lumpy birch

(this is originally from Sept 6, 2009 but still relevant today)

A while ago I was talking to one of my pastors who was encouraging me to start a blog page (still working on that .. life is getting in the way). Anyway, during the conversation I told him about a lumpy tree that I had seen and how it kinda represents my life. I’ve been chewing on this thought for a while ..

My church is on the North Side of Pittsburgh and right next door is a park filled with very old trees. It’s always a pleasure to walk through on my way to service and I usually try to have a treat in my pocket for the friendly neighborhood squirrels. During one of my walks, while searching for my “buddies” I stopped and noticed a huge, towering birch tree.Over 30 ft tall. What made me stop was how beat up the trunk was. Gouges, bulges that encircled the entire trunk, holes … you get the picture. My first thought was “yeesh! What happened to him??” and I kept walking. After about 30 paces I had to stop and turn around to take another look at it. I know it was the Holy Spirit that prompted me to turn around.

It was beautiful!!!! Towering, strong .. all the lumps blended to add to the character of this tree. This tree was a survivor and he wasn’t afraid to show it! I walked back up to the tree and started to really take note of the healed wounds on this tree. I know that the people walking by me thought I was a little “loose in the head” because there I was, touching the wounds that I could reach and seemingly talking to myself. I noticed that the areas around the wounds were extra strong and that the holes were being put to use by various wildlife. This tree, through its wounds was helping others. And still there was new shoots growing out of it. This tree didn’t give up.

I was struck by the thought that this tree represents our Christian walk. At first glance it might make you shudder and walk away but when you see it through the Holy Spirit, the beauty of it truly shines through. The Lord has allowed wounds to happen to us but has taken them and put them to use for His purposes. His healing is perfect and strong. What might seem like gaping holes are being used to offer shelter for others, if you let Him. When your roots are deeply imbedded in Him, You can’t help but have new growth. When you feed on the Living Water and bask in the light of the Lord you will grow strong, tall and beautiful. People will be drawn to you.

The choice is yours. Will you give up and let your life be swallowed up by blight or will you sink your roots in so your colors can bloom, giving Him the glory?



Today is a day of parades, fireworks, picnics and general rest from the work day. When I woke up this morning though, my first thought was “Thank you Jesus for my own Independence Day”

Jesus is there, waiting to break your chains and give you a freedom like you’ve never known.  Just as a phoenix rises from the ashes, so can you rise up and be free from those chains that so tightly wrap around you.

As you go about your day today, if you know Him, take a minute to thank Him for your independence and if you don’t ….. what are you waiting for? Freedom is just one step away.