Three baby maple trees were growing in the sandbox beneath the boys’ swing set. Knee-high, I couldn’t bear to just dig them up and dispose of them. So the boys helped me dig a new spot for them in the sun. After adding nutrients and sand and fresh mulch to the hard Indiana clay, we placed the trees in their new holes, patted them down snug, and gave them a good drink of water.
A few days later, this is how they look. The boys are concerned the trees will die, and a couple of them may. And yet, the bright green that remains gives me hope they will grow through the shock of their new environment and thrive.
Often I feel just like these trees. God has been so gracious to heal me and place me in the warmth of His Son in so many areas of my life. Yet my moods get in the way. (The fact that I’m a thirty-something woman doesn’t help. Sorry guys, but the closer I get to peri-menopause, the more pronounced my mood swings become.)
Sometimes my moods don’t have a thing to do with hormones. The shifts can come from an accidental bounced check, a missed deadline, or a complete stranger who looks at me cross-eyed.
Most of the time, my moods have to do with fear. The pain of the past paralyzes my determination, so even though I’m in a healthier place, my roots can’t–won’t— branch out into the healthier soil. I keep relying on my old root system that was broken and shredded in the transplant process–despite the fact that God has given me the ability to grow new roots.
Oswald Chambers’ devotional from My Utmost for His Highest is a perfect parallel for this scenario:
“We will never get rid of our moodiness by praying, but we will by kicking it out of our lives. Moods nearly always are rooted in some physical circumstance, not in our true inner self. It is a continual struggle not to listen to the moods which arise as a result of our physical condition, but we must never submit to them for a second. We have to pick ourselves up by the back of the neck and shake ourselves; then we will find that we can do what we believed we were unable to do. The problem that most of us are cursed with is simply that we won’t. The Christian life is one of spiritual courage and determination lived out in our flesh.”
Dear Lord, believing we can be whole and live better lives is so hard. Please help us as survivors, and as friends of survivors, to have the courage and determination to grow the new roots that can reach the nutrients and fresh water You have provided. Help us to get over the transplant shock that consists of the circumstances of our lives we cannot control. Help us give those to You, so that we can be free to grow tall and thrive. Amen.
(By the way, the first of my peonies burst open this morning. Isn’t she spectacular? And she smells every bit as delicious as she looks!)