And then I looked up. At the trees.
Oh, the colours! In one single branch there were yellow leaves and green leaves and red leaves and purple ones, too.
I took pictures. And stared.
You're making me new
Making me new, Everything new
I've been changed by you
Like only love can do
You're making me new
And I thought, yes. That's what the trees were telling me:
That being made new is a process. That we are saved by grace and then Jesus keeps working in our lives--constantly. We are not made new in an instant, and we cannot expect those we love to be made new instantaneously, either. Patience, Love, I heard. See those green leaves? They're old. They haven't yet changed to red. And the red ones haven't yet come into their Yellow Glory. But they're all together on one branch. All three colors in the same place. The Old, the Changing, and the New united on one front.
There is beauty in the process, Love. There is beauty in the patience. You must learn to be patient with your friends. You must learn to be patient with the Boy. You must learn that each person you love is on a journey of their own and though you may wish so, change does not happen over night.
Jesus said to them: "My father is always at his work to this day, and I too am working."
It's that present progressive tense: working. Continuing action. Something going on now. Jesus is working and reviving and making new--presently. I was saved once and am continually being saved and will be being saved until the end of time--and the same is true for all of us who have uttered our humble YESes to the One who is Love himself.
And so, there are still a lot of Questions in my head. I'm guessing a lot of them will probably never be sufficiently answered. It seems that's the way life works, when you pour your heart and soul into loving People. Some parts of our lives and the lives of those we love are just...silent. Like some parts of words. Rene Denfield once said something like that.
But what I do know is this: though I may not see fruit budding from the lives of people for whom I deeply care, God is working. The Spirit doesn't lose its grip, and though a person's journey might look fairly round-about to me and though the journey may not bear fruit when I think it should (really, what do I know anyway?) I can rest in the fact that God doesn't desert his children. He works and he works and He just keeps working.
And in the same way, the Old Me and the New Me can (and should, and do) exist simultaneously...on the same branch. Though I may feel my mind is muddy and uncertain and though I may not be able to figure out why I can't shake certain Things or Certain people, God says: I am working. He is okay with the Old and the New existing together, in the same place, because He knows that change can be slow coming. That sanctification is a life-long process. That I am on a learning-growing-changing-holy-making journey that is exactly that...a journey. What I can know is that I have been saved and am being saved from Myself daily and hourly and minutely. And so are the people I love most dearly.
And in all that, He is asking me to be patient.
To be patient with myself and patient with my friends. Patient with those who have been long in my life and with those who I've known only for a short time. And to be patient with Him--because though I may be used as a tool (and oh, the honor of that!) I am not the one doing the changing. That's God's job. And His timing and words are far better than mine, anyway.
You can't change people--because you can't change a heart. Only God can do that. All you can do is speak truth, love well, and be thankful you serve a God who cares enough about you and your friends to intercede into individual lives and change hearts, at all. Look at the trees, dear Girl. They're telling you a story. They're telling you the story of your own heart...and they're telling you the story of the heart of the one for whom your heart is breaking. Of all the ones for whom your heart breaks. Let Time be used by God...and watch, and wait, and pray, and wait some more. Someday (and maybe not until That Day), all the leaves, on all the branches, will be Brand New. Your job is only to pray for that change--to love yourself and others through it--and to keep your eyes wide open to See it happening, one leaf at a time.
One leaf at a time.
I think it's time I try Seeing that way.