The other day while walking the dog with Gary a stunning tree caught our attention. It shined with a palate of five colors. The lowest branches were cloaked in deep green. As the tree rose to the sky, the hue morphed to orange, then deep red and magenta. The color at the tip shined in candy apple red.
It was one solitary tree wearing a coat of many colors.
Perhaps you enjoy similar views where you live? Autumn paints the landscape with magnificent colors as the days go by, and the season concludes with a climax of brilliance. Then comes a wind or a storm and the leaves fall to the ground.
Unable to get the image of that tree out of my mind, I been contemplating the beauty of the changing leaves and the symbolism of the different colors. There is a time or a season for each one, which seems to relate to the changes we experience in our lives. In Ecclesiastes 3:1, Solomon says; “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”
What if our lives resembled a tree with many branches extending from the trunk? Each branch attached to the tree gives evidence to different aspects of living: family, friends, ministry, home, neighborhood, work, passions, hobbies, etc.
What if, dependent upon the trunk, but independent of all other branches, each branch changed colors through the unique seasons of our lives? Each contrasting shade of the leaves reflected a different season. Like that stunning tree, each of us would be a multi-colored masterpiece.
- Branches with bright green leaves point to youthfulness, fresh growth, newness in Christ, young children in the home, a first job, or a move to a new home or city.
- Dark green leaves portray deepening faith, stability with work, healthy family routines, developing friendships, personal discipleship, and an established home.
- Orange leaves shout with excitement, adventure, sharpness at work, or a time when our mental, physical, or spiritual abilities grow. Life fills these leaves!
- Wisdom drips from the yellow leaves. They embody steadfast commitment to family, friends, God, work, and all of life. The color seems radiant and divine.
- Red leaves emulate maturity. Candy apple red might signify sacrifice and pain, yet strength and trust in the sovereignty of God. Magenta leaves point to depth. Maroon colored leaves echo endurance, times when God’s strength makes up for our weakness. Insight and discernment reside in the various crimson tones.
- Detached from the branch, we see brown leaves on the ground. While their color might demonstrate sorrow or death, they also give hope as their nutrients soak into the soil below the trunk and into the roots to sustain the tree into the future.
Different colors reflect different seasons and different purposes, yet one trunk.
For example, on the tree called “Jenni,” the branch resembling “family” once sported light green leaves indicating when Gary and I were just married. Everything was new: life together, home, work, ministry, and dreams.
After Sammy and Sophie joined our home a few years later, the leaves on that branch turned a darker shade of green. Growth and intentional parenting and discipleship filled the nutrients of these leaves for nearly two decades.
When Sammy left for college, the leaves upon my “family” branch began to turn a light orange. It was a new season of life. Then, Sophie went off to school the following year. More leaves have changed in the empty nest season. The branch now shines with a magenta color. And yet, with the possibilities of an expanding family in the next few years, it seems like the leaves are turning just a bit darker. Someday, I bet crimson leaves will decorate this branch.
Imagine your life as a tree. Branches extend from the trunk which provides the source of nutrients. Name the branches of your tree. Notice the leaves and their colors.
Take some time to evaluate the leaves on your branches labeled:
- church community
- ministry service
- spiritual journey
Is your tree all one color? In other words, does one area dominate all of life? Do you see the colors changing with time? As work shifts? As neighbors move? As families expand? As ministry detours? As health deteriorates? As community strengthens?
Which branches are green? Are there any bare limbs? Does fresh life sprout on any of your tree’s extensions? Do you have any dark crimson branches in your life?
By God’s design each leaf color contains unique qualities and beauty.
Allow yourself be captivated by the kaleidoscope of colors representing the seasons of your life. Attune to God as He works in you through the transitions of life. Watch your leaves change color. Pay attention to God’s activity.
Live each season to the full trusting God’s sovereign colorful design.
Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.
He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others.He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.
Blessed is the one…whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither — whatever they do prospers.
Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Check out these suggested readings.
Bruce Demarest. Seasons of the Soul: Stages of Spiritual Development. Downers Grove, IL. 2009.
Richard Blackaby. The Seasons of God: How the Shifting Patterns of Your Life Reveal His Purposes for You. Colorado Springs, CO. 2012.