Summer sang tonight as the pink sky faded over the pond. I took Curry for a walk, savoring the cooling of evening. Cicadas buzzed from deep in the Shadow Wood as my youngest daughter quietly rocked back and forth in the swing which hangs from a tall and sturdy branch of the Oak Tree not farm from the water’s edge.

I planted a tiny fig tree a few weeks ago, just before the heat wave. In Spring I started a little orchard with two apple trees, a peach tree, and three plum trees situated in the far field on the back side of the pond, mostly hidden from view by the edge of the woods. But the fig is nearer the house. For some reason I wanted to see it from the living room windows. I think I like its thick leaves and the unusual shape it will take on as it grows.

So far, one apple tree is not looking so good. When I dug down a few inches I hit rock, so it was a mighty struggle to get a hole deep enough to plant the root ball. The peach and plum trees have had no issues, but both apple tress have limped along. One lost all it’s leaves during the most recent heat wave and attack of Japanese Beetles, but if I scratch the wood there is still green in there so I hold a tiny bit of hope for its life. But not much. The other apple tree still has a few good leaves and signs of growth are on the branch tips, but it has never thrived. It looks really puny,

Deep down, I knew I should have waited until Fall, but Spring was so nice and wet and cool that I thought it was safe. Little did I know, Summer would come early. It arrived in wave after wave of miserable, humid heat, threatening even well-established plants and making me regret every single thing I planted this year as I hand-watered it all with sweat pouring down my back. The cutting garden? It’s actually producing well but it is full of grass. I just could not make myself risk a heat stroke to pull it all, so the grass and flowers are happily, messily coexisting. Thankfully, from the road one mostly notices the ten and twelve foot sunflowers waving in the breeze. They love the heat, as do the zinnias and cosmos.

October would have been so much better for the trees. I have already decided I will replant this Fall if the apple trees die, and I’ll probably replace the dead trees with more peaches since the one I planted has done so well. The soil out there is just so rocky. Call it a lesson learned or a failed experiment, but it looks like I will end up buying my apples at Publix.

I turned fifty in May. My husband, kids, parents, and two of my best friends surprised me with an epic 80’s themed party that I still haven’t gotten over. It was the most fun, and I cried many happy tears as I looked around that room and saw all the love that was aimed at me. It was a room so unique and diverse in every way. God, how is this my life? I’m so lucky and blessed. Dozens of women and men, old and young, black, white, hispanic, asian were all there because they are my friends. For a girl who grew up in a sadly homogenous town to be loved by such a beautiful ethnic rainbow of humanity is a true miracle. I don’t take it lightly.

Fifty is an interesting age. There is something about saying it out loud that still feels warm. Fifty. I am fifty. It doesn’t bother me, which I find surprising.

Don’t get me wrong, my joints remind me often of my age. My back has a crick that likes to act up if I get too excited. I quit dying my hair and am embracing the sparkles of gray that dot the new growth. I am what some consider past my prime, but I realize something important.

It may be the Autumn of my life, but Autumn is the best time to plant a lot of things.

There are things that were planted in my twenties that have long since died. Dreams, plans, how I thought my life would look by now, some long-held ideas about the world, and lots of really bad theology. Some things died because it wasn’t the right time to plant them. It was the wrong season. I should have waited. Some things died, though, because they didn’t belong in my life at all. No matter how much I wanted them, they would not and could not survive in the ground of my life because it did not provide (for whatever reason) the environment they needed to grow and thrive.

But, like a fruit tree, some things are best planted in Autumn. After raising my children to near-adulthood I completed a leadership program through a local church that I thought would make me a better writer. Instead, it prepared me for a ministry that I had no idea lay just ahead. Five years ago, I would have felt fully UN-qualified and there would have been no way I would have stepped into this. But now? After initially telling God no, (very nicely, I might add, but I was quite firm) he gently opened my eyes to see the call he was placing on my life. Fear was holding me back, but when I allowed him to pull me through to the other side of it I saw and I knew it was right. It was time, the perfect time, to say yes and trust him to use all that I have experienced, combined with the equipping he promises, to do what he was asking me to do–step out, onto the front lines.

Today, almost a year into women’s ministry, I can tell you with absolute honesty that serving God by loving these ladies, helping them discover who they are in Christ and fall in love with God’s Word, has become one of the greatest joys of my life.

This could not have happened earlier. I would not have been ready. There were amendments my soil desperately needed before it could support and feed the deep roots needed to be in ministry. God did that work over the course of five decades and now, in the Autumn of my life, a new tree has burst forth. I am not the same woman I once was. I have seen the Lord move in ways that dazzle me. I have watched women’s countenances shine as they experience true freedom. I have laughed and cried and celebrated and grieved with a sisterhood that truly reflects the beauty of the Kingdom. My sisters are refining me, changing me, growing me in ways I would not have been ready for a few years ago.

So, let me tell you, just in case you are struggling with the loudly ticking clock of life, it is never too late.

In fact, late just might be right on time.

4 thoughts on “When Late is On Time

  1. It’s never too late. I’m a Example of that. 🥰Thank u for what u do for Each of us in this group & what you contribute to our church & our community & Our Lord & Savior. Your kindness does not go Un-noticed.

    Liked by 1 person

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