Evidence of Grace

Evidence of Grace

Sunday, December 30, 2012

My Simple Bare Tree

The stockings are no longer stuffed; where the gifts once lay, wrapped in hope and expectation for the New Year, there's nothing but a few leftover, dried-up pine needles scattered about. The Christmas bulbs are placed in their boxes and the star topper is wrapped, safely awaiting next year’s commotion and hype.

The Christmas candles are all burnt down; no more leftover sweets or pies and the infamous tree—once full of life, lights, and all sorts of shiny things—lays bare by the common dumpster outside my door, patiently waiting for the garbage man to come haul it away.

There are no more Christmas tunes whistling through Founders Hall, Hearst Tower, or Modern Salon and Spa. No more three-story trees or Christmas cheer at all! But this year as we come to the end of yet another chapter in this storybook called life, I've realized some things I never have before.

For the first time ever I have realized just how much I can relate to that tree that lavished my bare wall in the living room. You see, no matter how much you water it—how many ribbons, bows, lights, bulbs, or snowflakes you place upon it—under it all it’s still just a bare, plain, tree that cannot stand on it's own.

It's a lot like us.

You see, unless it stays rooted in the ground where it was planted and is in its natural environment, it will never survive.

It was never made to be cut down and "transplanted."

It will now forever be dependent on someone to water and care for it. Trees were never created to be dependant on someone or something else. They were created to stand on their own. Just like we were. No, it might not have the bright lights, bulbs, bows, ribbons, and sparkles, but it does have what it needs to survive. It has life, independent life away from having the burden of needing desperately to rely on someone else. 

This past year I have found myself sawing at my roots, trying to find a "stand" to place my trunk in and clothing myself with all sorts of ribbons, bulbs, lights, and sparkle when all I ever really needed was already given to me in advance.

I loved the moments I had, things I did, places I went, and the people I shared it all with. I traveled Europe this summer to "find myself" and it’s comical to me that six months later, in an almost empty apartment living room, because of those experiences, I have never felt closer to God or myself.

I guess finding myself was more about the journey than the actual destination. It's a journey that I will be on the rest of my life. 

As I reflect on the past year I can see God's hand, protections, and blessing in ever area of my life: my relationships, situations, job, private life, broken hearts, and shattered hopes. He has never been more real to me than is this moment of reminiscing.
This year I am thankful for new friends found in old loves, friendships that never need to be questioned, broken hearts, shattered hopes, and the beautiful picture He has promised to make out of it all.
I am grateful for second chances, and learning the hardest lesson I have yet to learn thus far in life: that above all else I need to guard my heart, because everything I do flows from it. (Proverbs 4:23)
So here is to a New Year, new heartbreaks, new lessons to be learned, a heart full of gratitude, and the confidence that God's hand is still over my life; that He is creating a beautiful picture that screams evidence of His grace, and that he never gives up on me.
2012 it's been a long, hard year, full of lessons learned and memories made. I wouldn't have it any other way.
Here's to you 2013: may we make more memories and then—remember what we’ve learned.