Parked here next to an old olive grove, it's just us and the crows.
But the blossoms are gorgeous. Even more beautiful than my phone can capture.
Ever since I was a little girl I've been mesmerized by rows... rows of trees, rows of cotton plants, rows of vines... They make me happy.
It's interesting how grapes don't have blossoms like the fruit trees. There are signs of new growth, though. See the green new leaves popping out?
The olive trees behind us still have a few olives hanging on them. Drying out leftovers after the harvest, I guess.
Walking back, I can't help but notice the branches that have been pruned in preparation for this year's harvest. The trees are beautiful partly because they've been lovingly, painfully cared for by the workers who aren't afraid to prune back branches so there will be better fruit.
Some blossoms started blowing in the breeze. It was dreamy, snowfall-like loveliness. I picked up a few scattered petals to take home. That's when a word came to mind:
To carry a handful of petals, you have to be gentle. You can't hoard and carry too many, or they'll be crushed. It reminded me of one of the lessons God taught me at the retreat this past weekend.
I have to take the pressure off of my life, or I will crush it instead of letting the GENTLE life of Christ in me CARRY my life.
My heart was made for GENTLE living, not PRESSURED striving.
My kids were made for GENTLE training, not HARSH impatience.
My marriage was made for GENTLE love, not DUTIFUL obligation.
"I therefore, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live worthily of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and GENTLENESS, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." ~Ephesians 4:1-3 (NET)
We are also instructed to allow the Spirit to grow the fruit of GENTLENESS in our hearts (Galatians 5:23), to clothe ourselves with GENTLENESS (Colossians 3:12), and to let everyone see our GENTLENESS (Philippians 4:5).
Why? Because Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I AM GENTLE and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry." ~Matthew 11:28-30 (NET)
We can be gentle with each other and on ourselves, because God is gentle with us.
My friends Wendy and Debby both became grandmothers yesterday. They are so excited, and rightly so. Their granddaughters are adorable. While neither of them have older siblings or cousins, you can bet that if a toddler or other child was holding or touching those baby girls, the word "GENTLE!" would be on the lips of those grandmas. Why? Because we treat babies with gentleness. It's instinctive.