“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
From the first moment I can remember, I loved that feeling of living among my mother’s branches. I could see for miles and see the sunshine and listen to the birds that would rest there. I had friends and siblings nearby and there was nothing to do but soak up sunshine and watch as clouds rolled by.
The Sun he always gave my mom what she needed to grow and survive and provide for those around her.
We relished that time.
We didn’t know what was to come, what, ultimately, we were waiting for.
One cool, sunny morning, the unimaginable happened to me.
My mother shook in a gentle wind and I was torn away and fell. It felt as though I would keep falling in terror that would not end.
When I hit hard on the ground, I cried out, looking up at her beauty and wondering how she could have let me go. I was completely exposed and alone and knew this is where squirrels would come and take others like me.
I was terrified.
Before I could even cry out, I was overwhelmed with that good dirt smell as I found myself atop a moist, dark heap of soil. The Sun enveloped me and I had a glimpse of clear sky.
I thanked him for the comfort and the moment soothed my fear, but it was not to last. Covered and pressed below the surface, I was stepped on. Pressed beneath the dirt I choked and sobbed.
The most difficult time of my life began. That subtle claustrophobia became full blown and I thought I would surely suffocate. Would the Sun leave me here?
Gasping beneath the dirt, I initially sputtered and struggled and resisted. It was as if I was being strangled. As the dirt swallowed me I thought this was the end of all that I am.
The darkness and void of being buried sapped my hope and in the soil I was desolate.
I cried out. Maybe the Sun above could hear me, maybe my mom.
I didn’t even know how to ask for help, but within me there was an urgent pleading. Where once I was surrounded by what I knew and now know that I loved, loneliness devastated me.
What seemed like days went by and I tried to maintain sanity thinking this was all there would ever be—darkness, solitude, nothing but pressure, separation and the feeling of death.
After what seemed like days, the faintest warm bit of moisture reached me there in the tomb I inhabited. It’s warmth was comforting.
Multiple droplets would reach me over the next days and weeks and I began to realize I was finding nourishment in this water that had come from above the surface. I’d even thought I detected radiant heat from above.
My hard outer shell seemed less hard, maybe even soft in a spot or two.
I cherished the nourishment I was receiving as I called out in gratitude for what was given. I took in all that I could eagerly.
The nourishment encouraged me to live, to think that there could be more.
Then came that day.
It was the day when I learned the worst had not yet come. It was a crack that made it’s way from the base of me to the tip top. I was torn and the hurt was unimaginable. I didn’t know I could feel like this.
Broken open I knew I would not ever last beyond this moment. I cried again for help.
The pain enveloped me as the crack spread wider, slowly. It was beyond a deep ache. It was stabbing and throbbing and burning as my outer self was torn away from my tender inner self.
My only covering and protection began to be stripped away. I had relied so heavily on this hard outer covering to protect me and keep me locked away from pain.
Initially those drops that had been a comfort stung so deeply as they found me without my outer covering. They helped separate me from it.
This could not be right. It just couldn’t. Why would the Sun send comfort and nourishment that only eliminated what I most needed—that protective layer?
As I wrestled and struggled trying to find relief and comfort, the warm gentle drops would again eventually become salve to me. They became so sweet and so treasured as I existed in the dark.
My exposed and now fully soft self would bend towards their warmth and the moisture even transformed the dirt around me. It was now soft and almost welcoming. I found it meeting my needs. Maybe I would survive without my exterior.
I also slowly realized as time went by that with my hard shell now removed, I was growing.
Gradually I was getting longer and stronger and could even feel myself moving. Whenever I could I chose to move toward the surface, to where I had last seen sky and sunshine and my mother.
Nourishment came as I focused on gratitude for these gifts of life. One day I realized that it was in fact, day. I was so near the surface and had begun to sprout a leaf. That moment I again felt sunshine on my transformed body made me delirious.
The warmth embraced my tiny leaf atop my single stem as I pushed through the earth.
Breaking through the surface, I was amazed to think that my life was not over but perhaps had just begun. I praised the Sun.
Weeks and months and years would come and go as I grew and strengthened. Now my branches reach far and wide as I work to continue to soak up the Sun.
I have a new covering beyond all I could have asked or imagined. It is strong and powerful and protects me from all that could harm.
Just as when I was a cracked open shell beneath the surface, He was calling to me, sending me what I needed and growing me. He continues to do that within my new covering.
I could never of imagined what He wanted me to be and now my faith has become sight.
Now I am providing shelter for others and producing offspring of my own. I know what it is to be loved.