I’ve mentioned my favorite tree before. 988494_10152028058779741_2109384972_nHere it is pictured in its summer splendor. It’s getting a little thin on leaves, now, I realized, when I took Lynne on a tour of the property yesterday, and we popped in for a visit. But it’s no less spectacular.

After a nice walk, we met up with Kevin in the front pasture. There’s another fabulous live oak up there, which is probably my second favorite tree, but it’s not as bulbous or knobby as this one. He asked if I’d taken Lynne to “my spot,” which is the tucked away sanctuary where my tree lives. When I answered yes, he started telling her about that tree, about how it had appeared to have been struck by lightning, which had damaged some branches and caused some bad scarring. It appears to still be healthy, but that scarring has resulted in all those knobs and bulbous over-growths, which is one of the main reasons I love it.

That tree has the most character of any of the hundreds of tree on our property. It has a quality of knowing, because it looks like it’s been around the block a time or twenty, and it encourages me to keep standing when everything around me might be trying to knock me down.

We try in earnest to avoid the hard stuff, and I’m pretty sure this tree didn’t wave its branches in an electrical storm and say, “Hey lightning, pick me!” It was, like us, probably just standing there living its life when the storm came and the lightning struck. I’ve been knocked flat by lightning in my life, left with scars on my heart and sadness on my face. But when I look at this tree, I realize we’ve both made it through those hard times, and our scars have become some of our most interesting features. They give us character, and we are stronger in those once tender places, with a quiet knowing from where our healing came.

I can tell my tree understands that, because it isn’t to cower or hide from the next storm. Knowing that the sky could fill with lightning at any moment, it still stands firmly in place, reaching up, up, up, to the only One who can either calm it or be the anchor through it.

Encouraging you and me to do the same.


“God is our refuge and strength,
    always ready to help in times of trouble.
So we will not fear when earthquakes come
    and the mountains crumble into the sea.
Let the oceans roar and foam.
    Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge! ” Psalm 46:1-3 NLT

“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5 ESV

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4 ESV