Every year, these new beech leaves catch my breath;
their outrageous colour, their translucency,
their birth-fluff of tiny hairs,
their gentle, soundless movement in the wind;
for they are still tender and soft, not yet hard enough to rustle.
They are vulnerable.
It is this tenderness of these and all things new
that awakens the protective in us;
we desire to nurture and shelter the new-born things of life,
giving them time and space to develop and grow safely,
to strengthen and toughen up against the grown up world.
But the Lord showed me that He is just as protective over us
as He births new things in us and amongst us.
He is always leading us into new vistas, new revelations,
new giftings, new purposes, new experiences.
but, like babies, we are not usually strong in them straight away.
We falter, we make mistakes, we get discouraged,
even as we are reaching out in faith.
But does God scold us? Crush us up in His Hand?
He nurtures our tender steps,
He picks us up when we stumble,
He encourages us with His Word,
He shelters us from the world’s gales
and surrounds us with His Presence.
That God can Himself be Tender of our tenderness
is mind-blowing;
that Almighty God, Holy, Awesome, Powerful, Majestic and True
should be gentle with our baby-steps,
that He should be Patient and Compassionate,
that He should be the Encourager, the Protector, the Shelterer,
is something we don’t expect.
Yet, it is true.
And when we come to the point when we can willingly accept
our vulnerable tenderness before Him,
we find ourselves Held Close in His Tenderness.
And bit by bit, His Tenderness Strengthens us
as He Pours from Himself into us,
enabling us to walk the Path He has chosen for us.
Such is the Divine Exchange.
Such Love.

Copyright of all images and text belongs to Claire Gardner

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