i was nine days into a category 4 emotional hurricane.
Unlike literal hurricanes, the wind, rain, and aftermath had not been predicted or calculated. No one gave me an evacuation warning. The news didn't drone on and on about the fierce winds and rising flood waters. i felt like a Weather Channel reporter, but i wasn't in the storm to report it. i was there because it caught me off guard and before i could run for safety, i was being pelted by the rain of emotional pain and buffeted by hurricane force winds that were knocking me off my feet..
The eye of the storm was in my rear view mirror. With hopes of regaining my footing and maybe some perspective, i headed for Salem Lake. This time, my goal wasn't to train for an upcoming race (although it should have been), it wasn't to get some exercise (see previous parenthetical thought), it wasn't to prayer walk and talk to God (don't judge me).
My purpose was simple and singular. i wanted.... No, i needed to hear from God.
God, just show yourself. Give me a message. Tell me something, anything. i need to hear from You.
i took my camera and added a long lens in case whatever He wanted to show me was off in the distance.
There were plenty of people at the lake. i was kind of expecting one of them to stop and give me a Word from the Lord, but it didn't happen. i was somewhat disappointed at the lack of wildlife. Not nearly as many turtles, birds, and ducks as usual, but with eyes and ears open i kept walking.
Then i saw it. However, before i share how it spoke to my heart. What do you see? Take 15-30 seconds and carefully examine the picture below.
Do you see what i see?
It was super obvious, albeit unexpected. It was my answer. God had something for me, and His message did not come through the serene, glistening waters of the lake or a flock of birds flying in perfect formation. Not even through a cute little squirrel, or a turtle drying on a log.
Instead, His message to me came through a mangled tree.
Just far enough off of the beaten path to be seen, but not disturbed. It came from something going terribly wrong. This branch wasn't to be stretched out on a tall and majestic tree. It wasn't to bear fruit, leaves with intricate patterns or beautiful flowers. It had another purpose.
So, what do you see?
i see a loving, compassionate God. i see a reminder that His love is beautiful and perfect, even at the very moment my life felt like the tangled mess of a tree that was bending, and very close to the breaking point. Yet, the "mess" was shaped like a heart with a cross in the middle. (Okay, THAT is where you need to shout). What?! a tree branch, a vine, whatever it is, shaped like a big 'ol heart! Talk about God coming through in the clutch. Ok, whew, sorry.....as i was saying......
If that doesn't say LOVE. i don't know what does.
i have no clue what you are facing. i don't understand what storms have knocked you off your feet or what hurricane force winds have threatened to destroy life as you know it; what i do know is that God loves you with an indescribable, unbelievable love. i know that even in the tangled mass of a seemingly dead tree, He sends a message of hope through two universal symbols; the cross and the heart.
Perhaps, you are facing your cat 4 today. Maybe you are in the aftermath of a terrible storm. God knows i cant' keep a secret when it comes to Him and His love. That's why He showed me the cross hidden in the heart.
He knew i'd share it with you.
What do YOU see?
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