Some of the trees were huge with ripe fruit and some were only budding blossoms, not yet ripened, and then I heard a rustling from the trees. I wasn't afraid. My heart sped up and my stomach did a pretzel twist. From the trees I saw what looked to be black work boots, but they were knee high. A cross between riding boots and work boots, though I've never seen anything like it before. And as my gaze traveled upward, I recognized a smile on the face of the One who owned the interesting boots. Dazzling white teeth. My hands trembled and I think He knew how giddy I was that we were together. In this orchard.
"Come," He said and I grabbed his hand--peace washed over me. "What do you think of my orchard?"
I don’t think I said anything, but the feeling of beauty and love surrounded me. He led me to two smaller trees. One had a few blossoms, the other was a tad smaller and bare, but beautiful. They fascinated me.
"Sit while I work. I want to show you something."
I did as I was asked and took shade under a large tree, ripe with fruit. I nestled against the trunk and security filled my chest. He looked at me and all I saw were dark eyes. Strange how I could see His face, yet I couldn't at all. Never once was it clear. But the feeling I took away from the way he looked at me was as if He was amused at how I felt nestling under this large fruit tree. As if he knew something I didn't.
He reached up and started to break wilted blossoms off the taller tree, running his hands along the buds with loving care. "This is beautiful, don't you think?"
I did. I almost cried from the overwhelming beauty. Somehow I knew this tree was special. "All trees need treated with care, Jessica. But the young ones need extra."
I nodded and watched as He skillfully tended the tree. He opened his palm and rays of sunshine glistened around the tree like a halo. "Let My light shine." He smiled. I only saw the smile.
Then he moved to the next tree. Pale green leaves, small--showing how tender it was stood next to the tree basking in the light of the Tender and I continued to sit under the giant tree that seemed to shade me with love and protection. As if its branches cherished me. I reached up and brushed one of the leaves before turning my attention back to the young tree.
He knelt and began to smooth the grainy earth around the tree, covering young roots that exposed themselves. His hands moved gently, and he whispered to the small tree then stopped to laugh as if they were having a conversation, but I couldn't hear what was said. He chuckled again and nodded then opened his palm and rushing water burst forth and the leaves grew vibrant. A green I've never seen before. Not emerald but even more so!
Tears filled my eyes and I crawled near, careful not to upset the freshly cultivated soil that protected the roots of the bare baby tree.
"Do you see how I gently tend?"
"Yes," I whispered.
"Do you know why you love these trees so much?"
I did not.
"They belong to you." He stroked my cheek. "I've given them to you. Gifts. We'll tend them together." And in that instant, I knew those two trees, one older than the other, were my daughter and my son.
I turned back to the great tree with much fruit and heard the Him laugh, a soft, whispery laugh.
My husband. I'd been leaning against my husband, learning how to tend my young children.
To help them grow and bear fruit. Fruit that lasts. This week was their first back at school. I always have apprehension. I get nervous for them. I know they'll hear things that will make me cringe--new phrases, new words. Pollution.
But I also know these times are opportunities to trim their trees and teach them what the Word of God says. I know my Savior will be filling them with His light and watering them, tending to them alongside me. Or more like me alongside Him.
And I am comforted.
"I am the true vine; my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that does not produce fruit. And he trims and cleans every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce even more fruit." John 15:1-2 (NCV)
Have you ever been to an orchard? What's your favorite fruit? And how does it make you feel knowing Jesus is tending to you--to your children, your spouse?
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