There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NIV)
My daughter and I have grown to love the stream where we live throughout the year. Whether it is sitting on the beach skipping rocks while dragonflies perch on the cattails in the spring, or the mist rises off the water in the morning in the fall, it has become a place of community and celebration for us. In each season we have experienced beauty and pain, either in our own lives or by observing the changes experienced by the ecosystem itself. I have come to appreciate the seasons equitably for their amazing differences and subtle commonalities.
It has been fascinating watching the trees next to the stream, especially a large mimosa, as it has gone through the seasons. There are several other mimosas on the property, but only the one next to the stream. It is definitely larger and tends to get leaves earlier and lose them later. In other words, its proximity to the stream helps it handle the seasons better, but it does not eliminate the seasons. So the tree grows stronger, produces more fruit and sinks its roots deep into fertile soil, but the world around it is still the same.
We are in the same situation. We may grow strong in our understanding of God and His Word. We may produce good and plentiful fruit through the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We may sink our roots into the rich soil of God’s love, mercy and grace. But the world around us remains the same; the seasons still change, the weeds still grow and the storms still rage. The difference is not in what we experience in this life, it is how we experience it.
For those who root themselves in Christ, each season is a time to grow stronger for the season to come. This is why we can come to cherish each of the seasons of life. We are no longer defined by those seasons as they come and go, but by the One who gives us a life abundantly in the midst of every season. In Him the winter is as rich and full of purpose as the summer, and the shedding of leaves just as meaningful as their bursting forth in spring. This, however, is not an easy reality to grab a hold of in a world that values change for its own sake. The question we need to ask ourselves is “Are we handling the vagaries of life better today than we did last week, last month or last year?” If not, it may be a matter of moving closer to the stream and sinking your roots deeper and deeper. If so, don’t settle for where you are at; keep digging deeper. If we don’t look just like Jesus, there’s still room to grow. We have yet to know how wide and deep and high His love truly is.
6 responses to “My Life as a Tree: Growing from Season to Season (Skipping Rocks #6 – Part 4)”
Good thoughts. I have just finished an article and a story on my time of grief and your blog sure fits the message. Thanks…See you tonight, Lord willing.
Thanks Nancy. See you there.
Ah, yes. The mimosa! GREAT comparision.
Thanks Babe. I have good memories of watching Keely climb around like a monkey in those trees.
“…not in what we experience in life, but HOW we experience it.” So true. Good words, Chris. Thought-provoking and encouraging, as always. I love that big heart He has grown in you. I see His reflection there.
Write on, my friend. Cathy
Thanks Cathy. You have been a great encourager and I appreciate your friendship dearly.