The trees across from my neighborhood have just been installed by the developer of a new neighborhood. As I left for work one morning in early June, I saw the trucks hauling in the trees with their roots wrapped. When I got home that day, all 10 trees had been planted to line the entrance to the neighborhood. Although the junior trees looked pretty for about a week, the heat began in earnest. Afternoon storms provided a deluge of a drink to them for a few days. Lack of water due to no rain seeping into their roots became evident though after another dry week. They are now brown. I feel so sad. They started off strong. They were positioned near a newly poured sidewalk with about two yards of space between the sidewalk and the road. Their roots can’t soak up the water that is not there and honestly, I have a feeling that the original soil was not the best either since I know that the soil around my house is hard and like clay preventing much moisture from getting into the roots. I was also reminded of a bush that had been uprooted in front of my house after the plumber repaired a pipe in our front yard then replanted it. It hung on during the winter months, but eventually, became brown and had to come up.
Do I ever look like that brown tree? If people could really see my spiritual condition, what would they see? Would I be like a tree planted by the water who bears fruit? Would I have the faded look of a tree that is malnourished? Would I stand out as an example of one who is dead or blind spiritually? After an incredible school year, I realize now that I need a break. I gave it my all, poured out my best, and now it’s time to rejuvenate physically, mentally and spiritually. In order to prepare for my roots to soak up needed refreshment, I began to contemplate the idea of being thirsty and wanting a drink. I really want to relax for my health. So how do I do this?
Prior to this amazing day, I had just experienced three days of summer training online and at my district’s Summer Institute. This afternoon, I drove toward my neighborhood and saw the brown trees. I got home and saw a Facebook post from my friend who had shared Casey Treat’s FB post on June 23, 2014 –
“Don’t dig up in doubt what you planted in faith! Stay planted & stay faithful!” #BeYou #faith
After dinner, I just had to sit down and write. I am reminded that I can prevent myself from taking in nourishment if I don’t pray and meditate on God’s Word daily. I want to be present and enjoy every waking minute with my children and my husband. I am praying and asking God to heal what has been hurt, restore what has been damaged and refresh me like only He can with His Living Water. As I reflect on His promises, His Spirit sends a refreshing like wind over water. I love the Everlasting Water in the Word of God.
Unlike the bush that eventually had to be uprooted in my yard due to the lack of life, God will never allow me to be plucked from His hand. He works in ways we cannot understand. He provides streams in the desert and brings the dead to life. I know because I’ve witnessed this in my life again and again. I discovered life flowing scriptures after searching for “planted by water” online knowing that there are Bible verses about this topic. Here’s what surfaced:
Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD and whose trust is the LORD. For he will be like a tree planted by the water that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaves will be green and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.
For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.
But whoever drinks the water I (Jesus) give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.
On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.”
Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.
He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.
For the director of music. A maskil of the Sons of Korah. As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?
I spread out my hands to you; I thirst for you like a parched land.
Praise be to God because I know that He provides my spiritual nourishment! My spiritual roots grow down deep. I am in his vineyard. He supplies the life giving water that will never run dry. I must rejoice to know that I am protected and provided with the Holy Spirit. If I feel like the brown tree, I must let my roots soak up the life giving water of the Word of God. Its words bring hope, healing and life. Prayer must accompany the reading of the Word of God. The following scripture is the focus of my pastor’s preaching these days for me:
Jeremiah 33:3 “Call to me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things that you do not know.”
My pastor mentioned yesterday that when we call to God and ask him for things, we should expect an answer, however, the answer will probably not be something that we thought of in advance. In other words, when God answers my prayers, He will show me things that I don’t even know at this point. I am astounded to know that even though I pray, God is doing way more than what I could ever ask for. When God repairs, I imagine that it’s like He pours in His Grace and Life into me so that I can be filled. Thirst requires action. If you are thirsty for the Holy Spirit of God to renew, reshape, restore and resolve the past, plant yourself by the water. Be refreshed!
When the doctor numbed my foot a few weeks ago to prepare me for some stem cell injections to rebuild and repair damaged tissue in my foot, it hurt. No, it was excruciating pain when the needle entered my skin and the medicine was released. “OOOOUUUUUCHHH!” I yelled. I wailed. The numbing by the doctor meant that two needles went in on both sides of my heel. I then had to wait for 40 minutes for my foot to fully numb so that he could inject the Amnio Fix solution filled with life giving stem cells. I decided to do this procedure because I know know that God has given doctors the knowledge on how to give us life based on 2 Peter 1: 3 International Standard Version
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the full knowledge of the one who called us by his own glory and excellence.“
I couldn’t feel the Amnio Fix until it must have hit a nerve which almost made me jump out of the seat where I was reclined. Soon, it was over, a black robotic-like boot was fitted on my foot/leg, and I stood to walk. I could not feel my heel but the boot stabilized me so that I could walk. I was walking slowly but knew that this procedure should help me feel better and walk without limping. I had to take action and make a decision. After three years of plantar fasciitis in the left foot, I couldn’t take it anymore. I was thirsty for a drink. I made a choice, have hobbled and had limited mobility for two weeks and can see that this healing is taking a while. Nevertheless, summer time is my time to have down time so I am patiently waiting on wholeness to come to my foot.
My summer break allows me to reflect and unwind. I feel like David in the Psalms when he wrote, “He makes me to lie down in green pastures. He restores my soul.” Today I sat beside of the pool from 4:45 – 6:45 p.m. at my YMCA outdoor pool under an umbrella. The sun’s rays began to peek under the covering as it lowered in the sky. It was my first time by the pool this summer. I sat down with a headache. I watched my children jump in the pool. “Watch me, Mommy!” I heard them say. Watching their cannon balls and underwater flips and seeing them race against each other on the two water slides caused me to grab my new found freedom. I love the feeling of relaxing. I don’t do it enough, but know that there is health and wellness in that lounge chair by the pool. I even let myself read my new book by Chris Lehman whom I met last week at the CMS Summer Institute called “Fall in Love With Close Reading”. I began putting together what he said in my all day session with him last Thursday and what the book explained. I’d look up a lot and see my girls having a blast in the pool. Due to my foot being in my boot due to the foot procedure that I had done on June 13, my first day of summer vacation, I couldn’t get in the pool. I dangled my foot, even taking it out of the boot while I sat in the lounge chair reading, relaxing and rejuvenating. I could feel the headache fading and myself embracing the moment.
The breeze came as clouds blew across the sky, but as I drove away today from the pool, I let my hair blow in the breeze and the warmth invade my skin and my heart. “Who’s relaxed?” I asked my children. “Meeee!!!” they exclaimed. I loved the moment and hope for many more of them during the summer. Let the times of refreshing begin!