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!