Determination

The paved a road over me but I sprouted anyway.

The put up a fence to keep me out but climbed onto the fence and used it to reach skyward.

Then men came with saws and in anger they cut me down and hauled off my crown. I was devastated for a season. But my roots are strong and deep and in defiance I rose again.

I will not give up.

I will not yield.

I will live and I will flourish in this place where God planted me in spite of all challenges.

I am determined.

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Determined To Live “and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article. ( you can click on the tile to reach the contact form)

I have passed by this tree stump every day for more than fifteen years but I never really noticed it. Modern life is lived at sixty five miles per hour and it’s easy to overlook the details when you’re just trying to make your destination on time. However, I was forced to stop in front of stump by a construction zone and noticed the guardrail running through the tree. I couldn’t believe that I had not ever noticed it before standing just a few feet away from the current guardrail. But when I saw it I couldn’t unsee it. It was one of those things that called for to me to tell it’s story.

I thought about the conditions it must have had to sprout in. It would have been mowed down several times before reaching a size too large for the mower to cut. It was in the process of absorbing the guardrail when it was cut down. Now I see new leaves sprouting up from the stump. The tree embodies the the definition of determination. The drive to thrive regardless of adversity.

Being determined doesn’t mean that there won’t be a struggle or that you won’t be knocked down. Instead it means not giving up before you overcome.

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The Shaking

The small Virginia Pine stands out in a sea of Broomsedge. The open ridge line invites a harsh wind on most days. The winter here in this spot is ruled by freezing rain as well as blizzards. The wind has come through with enough rage to shake my big blue truck from side to side and knock down the power lines but still the crooked little Virginia Pine continues to flourish. I have watched it for several years now and it’s growing stronger with each storm. While it’s obvious that wind shake can damage trees it’s also true that a certain amount of wind is necessary for the trees to grow strong. If the tree isn’t shaken as it grows it never develops the mechanisms to deal with storms.

Often in our spiritual life we become distraught when troubles come and our faith is tested. But, it’s in these challenges that our strength develops to our full potential. Without them we never develop the coping mechanism that that gives us the strength to survive the storms.

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Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “The Pioneer” and is available for purchase by using the ContactForm on my website.

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Overcoming Produces Beauty

I’ve said it before about how much I love twisted and crooked, gnarly trees. The curls sweeps of the wood speak of challenges that were overcome to survive. I’m not sure what caused the arabesque in the trunk of this one but the moment I saw the double curve I fell in love with the tree. No doubt that it had to have carried the weight of at least one or maybe two larger trees as it grew. I also have no doubt that it’s unique shape prevented it from being harvested at some point in its history.

Sometimes God allows us to go through struggles that we don’t understand. We might wonder how much longer a situation will last. We might think that the burden we carry will pull us down. But if we just keep going and we don’t give up we can make it. Sure, there’s going to be scars and we may not stand as tall as some of our contemporaries. But, that doesn’t make us any less beautiful. It makes us overcomers and it makes us unique.

As I looked around at the surrounding forest there were hundreds of trees that were straight and tall. Some of trunks were so thick that you and your best friend couldn’t reach all the way around them by joining hands. But they all faded into the background. The only one that stood out and begged to be photographed was the one who was unique. One day this tree will fall just like the rest of them. As a woodworker I can imagine some bent wood furniture being made from crooked trunk. If it ever happens it will be a centerpiece in someone’s home where the others couldn’t compete with the graceful curves produced by overcoming the struggle. Don’t ever give up. Bend and adapt to overcome and you’ll grow into something special.

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