When I feel really pressed and pushed, I need to get outside and walk. One day last spring was such a time. So many people I loved were going through really rough times. I was feeling strained myself! As I walked, I tried to pray, but felt stuck. Then, instead of taking my normal turn, 'something' (SomeOne?!) caused me to turn a different way. I came across this tree - and stopped in amazement. It was so twisted and turned around and yet still growing strong, reaching up to the sun. How I would love to hear this tree's story!
I've gone back almost every week to look at it. In each season, God has taught me something through this crazy, awesome tree. Exposed and bare, it helped me to look at the 'trunk' of my life. At different times I've been twisted and turned around - even growing down, not up! That is a part of me, of who I am, of my story. But, like this tree, God has allowed me to reach toward Him again.
In the spring, my tree grew leaves, and its trunk was mostly obscured by the green. How many people do I see who are hiding a life filled with twists and turns? How often am I tempted to do the same - cloaking my struggles and trying to pretend they don't exist?
We had a really hot and very dry summer here. This tree is on a vacant lot, so no one came to water it. But my tree stayed strong and lush. Despite (or maybe because of!) its crooked path toward the sun, it must have deep roots reaching down to find water. I was reminded of how our gracious God has been redeeming my path and helping root me in His sustaining soil.
Now that it's fall, the leaves have changed, and are mostly gone, exposing its trunk once more. Winter is coming. As my tree moves into this new season, I am reminded that God has ordered my life into seasons, too. As I prepare for my spring, I pray that even when winds and snow and bitter cold come (both the literal and figurative kinds!) we will both survive the winter. I'm glad that I will be here to see it green again before I leave.
As I journey towards the D.R. I want to celebrate the crazy, awesome ways God has been shaping my life, even when I was bending and headed in the wrong direction. I want to continue to increase my compassion for others who also are growing. I want courage to show others my less than lovely 'trunk' to encourage them as they reach for the sun - the Son! I want to remember my tree, and the One who gave me this simple yet profound gift one day as I walked along.