My guest today is Julie Lavender, a writer I met online whose posts I enjoy reading because of the metaphors she continually finds in nature. If you enjoy this, you can find a lot more like it at her blog (link here). I hope you’ll go visit! The post she wrote here is about the beautyberry bush, one I saw for the first time in my neighborhood in Texas. I admired them as soon as I saw them, so it’s fun she picked this topic for her guest post for me. Enjoy!
By Julie Lavender
Iridescent, dark violet berries hang in clusters beneath chartreuse leaves, attracting the attention of hungry birds and nibbling mammals. The American beautyberry shrub, aptly named, certainly catches my attention on a winter walk.
The long, arching branches droop with the weight of its fruit from early fall to late winter. Some of the berries become snacks for raccoons and squirrels and armadillos and opossums. Quail, cardinals, mockingbirds and a variety of songbirds partake in the delicacies, too. And the deer forage on them heavily, too.
Yet, many of the berries cling to the bush throughout the bleak months of early winter, lending color to an otherwise drab landscape. The berries, though beautiful, are somewhat bitter in taste, so they’ll do in a pinch for a hungry critter, but might not be the preferred morsel. At least, not when other tasty treats are available.
I think God did that on purpose….in fact, I know He did.
Splashes of Color
Isn’t it just like God to know that we’d need splashes of color to brighten our winter canvas?
I believe God wanted to remind me, also, to search for that bright patch of color whenever I’m faced with a difficult circumstance or just having a bad day.
Like when I was overwhelmed with writing projects and didn’t think I could face another interview one bitterly cold morning recently. And yet God blessed me with the coolest experience in that coffee shop! My interview subject was serenaded with “Amazing Grace” and “Happy Birthday” by a pastor with the most heavenly voice I think I’ve ever heard!
And that time I was unloading a cartload of groceries onto the conveyor belt and asked the clerk where the tubes of chapstick were located – I’ve always found them at the checkout counters, but none on lane number six where I stood with anxious customers assembling behind me.
“Well, some of the lanes have them,” is all she mumbled and kept scanning my wares.
The woman behind me heard my question, and she promptly sent her twenty-something-year-old daughter off on a search for me. The sweet young girl made it back with chapstick in hand before I had to pay!
White as Snow
And then there was the rare, south-Georgia snow that blanketed my city last week with its lacy snowflakes dancing their way to the ground.
God could’ve created snowflakes to be any color He wanted them to be, but He knew the contrast of white, pristine flakes against the drab colors of winter and bare branches poking their fingers into the sky would stir our soul with longings of purity and freshness.
God provides beauty in the winter season indeed – I just sometimes fail to look for it.
“Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 NLT
But those brilliant purple berries of the beautyberry bush reminded me on my walk with God to keep my eyes open for His beauty all winter long.
What about you? What splashes of color – natural ones from the Creator or unique treats from God – have you noticed so far this season?
Tell me what God showed you recently on a winter walk with Him and share a picture, too, if you’d like. I’d love to see God’s beauty in your neck of the woods.
Meet Julie Lavender
Fascinated and awestruck by the Creator’s manifold riches, Julie Lavender enjoys sharing stories of God’s creations and is completely convinced that God uses His masterpieces to teach us more about Him. Whether it’s the humankind, a member of the animal kingdom, or one of God’s natural beauties, Julie loves boasting about God’s workmanship.
Julie is married to her high school and college sweetheart and holds a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education. Julie and David are the parents of four adult children, two boys and two girls, and have one son-in-love.
Julie is the author of a homeschooling devotional, a sleepover-party planning book and three religious education resource books. As a freelance stringer for her local newspaper, Julie has the opportunity to write many faith-based, human interest stories, as well as a monthly family column and monthly women’s feature. Julie writes for Guideposts Magazines and GuidoMinistries. Some of Julie’s other writing credits include: Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse, Mature Living, ParentLife, Today’s Christian Woman, Standard, Thriving Family, Taste of Home, Country Woman, Refresh, BookFun, Southern Writers, Homeschooling Today, Secret Place, Frank Schaffer’s Schooldays, and Welcome Home. She is represented by Cyle Young with Hartline Literary Agency.
Julie would love to connect with you on Facebook, on Twitter at JLavenderwrites and Instagram at JulieLavenderwrites. Join Julie’s ‘On My Walk With God’ journey to learn lessons from God’s creations as she learns them at julielavender.blogspot.com.