I didn’t think it was possible to fully ‘relax’ on our holidays this past week. I have been so uptight over the last few weeks. Recovering from an emotional breakdown has been a long journey and ‘rest’ and ‘letting go’ have been the keys to my healing. I am almost 95% recovered yet the last 5% of me remains tight fisted. Part is the weight of family, blogging, marriage, raising children and church, all good things that I love and define me but even the things that naturally rests upon our shoulders carry weight. I think it is almost impossible to be fully at ease when you are dependant upon.
My clenched, uptight, ‘hold it together’ demeanour has been getting in the way of enjoying life and I needed to chill. Distraction and busyness have been used like a drug to tame my anxiety and like so many other women, it can be used to numb. So recognizing this in myself was a sure sign that I’m off balance and I needed God to continue His work in me.
I was a little in dread to go camping for the week to be honest. Usually I cannot wait for a holiday and I love camping. I think I was worried I would bring my stress and tension with me. In all honesty I was anxious to be alone with my thoughts and to not have the distractions and demands that constantly call me away from my lingering brokeness.
Can you relate?
Reluctantly, I packed up all 7 of us, headed 4 hrs into the mountains and set up camp. The 1st morning there I woke at 10am. I think “rest’ found me. “…for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest…” Hebrews 4:10.
I managed to ‘let go’ which I think can only account to the Grace of God because I was not prepared to rest but to ward off anxiety and depression. Instead I became lazy, I read a ton, I enjoyed great moments with friends, and my kids and my hubby. I spent a lot of time reading my bible and soaking in the world and the word around me and I’m pretty sure all this ‘resting’ cost me 10lbs on my butt. I’ll take it!
I took a few teary moments alone on the shore of the lake to decompress, a year long exhale so to speak. It was a much needed moment.
Two summers ago, I blogged about a great storm that swept through our camp. – Camping Storm – Trees swayed and crashed to the ground in a wild storm that seemed to have come out of nowhere. Trailers and trucks were destroyed under massive pine trees and it was by a pure miracle that no one died that day.
So here we were back in B.C. at the same campground. Evidence of the storm still present. This time the winds began to gust and text messages from concerned family who had read the weather reports came in. I stood under the same unstable trees announcing to my family and friends who were camping with us, “if one branch falls, we are gone!”
The storm two summers ago preceded the hardest spiritual storm of my life. So standing again, in yet another storm was ironic. “The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual.” 1 Corinthians 15:46
I don’t usually share my ‘journally’ writing on my blog they are quite personal. However, one of the books I finished this trip was the Courage to Write by Ralph Keys, who gave me a good spanking when it comes to fearing what I write and what I publish.
I wrote this sitting under the swaying trees reminiscing on the stormy year I’ve had and how far I have come. Praise the Lord. I wanted to share it with you, because I know I am not alone and that sometimes you, my dear readers, also sway, cling and panic.
Stretched to the sky the tall thin pine trees sway.
The swaying is calming, mesmerizing even.
I am caught in the rhythm.
But a strong wind gusts and the trees bend and clack together, some bowing so low they are sure to break.
The observer, me, can’t help but anxiously pray the roots are deep, without compromise.
Without deep roots that stretch and cling in pursuit of water, there is no assurance that this swaying forest will stand.
For some have befallen, their roots exposed to ants, squirrel nests and children with gleeful hatchets.
Did that tree not know the power of the wind or were there just too many storms?
It’s trunk lay prostrate, like a man defeated in war. Free game for campers and beavers.
Was it once strong?
For now it is substance for fire, wild game and child’s play.
At times I have swayed clacking against other pines.
Even causing those under to question my strength.
At times, even I have stopped to observe my trunk in a panic as branches broke off and winds grew stronger
and bark became a painful tablet for carving young lovers.
Would I stand in this storm or would I fall quickly to the ground unearthing and uprooting,
destroying all unsuspecting ground dwellers?
I stood, observed and found no confidence in the strength of these tall trunks, thinning into blue.
I found no peace in the wildlife that used me to perch upon or dwell under.
The fading leaves gave no evidence of life, longevity or strength.
So I climbed down..
I climbed from the unstable toppling tip to the roots.
The ugly twisted, half rotten roots that had tangled and forced their way through, over and under rocks and clay and grass.
To my peace, the roots lay strong, deep within.
They stretched further than I had imagined.
For years of drought had caused them to stretch, search and find drink.
I daily have to get my eyes off of my trembling fingers that sway and grasp other trees, clinging for security.
I look down below to the establishment of root, of faith, hope and truth. That’s where my strength comes from.
Though other trees may fall to my left, creating a cracking BANG, like that of a cannon shot.
I am learning to sway and giggle in the breeze and even muster a polite “excuse me”
as I grasp for stability from my neighbouring pines.
I look down under, deep past the roots and I see the seed.
The planted seed that was neither blown, parched, chocked out, or swallowed by ravens.
I am thankful.
I am filled with peace.
For I look and I see I am rooted in Christ, no matter the storm.