I found Polaris as I ran towards my garage door; it was the brightest star in the night sky.

I set aside some time this morning during my walk to just listen to the Lord. It wasn’t easy (it never is; how to be still before Him when there are so many distractions?) but it’s something I’m determined to discipline myself in. I try to keep my head empty of any thoughts because anything can send me careening into another urgent prayer or start a bout of anxious worrying. I try but it doesn’t work.

Psalm 1 pops up in my head and I find myself repeating [v.3]

like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season

and I ask the Lord if my season is coming soon, the time when I’m going to bear fruit. “It’s coming, right?” I half plead with Him.

As the wind blows unforgivingly in my face, I find it ironic how I’m supposed to bear fruit in a season of hardship. “It’s winter, God. Nothing is growing,” I half joke. This winter has been hard.

In that moment, my eyes drop to the ground as a leaf skids to a stop by my feet. A green leaf. A very, very lush and green leaf and I stare at it for about thirty seconds before swiveling around, looking for other leaves. There are many around, on the driveway, on the grass, all of them, crisp, brown, dull. I spend another two minutes peering around my house, looking for a green tree; none around; only trees with empty branches.

As I pick up the leaf and turn it over in my hands (observing the slight darkening at the top and the tiny bitten out holes by insects), a thought flashes through my head.

I will bring life.

Half a prayer answered; I am afraid. I realize some prayers I don’t want to give up to the Lord because I know it is going to hurt me or someone else. Still, I have to practice trusting His wisdom rather than relying on my own.

in faithfulness you have afflicted me

[psalm 119:75]

Michelle and I try to recall all of Psalm 23 on our own. Between the two of us, we get about half of it down. She grabs her bible and reads it; the words flow like water; it brings us life.

Three deer lingered across from my car. I didn’t move; they didn’t either. One took its time to nuzzle at a potted tree.

There was peace in my heart as I left them. I don’t need any more signs.

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