My Shadow Tree

My Shadow Tree

Yes…it’s ANOTHER tree that my sweet Jesus showed me!! This tree comes a year and a half after the first tree God showed me at Pine Cove, see “Don’t Be Like This Tree.”

I had attended the Destiny Project Retreat from Thursday-Sunday. [It’s an awesome TRANSFORMATIVE experience to say the least and I would highly recommend attending one]. It was Monday, and I went running at Town Lake to celebrate with God because of all that He had begun showing me at this retreat. I was on the look out for what God wanted to give me there, like a present. I knew He had something for me, personally. Imagine my surprise and excitement when I stop at the Lamar pedestrian bridge to get water and my eyes are quickly drawn to a picture of a dead tree on a flag type thing. [Keep in mind, God has been showing me trees for the better part of 1-1/2 years. The tree picture quickly drew my attention]. These women were just beginning to put together the “Thirst” art installation at Lady Bird Lake. I got a flyer and knew God had more to tell me about this tree. I asked Jesus, “what do You want me to know about this tree?” He said…”this tree represents your shadow side. Your shadow side makes you feel like you are disconnected from Me (God), your life source, just like this tree is disconnected from the water (it’s life source). But something redeeming about you, and this shadow tree is; there is still a THIRST! For you, a thirst for Me (God), and for the shadow tree, a thirst for water.” I needed to hear that truth, and I needed to show grace to that “shadowy” part of myself: even though I feel disconnected from God at times, and even when I sometimes in disobedience don’t connect with God, at the end of the day I can’t stay in that place for long! I still THIRST for Him (that’s a gift from God, in and of myself I wouldn’t choose Him). God has been faithfully showing me grace for all these many years that I’ve been walking with Him (30+ years), but I, like many others, have difficulty extending grace to myself. I continued running, and by the time I got to the opposite side of the lake, I noticed there was a barge in the middle of the lake. I stopped to look at it, and I promise…I heard “that still, small voice,” which I call the Holy Spirit, whisper…”there’s going to be a tree in the middle of the lake.” I shrugged it off, but thought, “How cool would that be?!”

Thursday morning I went and met two women in south Austin to talk about our Destiny Project time. I had gone south on MoPac so I hadn’t noticed what God had done for me. My friends and I finished a beautiful time of sharing together, and I began my trek back north via Lamar. I was on the phone with my husband, and I exclaimed, “GET OUT!! There’s a tree in the middle of the lake, Charles!” I’m sure he thought I was crazy, but then again…I kinda am, right?! I had already told him about the art installation and showed him the flyer. I told him I had to get off the phone and get to that tree. I was so excited God had granted me my heart’s desire to see a tree in the middle of the lake!! I wanted to hear more from Him so I quickly maneuvered through traffic to find a spot to pray and ask God for more.

He revealed to me that this tree represents my “shadow side.” Simply put, a shadow side is a part of myself that is still afraid, injured, bound up or in hiding. When I’m at my worst, Satan’s lies can bombard me and say such things as: “you’re no longer loved by God because you’re judgmental, impatient,______ etc.; you can’t even hear from God anymore because you are so disobedient; you aren’t worthy of God’s love because you’ve messed up so many times.” As I agree with these accusations, I can begin to feel like this THIRST tree. I feel separated from God, my life source; I feel dead inside, like this lifeless tree; I feel like I have no fruit to show for my life. But notice, I said feel. Not only do we have an accuser, but to add insult to injury, our hearts can lie to us, too and scripture talks about it: Jeremiah 17:9 (NLT) “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked.Who really knows how bad it is?” Next thing you know, you’re not living the life God intended–an abundant life. John 10:10 (AMP) explains it beautifully: 10 The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).

You see…I originally thought my shadow tree was the one God showed me earlier at Pine Cove (see “Don’t be like this tree” post). That tree was barren and looked dead, but it was still IN the water, still connected to it’s life source. God is helping me to understand the seasons of my life, via the illustration of all these trees. There are seasons of fall, winter, spring, and summer, and each season is necessary and has a distinct purpose. I can still rejoice in God in all these seasons…I don’t have to fret that I’m not always in Spring, blossoming and growing fruit. But I can do what scripture says in Habakkuk 3:17-18 (NLT): 17 Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!

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Tree of Life Necklace

Tree of Life Necklace

Seven months after God had shown me my “Don’t Be Like This Tree,” He finally showed me how to commemorate His undying love for me. I had the opportunity to go to a friend’s jewelry party. I really didn’t have the time to go that week, but felt prompted that I should make a quick appearance. As soon as I saw this necklace, I knew why I was suppose to go to this party. I was so excited!! I had been wanting to commemorate my special time with God at that retreat, and He finally showed me how to do it. This Tree of Life necklace reminds me of God’s UNCONDITIONAL love for me. Through His perfect love, and  through the power of the Holy Spirit, I, too, can grow into a beautiful tree that bears fruit for His glory and praise.

The Tree of Life

A few days after God showed me the dead tree in the middle of the lake at Pine Cove, God began to show me another tree. It was early morning of Good Friday. I woke up from a dead sleep at 2:22AM. I sensed God saying, “This isn’t just a time, but it’s a Bible reference.” So in obedience, I got up out of bed to find this Bible reference. I felt like it was the book of Revelation because at our leadership retreat we had spent some time studying the book of Revelation. So I went to Revelation 2:22, and I cringed to read about the judgment of a woman who hadn’t repented of her ways. I quickly thought to myself, “Lord do I need to repent of something?” The Holy Spirit didn’t confirm that I needed to repent, but to look up Revelation 22:2. I was so excited to read this beautiful description of the Tree of Life (I’m including verse 1, too for context): 1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. This tree of life looked nothing like the bleak tree He had shown me at the retreat. Wow! This tree is in the river of the water of life, and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. Later that day, my family and I went to our church’s Good Friday service. It was a powerful time on our church’s campus. I was so tired afterwards. I got the kids to bed, and I was dozing off on the couch. Then my sweet daughter came in the living room and woke me up. She said, “Mommy I just have to show you what I was reading in my Action Bible.” She flipped to the very end of her Bible and read to me about the Tree of Life!! I was so tired that I couldn’t even explain to her the amazing significance of her coming to read me that particular passage. I just chuckled inside to see how God had brought that passage to me again. The next morning, I was able to have a sweet time with my daughter to explain to her the full impact she and God’s Word had on me. I commended her for listening to the Holy Spirit’s prompting, and waking me up to read that passage. I asked her, why she did it, and she explained, “Mommy, it was so powerful and I just had to come and read it to you.” She is right…God’s Word is powerful! Below is the picture of the Tree of Life from her Action Bible. I loved how God was showing me more of His love by giving me a picture of His Tree of Life. The Tree of Life is always blooming, always healing, and always perfect in it’s provision.  God was showing me more of Himself, because I was praying to see more of Him and to know more of Him. I knew for certain, now, that God wanted me to find a tree, whether a painting, a picture, something, so I would be reminded of His loving tree messages.

tree of life

Don’t be like this tree

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It was a year and a half ago that God showed me this tree at Pine Cove camp. I was on a leadership retreat with my church for the weekend. I woke up early Sunday morning, and I felt like He was whispering to me, “Go outside; I have something I’d like to show you.” Keep in mind, it was early dawn and I could barely see where I was going. I sensed I was to go to this pier overlooking the lake. After time in prayer with God, I kept asking Him, “what do you want me to see Lord?” Finally, when the sun started to rise, He showed me this tree. I took a picture of it, and added the sun rays with a filter in Instagram. I sat there praying, asking God to tell me what He wanted me to know. At that point in time, I felt like He was telling me, “I don’t want you to be like this tree, Raquel. It’s in the middle of the lake, and yet it appears to be dead. Don’t live your life that way….connected to Me (the tree is ‘in’ the water and the water represents God), but feeling dead (having no leaves or fruit). I love you with an UNCONDITIONAL love, so you shouldn’t feel dead inside; you’re still connected to Me.” I really needed to hear that message from Him at that time. I was coming out of a tough season when I really didn’t feel vibrant, fruit-bearing, alive, or close to God. And God wanted me to know that He loved me, and because He loved me, He showed me a picture of what I was feeling. And He didn’t just leave me there to sulk in my feelings of drought. He was so gracious! There were five others on the pier near me. We all ended up gathering together, having an AMAZING time of worship and prayer for one another. It was in this community that I again sensed God’s love for me in a very tangible way. It was a powerful time for me! I didn’t want to forget what my Father was telling me and that experience. I wanted to commemorate this revelation that God had given me. In time, God revealed a way for me to “mark” that experience so that I would always remember His love for me. If you’d like to jump ahead in the story, you can read The Tree of Life Necklace. Otherwise, God wanted to show me another tree before I found the necklace.