I love trees and always have! There have been times I’ve just sat there in awe of what I was seeing. How strong, how unique they are! The ones that capture my attention most are the ones that you have to wonder how they made it. You know what I mean. The ones that are so oddly shaped, twisted or bent, be it the actual tree or a particular limb. Now THAT tree had a will to survive. It was determined to bend this way and that to find the light to grow. While I feel all trees have majesty and beauty in them it is these trees, the crooked, that speak the most to my soul.
What is the tree’s story? Were there other saplings just like it nearby that didn’t survive or was it alone from the start? What were the surroundings like when it was first growing? Maybe it was healthy with plenty of light, good soil, water and a strong root system. Or was the tree working against the odds from the beginning, having to fight to take root and grow? What storms and weather did this tree persevere? Were there diseases that took out its neighbors?
Our lives mirror this don’t you think? We’re all created the same way but it is our life experiences that form us. Whether we can see one another’s crooked bends or not we all have them. Someone may come off looking like a stately redwood but I can guarantee you there is a bend inside. Others wear their trials and tribulations very openly. One way of growing is not better than another. Instead we need to realize there can be beauty in it all, a beauty that comes from God. “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.L (1 Peter 3:3-4 NIV)
When we hand those difficult circumstances we’re in to God, asking Him for guidance and help, He promises to help us find the light and to continue to grow. Yes, we can be in a growth stalemate because the light was either hidden from us by the world or by our own choices. When we awaken and intentionally stretch to find the light we WILL find Christ, feel the warmth of His presence and the guidance of His Word. Jesus promises us we will overcome through Him. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV)
We can’t forget our root systems and what a huge role they play in our growth. Some of us have had a strong root system from the beginning through their parents, grandparents and other people. Others have had to develop their own strong root system while growing. Maybe you’ve had to or need to ask for help to rewrite the stories of your youth, to learn the real truth about your identity in Christ. Maybe lies were spoken over you or those that should have loved you most hurt you. That is NOT the life Christ intends for you. He wants us to all have an abundant life. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10 ESV) When we come to God in prayer and ask Him to meet our needs He WILL answer.
No matter how we look, scars and all, we can, just like trees, be a help to others around us. We can provided shelter while they’re in their own storms. We can give off “oxygen” and help them breath by speaking encouragement and love into their lives. We can help them find the light of Christ so that they may feel His warmth in their souls.
Remember there is beauty in growth no matter how stymied or weird it looks. Stand confident in your beautiful crookedness. Stretch towards the light of Christ and you will feel the warmth of hope in your soul.