Spring rocks. Even on rainy days, spring smells good. Color is returning to the earth. . . the horizons. . . the world.
You can see my locust tree coming to life in the photos below. It is still a young tree, standing perhaps 15-20 feet. I’m always a bit anxious for its buds to burst open, and it seems to be one of the later-budding trees in my yard.
Seems silly to be anxious about tree buds. But you must know, I planted this tree in the middle of a very dark time in my life. Our family had gone through several stressful moves, and I was at the height of going through therapy and memory recovery related to my abuse issues.
A dear pastor and friend gave me this verse then, and I have clung to it ever since: “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten.” Joel 2:25
So, when we moved, I made sure we planted a locust tree.
The first couple years it was questionable whether or not it would survive. We had to cut off the top 1/3 of it that died after the first winter. It lost many other branches, too. I even burned off three branches accidentally when I thought cute little citronella votives would be fun to hang there.
After hefty doses of root fertilizer two years in a row, it finally seems to be taking off.
I’m a little more stable myself these days, after soaking in hefty doses (years) of therapy and the Bible and good friends and the best husband and kids on the planet. I think the branches of my heart are growing less afraid to reach Heavenward . . . and horizontally toward other humans. Stagnant parts of me have been cut off, and I continue to seek wise and thoughtful pruning every day.
When God repays us for the years abusers and life issues have destroyed, it’s not the same as “prosperity preaching.” Jesus promised we’d have trouble in this world, and indeed, “nobody knows the trouble I seen” (thanks, Louis Armstrong–did he really call it a “light spiritual”???). . . and no doubt have yet to see.
When God “repays us,” it’s not because we deserve a repayment. Far from it. He “repays us” with the ability to be strong in our brokenness; the privilege to share His glory and the hope of redemption with others; and the freedom to walk this earth without having to drag the chains of shame and fear and self-hatred behind us.
If locust are destroying the crops of your soul . . . if they are swarming on your horizon . . . or if they have eaten their full and left you sitting in a barren, lonely field . . . know that He will repay you, too, dear one.
Take it from one who knows.
He will repay you–if you allow Him to–indeed.
Oh, and this photo isn’t my locust tree. It’s my magnolia bush. Thought you might like to see it, too.