Sunday, October 18, 2015

31 Moments in Time :: tree of righteousness

Honor Hill, Honor, Michigan

Have you ever felt like the lone, scraggly tree on top of the hill, so close to the edge you might be blown in.  Yeah -- beaten and battered by the storms of life to the point you can hardly stand anymore. I've known that feeling. Do you remember when you first got to the top of the hill and how grand it felt? The view was fantastic, breathtaking at times. The breeze was constant but gentle and the sun was warm... riding high you felt invincible. Then out of no where the breeze turns to a ferociously wild and squally gale that comes roaring in like a freight train and you are pelted by the hail and rain. Thunder and lightening crash all around you in an unending assault, there is no where you can go to escape its' relentless battering and you are bowed down low.  

We've all been there. Sometimes we get there by the choices me make that have consequences we didn't anticipate, or in our pride we thought would not come near us. Sometimes we are there simply because we live in a fallen world and storms happen that we have no control over. Some storms are like a brief summer shower, racing in to dampen our day and spoil our plans.  Others surge in out of nowhere like a great flood and threaten to drown us.  We struggle just to get our bearings and then it's over as quickly as it came. Then there are those storms, you know -- the really hard ones that bring us to our knees -- that seem as if they will go on forever.  They push in from the north and you watch them consume all the blue sky, all the light... maybe they will go on forever...

I think about the times I have walked in what seemed to be great darkness.  When my dad died, when my mom was so sick for a number of years, when I became a single mom, when I was raped, when I was anorexic, the dark road of dementia...the list goes on... I hear people say, "God will never give you more than you can handle."  I say they don't know their Bible very well.  God can and does allow more into our lives than we can handle... if we could handle it, we wouldn't need him.  If we could handle it, Jesus died for nothing. Trials are proof of our great need of a savior.

In the last few years, I have watched as dear, dear friends, two separate families, have buried their sons.  I have never known darkness like they now know darkness. I dare say that I also have never known faith like they now know faith.  Their storm is great, their burden seemingly unbearable, and my sad, little umbrella... woefully inadequate to really offer any relief from their downpour.

As I have watched these two treasured moms struggle to go on under the weight of their storms, I have learned something about the strength of that tree... its' roots go deep... the roots of faith and the roots of family. God in his goodness, and family in their togetherness are the gentle breezes that continually blow and in that movement we are shaped and we are strengthened.  That tree did not become lopsided in 1 storm, or even in 100. It grew that way because of the constant flow of life around it. God is like the wind, we can not see him, we can only see his effects. At first glance those effects may look as if all is lost, without hope... but look closer and you will see beauty and strength. The tree, bent low, with it's leaves being stripped away by the days of Autumn, is exactly the way it needs to be to carry on and weather the storm... and spring eventually will come again.

Isaiah 61:3, To console those who mourn in Zion, to give beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.

Listen to Beauty for Ashes by Crystal Lewis

This story was written as part of a 31 day writing challenge.  To read more of my stories in the challenge click on this link.  Thanks!

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