The Secret Trees Tell

There is one word that describes the universal experience of the self employed: panic.

Sheer, financial cliff teetering, panic.

Shayne and I are both craftsmen. He bends metal and wood, and I shape words and images. Though we delight in our work, laboring with clear conscience that we are serving the ends for which we were made, neither of those occupations is what anyone would consider “steady”.

For me, the mailbox has something of the yawning fear that my basement had growing up: some dark menace lingers just behind the door. This week, I unsealed a bland white envelope that contained anything but bland news: due to federal healthcare changes, the program through which we get my husband, Shayne’s, insulin and test strips (vital for survival) is no longer available to us. This is a $1000 a month envelope I just opened. That figure is higher than my mortgage. I immediately shut that dastardly mailbox door, and went for a walk.

“Breathe. Breathe. Breathe”

The cloud of dark-fingered foes swirled in…fresh blood.  I was soon surrounded by many walking companions:  accusations of our “irresponsibility” in leaving our stable jobs, barbs between the ribs foretelling the sordid hopelessness of our physical future (I might be the first homeless blogger, the voice suggests). I’m sure if I could have seen my spirit, it would have looked like a woman walking in a bee storm.

As if He had tapped me on the shoulder and leaned down in my face, I heard The Lord say,

“You see that tree over there?”

yes, I see it.

“I made that”
“Out of Nothing”

“If you think I can’t make payments on your debts, if you think I can’t call the stars of the sky to order, and number the cows on a thousand hills, you just remember: Every tree stands as a guarantee of My Sovereignty and Creatorship, My absolute authority over every created thing…including money. There is nothing I cannot touch. You need have no fear”

I fixed my eye on that tree… I remember exactly which one, and I have held it close in my heart.  My God makes something out of nothing. And He does it over and over and over again. He’s the only one who gets to play outside the laws of physics and logic, math and finitude. I don’t, but He does. He makes feasts of manna and quail in the desert, and brings water from a rock. [Exodus 16 and 17]

Since that day, I see the pine and hickory around me and think of them as staunch monuments: reminders and promises that My Father knows my needs, is intimately acquainted with my calamity and will not fail to rise to the occasion to save me. May it be that we would hold each miraculous tree as a sign of promise, no less than a rainbow, or a Tabernacle spire.

One final aside: That same frightening mailbox that has held the bills, has also held the provision. And it has come time and time and time again. I have unsealed envelopes with tears of joy, and beams of delight; sometimes even laughter at the creativity of my Dear Friend who sees and answers perfectly.

How have you seen Our Father take care of you? I’d love to hear.

photo provided by our generous friends at Aperture37206


6 thoughts on “The Secret Trees Tell”

  1. March 1, 2014, starts the reminder as everyday that Barry’s been gone for 2 years!! So 2 years ago on March 1, 2012 I was finishing up my SS lesson for my 9th grade girls class!! Plans to eat lunch with them after church and then watch the Iditarod in Alaska, where Barry was on a mission trip!! He was texting and send pictures of all the excitement there and Melissa and I were streaming it on the computer!! That night he called from outside the church in Willow where I could hear praise and worship music playing!! Hearing the tone of his voice lit up my heart, cause he was truly excited how God was moving at this church and wanted to get back inside to hear testimonies from people in that church!!
    Not knowing what the next days, weeks, months and even years were going to hold for me, I raised God for Barry having the opportunity he had always wanted!! You see it was a dream of our to go to Alaska and Barry’s dream to see the Iditarod!!! God allowed him to experience it all while serving with a mission team!! Since then, He had allowed me to see faith, trust and hope in so many ways!! He has taken care of my finances, provided people to work on my house and sent His love to me and my family in so many different ways!!!
    Some can’t understand why I’m not mad, bitter or blamed God for my pain, struggles and hardships!!! Because I know He is with me, has been with me and promised He will never leave or forsake me!!! This has and will continue to be a journey of faith, hope and trust!! So Christi and Shayne, you continue doing what He put you here for no matter what comes in trouble and adversity. Cause you know He will take care of you!!! Love you both

    1. yes, you have testified beautifully, my friend. Thank you for gracing us with a window into what it looks like to rely only on Him when the worst happens. Thank you. This is profoundly rich, and full of truth and depth. Bless you.

  2. The One Who Knows Me By Name has made financial provisions in endlessly creative ways that still continue to make me laugh, after I exhale and draw in a deep breath of peace. But far beyond money, this Intimate Friend has surrounded me with the richness of people filled with the fullness of God, writers who raised me and taught me to walk with my Creator Redeemer, and now this milk and honey from your pen. You have a gift that is a gracious meal to an undernourished soul. I’m sure you know by now, as those of us who are self-employed must learn or else we panic: The mailbox undulates as the seasons do. Yes, it brings the bills and the bad news. And it brings provision and promise of His life with us as The Father of All Mercies. Behind that door He demonstrates that life’s frightening realities are only opportunities to learn to trust. Out of nowhere this week, a gift of $1000. And the giver said, “There will be no argument. God made it clear to me that this was your money.” His sovereignty will pour itself lavishly on you and Shayne. Thank you for these beautiful, painful, extravagant, intimate gifts.

  3. yes! i have felt this so many times. every time i walk past our mailbox, i feel it in the pit of my stomach. i have people in my life who remind me that i am doing what i was created for, even if it looks stupid to the world, and that God has it all under control. thank you for another tangible reminder that God will take care of me.

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