They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor. – Isaiah 61:3
It may not always be clear from the photos I post from the front of our house, but Maul-Hall Wake Forest is possibly the most challenging home Rebekah and I have occupied when it comes to landscaping. Or maybe it’s more a reflection on the fact that we weren’t sixty-plus when we were digging and weeding with such gusto in Pensacola and then Brandon?
Regardless, between the terrain, the climate, the heavy woods, and the clay “soil”, here in North Carolina we can’t get away with digging random flower beds, cultivating fifty different varieties of self-maintaining bromeliads, and mowing the grass.
So a few years ago, having been huge fans of the species all our lives, Rebekah and I planted seven ornamental Japanese Maple trees. Some were little more than sticks, while others showed a hint of their potential. This spring, for the first time, the trees are making their presence known and making a huge difference. So I have tried to document a feel for their progress with this series of photographs.
These trees also teach me something about our lives as witnesses to the beauty of the Gospel message. We are seldom called to make a dramatic splash of impact, like a planting of vivid annuals around the mailbox in the front garden. But Jesus is always calling, inviting us to put down roots and grow – quietly and steadily – until we become an established presence (wherever and whenever ever God plants us). A presence that adds beauty, and definition, and color, and light.
“Trees of righteousness – a planting of the Lord for the display of God’s splendor…”
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.