Make Like a Tree and Don't Leave

My yard has been home to several columnar aspen trees that unfortunately haven't weathered the storms– some nature and some lack of nurture. I was relieved that we were able to replace them for free, initially thinking, no harm done. But then I noticed my neighbor's same trees, planted around the same time as our first failed attempt. Only her trees were taller, fuller, and stronger because of the years the roots had been getting established. Replacing the trees didn't mean reproducing the growth that only happens over time. I'm thrilled to introduce you to my friend Jessie Taillon to share a bit of everyday truth about what she's learned from trees about what we can do through life's storms. 

Just over a year ago, my husband and I purchased a brand new home. When we first walked through it, we had to maneuver around a painting crew still hard at work. Because of our young children, we wanted a new house instead of an older one in need of repairs. However, unused homes come with their down sides too: no grass, no parking pad, no gardens, no fence, no garage, and no trees.

We chipped away at many of these tasks over the past year, but one thing that we hadn't yet done is plant trees. This didn't bother me until I drove through a neighborhood with tall trees that created a canopy over the road and sat in a backyard so thick with trees that I forgot I was in a busy city. Then I got tree-envy.

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Since summer has arrived, I’ve had trees on my mind. After talking with a few people, I now know that it is not as simple as picking any tree, digging a hole, and presto. There are many factors to consider, including the type of tree, how much sun it will get, how deep it is planted into the ground, how often it is watered, and if it is protected from the elements.

These factors could be the difference between a withered tree struggling to stay alive, and one that is thriving and will grow for many years. If I want the latter (and I do), I will need to do my part right.

Recently, two different friends have shared with me the heartbreaking news that they miscarried their babies. As I mourned their losses, I wondered why God allows these painful things to happen to people.

Then I thought about a tree, like one I would like to plant in my yard. I could research for hours, talk to seasoned gardeners, and purchase a tree from the highest recommended nursery. I could support the tree with a pole, anchor it with rope, and water it regularly. Yet if there was a storm, and the winds were strong enough, the newly planted tree could be uprooted and fall over. It could be damaged beyond repair and out of my control. 

Baby trees have baby roots that aren’t secure because they don’t go deep into the ground. If our spiritual “roots” aren’t deeply anchored, we, just like baby trees, will be tossed around and disrupted by the storms we face in our lives.

In the same way we cannot control the weather, we cannot decide or predict exactly what will happen in our lives.  I have wasted precious time trying to control everything in my life, trying to keep things the same, and exhausting myself with overseeing every detail.  

I finally realized that I have a choice: Will I focus my time and energy trying to control things I have no control over, or will I turn to my Creator God and trust Him to carry me through life’s inevitable storms?

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In Ephesians 3, the Apostle Paul says,

“I pray that our of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.”

We are only able to weather the storms if our roots are deep and our branches are strong.  God wants us to grow our spiritual “roots” down deep into Him through a steady intake of God’s Word, communicating continuously with Him in prayer, and surrounding ourselves with Godly influences.

We are all searching for what we lack, whether it be joy, peace, fulfillment, comfort, rest, worth, or satisfaction. Especially during stormy times or seasons of pain, we are often tempted to turn to something or someone other than God to fix or satisfy us. We change our relationships, find a new job, buy something shiny, pick up a new hobby, move across the country, turn to a different addiction, try harder, or numb our emotions.

By uprooting ourselves every time we go through a tough season, our growth will be stunted. A tree that is transplanted to a new location will take just as long to become established as it was before it was moved, if not longer.

No matter what we face, whether it is the best day of our lives or the worst, God wants to face it with us and will carry us through. If we stay where we’re planted and spend our energy deepening our roots, we will learn to trust God’s love and faithfulness more and more with each trial. Instead of trying to control the weather, we can say: bring the rain, because what is anchoring our roots, or rather Who is anchoring our roots, will hold.

What are you most tempted to do when life get's stormy? What has helped you, (or will help you) become rooted and established in God's love?   

Jessie is wife to JP, mother to two beautiful toddlers and most importantly, a daughter of the King. She loves to share about the freedom and change she has experienced through her relationship with Jesus. Her life is living proof that He trades beauty for ashes. Her and JP make their home at the Pathway Church where Jessie directs Freedom Session. She also is passionate about her work at the Cochrane Pregnancy Care Centre. You can read more and her story and journey through Freedom Session at http://reallifereallovee.blogspot.ca/