God’s Message in a Redwood Tree


GLEN EYRIE - Garden steps

EL CAP in Winter color cprt







“Never pass up an opportunity to enjoy nature’s beauty ~ it’s the handwriting of God.” *


ED n Karl w giant redwood copyLast week we talked about nature speaking of God and focused on redwood trees. Those magnificent giants live hundreds of years, grow hundreds of feet into the heavens, and have roots as shallow as 5 to 10 feet. But those relatively shallow roots stretch 60, 80, even 100 feet out and intertwine, sometimes even fuse, with the roots of neighbor redwoods. They literally hold each other up. What a perfect metaphor for us.

Psalm 68:6 says:  “God sets the solitary in families” [KJV].  We’re born into families and seem to be wired to need others.  In fact infants recognize faces within hours, and are drawn to animated faces. When their adults suddenly presents a neutral facial expression, signs of distress are seen in children as young as 4 days old. **

ED climbing in JTAnd like redwoods, most of us thrive in a supportive community. This should be no surprise, I guess. Jesus has commanded “Love one another as I have loved you” [John 15:12, KJV].  We’re even told why He chose to link humans together:  Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up.   [Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, KJV]

So how do we do this?  Here are just a couple examples:

In the Bible we read that Aaron & Hur held up the arms of Moses when Amalek fought the Israelites [Exodus 17:12].

Also when David and his men were hungry, Abigail generously provided food. [1 Samuel 25:18-20]

And from life ~ Years ago my young son regularly dragged the trash can belonging to our elderly neighbor back after the garbage men left it in the road.

A wonderful mom and an awesome friend, Ellen,  who’s been fighting a life/death health struggle for years, reaches out and mentors other young mothers with great generosity and love.

Katie Davis graduated high-school and went to Uganda to help in an orphanage during a vacation ~ and stayed, adopting over a dozen girls and starting a ministry that reaches thousands.

My friend Jill just held a dying baby who’d been left alone in a utility closet after an “unsuccessful” abortion. You can read more about her and other everyday heroes in my post from Feb. 4, 2016:  Basic Training for Heroes.

Many years ago, I suffered a miscarriage; and some months later my mother died. My friend Carol called and came by often, refusing to let me collapse into the black-hole of depression that beckoned me.

When my dad was still alive, he lived thousands of miles from us. Every time I went to see him, my sister-in-law opened her home for as long as I wanted to stay. Even from afar, she helped hold me up.

Ed + redwoods COPYLike the redwood’s roots, we reach out from where we are planted. There are countless ways in which we can be part of such a network of support ~ giver and receiver. And like the myriad, intermingled roots, each of them is important and amplifies the others.

Please share your thoughts. It’s another way we can intermingle our roots!  In what way has someone been part of your “root system” and held you up?

How can you be a steadying root for someone else? 

* poster seen on Tumblr

** http://www.parentingscience.com/newborns-and-the-social-world.html

Basic Training for Heroes

Danger stalked Winnetka, a wealthy Chicago suburb, in the early morning of May 20, 1988. A woman delivered poisoned snacks to dozens of people. Then she moved from one location to another trying to trap people in fires she started. She shot children at an elementary school. After that, news reports told the city that her location was uncertain, but she was believed to be in a particular home, holding the family hostage.

When my teen-age son got home from school, he asked us to drive him to Winnetka. With common teen-age audacity, he was certain he could confront the killer and end the day-long siege.

Legion of Honor -French medalWho among us hasn’t fantasized of some highly visible way we’d like to be heroic? Maybe rescue someone from a burning car. Or pull a drowning child from an icy pond. Isn’t some daydream touched when you hear about the three American men, friends from their youth, who restrained a terrorist on the Paris-bound train and were awarded the Legion of Honor Medal?

Those are big deals. Television news big. But most of us don’t live out such grand daydreams.

Jill Stanek, Pro-life Advocate

Jill Stanek

My friend Jill got a brick thrown thru her window. Sounds like some random act of vandalism. But it wasn’t. She was targeted.

She’d been a nurse, so it was strange she was sent a note on a brick. An ordinary nurse in the Labor & Delivery unit of an ordinary hospital ~ until the night a co-worker was carrying a small baby to the soiled utility closet to die. You see, this tiny boy lived through an abortion. Typically when that did happen, the parents or hospital staff held the child until it died. That night, the nurse didn’t have time to hold him.

Dr. Alveda King

Dr. Alveda King

So Jill held the hand-sized child. And as he slipped away, Jill’s determination to protect life grew. She’s become a prominent pro-life activist. One might say she’s reached that rarefied air of fame. She’s spoken around the world, testified before the US Congress, attended signing ceremonies at The White House. I mean, I learned about the brick incident when Dr. Alveda King ~ a woman I dearly love and respect & Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s niece ~ posted it! (Does Alveda King tell the world about your life? Not mine either.) But Jill’s fame also brought her a brick through the window. Being well-known isn’t always fun. And it isn’t Jill’s goal. But it is a consequence of her taking a stand.

I’m convinced that as Jill went to work that day, she had no idea a David-and-Goliath battle would appear.

And, dear sisters, neither do we. Yes, God prepares his children. Perhaps occasionally we sense that “something” is coming. But every day we’re given opportunities to be prepared. Opportunities to build our faith muscles, practice right thinking. Right attitudes. Right responses. I know I’ve missed noticing the majority. They often come disguised.

They look like my friend Clarice getting lost in the hospital parking garage visiting her husband who is fighting leukemia. They look like being asked to provide an excuse for your boss when s/he’s late to a meeting. Getting your finger slammed in the closet door. Knocking over the bottle of olive oil.

Your calling, your path and mine may not lead to invitations to The White House or the Legion of Honor Medal bestowed by French President Hollande. But as discussed in last week’s blog, the little acts matter. Choices in routine matters multiply in impact. Let’s go forward in that confidence. Stay faithful, keep reading and applying Scripture, being on the look out for the choice points in your day ~

So that we may be prepared ~

When a friend looks at you through tears and says, “I can’t hang on any more.”

Or in the night hours, your child telephones saying, “It’s all falling apart. I don’t know what to do.”

What obstacles are you facing today that may be opportunities in disguise?

If you’d like to learn more about Jill, Alveda King, or Clarice James, click on their name & you’ll connect with their blog or Facebook.

Photo credit, Legion of Honor: Alexvonf, public domain on German Wikipedia