This Little Tree of Mine
I got this tree almost four years ago, when we still lived in Gonzales. It was just a little thing at the time with only a handful of leaves. But boy, was I excited. I found a beautiful woven basket for it to call home and set it by our bedroom window. To my disappointment, it didn't do well. The leaves turned brown, had holes and fell off. I thought for sure it would turn out to be just another plant that would end up dead (I'm really not the best with house plants.)
Then I learned something about this tree... this tree is finicky. It likes to be in the same spot with the same light and receive the same amount of water regularly. Basically it hates change and unpredictability. Once I figured that out, it blossomed. I can hardly believe how well it's done over the years, especially since it has been forced to move with us to two new houses (one being all the way across the country.) But at each new place, we've established it's routine, guaranteeing it's proper care so it can keep on growing.
For some reason when I looked at this tree the other day, instead of seeing it's growth over the last few years, I saw my own. It was as if God was saying, "Carol, don't you see how far you've come? You were just a tiny plant when you came to me and asked for my daily care. Now you are a tree, rooted deep in my love, continuing to grow as you let my words nourish your life."
You see, this tree and I have more in common than I'd like to think. As much as I love change, I'm stubborn, prideful and will refuse to grow when the situation isn't to my liking. It seems easier to fight the change or situation rather than embrace it. Just shortly after getting this tree, I was faced with one of the most difficult challenges of my life. One that broke down all my walls. The type of challenge that you can't come out of without becoming a different person. It forced me to surrender and change my way of thinking. Mostly, it made me wait. And I don't know about you, but waiting for something you really want is extremely hard.
Through this challenge, God has been molding, shaping and pruning me into the person he made me to be. Even in my stubborn, prideful nature when I refused to grow, he kept taking care of me faithfully and never let me wither. It was a painful journey at times to be sure, but now I see what the daily watering has produced -- someone who knows who they are in Christ. And isn't that worth more than anything we could possibly have here on earth?
Growth is a slow journey. It takes a long time and it takes daily commitment. There will be setbacks and screw ups because none of us are perfect, but this journey will produce perseverance and hope. In a world where speed, efficiency and convenience are valued more than anything else, this slow, messy process of growth will not be popular. But it will be worth it. Believe it or not, it will become something you are actually grateful for.
There is so much freedom when you embrace who you were meant to be, when you stop hiding behind the mask you show the world -- the one that you've been wearing for far too long because you think it's what the world expects of you. Once you are established in that way, nothing can uproot you. You might lose all your leaves and have to start over, but you will make it. God will hold your hand every step of the way because He wants to see you grow. He loves you far too much to let you stay as you are.