Today's post is by Christi Hrin.
It seems to be a theme with Him I guess. He started the entire perfect relationship with man and that wonderful Tree of Life. Then we tore ourselves away from him with the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and yet, miraculously, Christ repaired our mistake with the tree that made the cross.
Today, God used a young maple tree to whisper quite powerfully to me.
Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamt of being a mom. Of course I wanted to be an Olympic Gymnast, a missionary in Africa, and perform on Broadway, but at the core, more than anything I wanted to be a mother. As time passed I grew from a child into a young woman and though I never trained for the games, or saw the Safari, or sang beneath the bright lights in New York; in the year 2000 I was given my heart’s deepest desire, a precious baby boy. In fact, by the year 2004 I was a mother of three beautiful children, two fun lovin’ boys and one beautiful little girl.
I set into my role with enthusiasm. My three kids were days of play dough and Crayola and nights of bubble baths and giggles. I was “Mom”. I kissed the boo boos, ran the nightmares away, conquered pacifier problems, and created kingdoms with sheets and chairs. If you were looking for me, you would find me either in the cul de sac playing with chalk and bikes or in the kitchen cutting peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the right shape for each child. I could sing the opening tune to every cartoon on PBS, Disney Playhouse, and Nick Jr. and could make a cape out of any fabric. I knew our favorite books by heart so I could read them from the front seat while my helpers held the book in the back.
Years kept flying past and the shows changed from Bob the Builder to Ben Ten to Good Luck Charlie. Games switched from Go Fish and hide-n-seek to Wii Bowling and Black Ops. Lessons progressed from “because I said so” to “I trust you to make the right choice”. Today I find myself the mother of a kind hearted yet stubborn 12 year old, an actively silly 10 year old, and a developing diva at age 8. They are all capable, independent, and strong. They can handle themselves in a crowd, alone, and one on one.
If you are looking for me today, you might find me standing a little lost in my kitchen that I don’t want to clean again because it’s not that messy anymore. There are many days where I am actually alone for hours as those perfect babies of mine are off conquering boredom and creating friendships on their own. I have had to learn the difference between helping and hindering, supporting and spoiling, and the hardest, loving and letting go.
-Enter the tree.
I was walking home after dropping my daughter off at her theater camp (God be with the director), and I was kind of whispering in my heart to God. My older son was at his friend’s house creating Minecraft kingdoms, and my younger son was again at the playground with two of his pals. I, the “MOM” was once again, alone. No little people to play chalk rockets with. No potty songs to sing or black and white pictures to create colorful creations with. What was I supposed to do with myself? Was this really already happening? Independence and strength in my children kind of hurt a little.
As I walked and quietly shared my heart to God, I saw this young maple tree. Just like many others that were planted at the same time as it, this maple still had wooden stakes on each side of it and a strong wire holding its trunk. This tight system securely held this tree when it was young. It helped to allow the tree to grow straight and strong through wind storms and blizzards regardless of the age or strength of the sapling. The only problem was, the tree wasn’t young anymore. In fact, it only looked young on the base of the tree. Around the wire I could see where the tree was trying to grow out of its’ hold. I stared with understanding as God was showing me that the same wires meant to hold the tree in its youth were actually stifling the tree’s growth and at the root, killing the tree. All of the tree’s potential to be the brilliant maple that we would all stand in amazement of in the fall, was being denied by the very thing placed there in the beginning to keep it safe.
I took a deep breath as I felt God’s comfort come over me. My children would grow. My children would leave. But my God would always be with me and I could trust that He would be with them too. I felt a gentle reassurance that just as He had been with me through each age, he would be with my kids and I could let go a little. Back when I was in pig-tails dreaming of being a mommy, He was whispering to me about my destiny. In college when I met that tall and handsome Marine who would become my husband, He was whispering to me about love, desire, and honor. As I parented toddlers He whispered daily to me about trust and mercy in my new role. And even now in learning the first steps of letting go, He was telling me, it was okay, He was big enough, and I really could Trust Him.
I walked from the tree and smiled at my God’s beauty. From this suppressed tree He had spoken a powerful message. I ventured home with a new rhythm to my stride and a deeper understanding of not only my role, but my God and his deep, deep love for me.