|Posted on October 3, 2016 at 10:45 AM|
Every year at this time I watch as the leaves changing – what once was green has now shifted to sparkling yellow, vibrant orange, or ravishing red. Some individual leaves may even have multiple colors on them. They shimmer with joy in the early morning sun, and dance with excitement in the evening twilight.
Trees are fascinating to me – they grow up from small saplings to become sturdy and tall, and yet they are capable of bending in the winds without breaking. Some have smooth bark, and others are pitted from insects or birds or rutted as the bark expands to accommodate new growth. Each tree is unique, as their branches grow in different directions, some providing shade and others providing food.
I think we are like trees in many ways. We each are a unique creation of God, and we each provide something back to God in return. Some of us are old and knarled, and others are young and full of life. But we are all an important part of the world God has given us.
Today I have a gift for you - a reflection I wrote which compares a woman of faith to a sturdy tree. Enjoy your Monday!
A Woman of Faith
A woman of faith is a sturdy tree in the forest of God’s creation.
She began as a tiny seed, planted by the Master in a unique place in His precious garden. As time passed, she grew as she sought wisdom, knowledge and strength from the rich soil of the scripture foundation beneath her, and from the nourishing sacramental waters poured out around her.
When she stretched her roots deeper into the Word, she grasped nuggets of wisdom nutrients to foster her faith. She was fed by the fertilizers of passing souls who each left their legacy from their own struggles and stories.
The Master caused rains of graces to cover her at the times she needed them, although she often did not realize what blessings she had received.
As she grew in strength, she revealed tiny buds of faith. The buds blossomed, and she tested these against the trials of life. Some withstood the tests, and some were false hopes. Yet she continued to branch out as an extension of Christ, developing a raiment of natural splendor in the golden hues of her leafy garments and in her graceful response to the promptings of the whispering Spirit.
She began to open herself up to travelers who happened by the spot that she had been given. They stopped for varying lengths of times to nestle and rest in her arms. While they were with her, she used her gifts to offer food and protection to hungry youngsters, and shelter to aging residents.
As she continued to reach out in faith, over time her branches became entwined with others near her. She gave assistance to them willingly, and also accepted support when she needed it.
But life was sometimes hard. The pains came as beloved branches snapped and were carried away in whirlwinds. Jealous bugs looked for ways to burrow underneath her bark, and wicked birds pecked away at her hope. She often was surrounded by foggy mists of uncertainty which threatened her self confidence. And occasional black shrouds of fear descended over her, enticing her to give up.
She continually had to fight to retain her faith. Periodically she would start to feel cold, and devilish storms would whip her branches, forcing her to bend at odd angles. Inevitably, the tears of winter would come, and her finery would fall into dull heaps around her. But her rooted faith remained steady, and she quietly accepted the snowy burdens as she patiently rode out the barren times, assured that Spring would come again to renew her.
And always the Son returned, and she would gratefully soak up the warm love. Gentle prayers of friends rained down around her, washing away the dirt and stains, and forgiveness would come. Her spirits lifted, and she was refreshed in body and soul, and was able to face life once again.
Yet even during the good times, once in awhile the Master would prune her, stripping away a branch or two of rotting sin. This left embarrassing wounds and scars, and sometimes even a noticeable hole where some large hurt had eaten away at her. Yet, she was able to prayerfully ask for healing, and in time the hurts and scars diminished.
Now she graciously allows others to see and use these wounds, to comfort those who needed to be gathered inside her heart for an understanding caress.
The faithful woman does not stand alone. She stands in a great forest with other women of faith, each planted in their own special places, each with their trials and their own gifts. Together they stand, tall and pure, upright, prophesying and gloriously raising their branches in praise and thanksgiving to their Master. They sway and dance with tambourine leaves rustling joyfully around them.
The woman of faith is a sturdy tree, committed to endlessly love and minister to those around her. She is a beautiful creation of her Master.