I’ve made a habit of having my daily quiet time at my favorite little corner of my home in front of a window overlooking the backyard. We have a single tree, an oak, planted about 6 feet from our fenceline, in front of a creek full of beautiful trees and vines. The green trees and the creek were honestly what made me want to purchase the home in 2019. I felt the Lord’s presence when I stood in the backyard. I felt seen by him. The day we toured the home, I was feeling pretty meh about moving farther north. If I am being honest, I was “fence sitting” in a lot of areas of my life. Unwilling to go forward, unwilling to let go. Below is a picture I took of the trees in the creek on the day we toured the home.
I added the words hope over it, because it’s the emotion I remember feeling when I saw the sunlight touching my face from behind the trees. I always wanted to remember it that way. I didn’t understand why he had chosen a house for us that was out of range for my current job, but he let me feel his presence so strongly, that I naturally knew everything I needed to know to pull the trigger on next steps with the home. It was a feeling I can’t explain other than an unsurpassable peace. The kind you would imagine having if you were to look into the eyes of Jesus directly. Everything else just fades away in that moment and it’s just you and him.
Today, I was telling God how I wished I would have taken a picture of the little oak in our backyard when we first moved in. Trees are like people, it’s a challenge to clearly see how much they’ve actually grown, but you know they’re spreading out in width and height.
I can still see the impression on the trunk where the anchoring wire connected to the three stakes that kept it anchored to the ground. It’s become a place of rest and feeding the for the birds. Even the squirrels (I named him Sammy the Squirrel) and Reggie (the raccoon) come to eat. I see new leaves spreading out at the end of every branch. If I had to guess, the oak is probably about 40 feet tall now. I would guess it was maybe 15 feet when we moved in. It’s top leaves spread out like fingers pointing straight up to the sky, reaching as far as its limbs will shoot, as if to give glory to its creator.
I am drawn to its simple beauty. Just by being a tree, it is fully what it was created to be. In the morning its branches and arms are lifted up in worship. At night it does not move. It dances with the wind and the rain. The thunderstorms drive its roots deeper into the ground to grow greater. With each passing year it becomes more majestic.
To some, it’s just a simple oak. But to me, I see a tree that represents my own journey. Kept safe in a tender space to grow in the light of the sun. Hidden in the back for only a few to see. An evergreen oak of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor” (Isaiah 61:3). Grown to endure.
It’s branches have been pruned for better growth. A single tree in front of a creek and treeline. It’s separated from the other trees, given plenty of room for its roots to spread out. The doves come daily to sit on its strong branches.
There is so much beauty in its simplicity. There are no adornments, nothing that causes it to stand out, yet it stands out.
Keep growing, young oak. Grow up until your branches reach he who created you for his glory.