earth and even sometimes most gloriously… in a little girl’s backyard.

Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them. Then all the trees of the woods will sing for joy; they will sing before the LORD (Psalm 96: 12-13, NIV).

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