When Robby and I moved into our home over a year and a half ago, we couldn't wait to get started on creating a lovely backyard. Robby has truly done that: he has planted trees, vines, bushes, and flowers; built a pergola, a pathway, and a planter; and overall masterfully created a little paradise for us. Nearly every morning, I spend some time outside drinking coffee, praying, or reading. This past week, I was reminded of something, and I cannot believe I had forgotten it. You'll see why it's almost unthinkable that this slipped my mind.
About a year ago, Robby had just planted our trees in our yard. It's not the wisest decision to plant trees in our summer because it is so hot here, but we are impatient, and we wanted trees. We left for a week vacation, and when we came back, our corner elm tree was dead. Every leaf was brown, the branches could snap right off, life seemed non-existent. We were both sad about this, not only because trees aren't cheap, but also because we loved that tree.
During this time, I was just beginning to deal with the difficulty we were having getting pregnant. We had recently celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary, and it was on that trip that two difficult things happened: I had my first bad case with cysts, and I heard from my ob-gyn that there wasn't any more she could do to help me get pregnant. I was pretty devastated that summer.
One morning, I was sitting outside reading my Bible and doing a little prayer-walking around the yard. I walked to that dead elm tree and started praying for it. (I know...a little crazy.) And then I started praying for me. I was so heartbroken about things not working out, and I felt sort of like that tree--dead, purposeless, withered. I prayed for healing for that tree, and I prayed for healing for me. I asked God to heal that tree to remind me of his grace for me in my life.
I continued praying for that tree throughout that summer and fall. I suppose once the school year began and things got busy, I forgot about it. The tree had begun to show signs of life, but it was still in a sad state.
Last weekend, I was outside again in the morning, and I remembered that prayer. I should probably say the Holy Spirit reminded me, because it came back so clearly. How could I have forgotten?? That tree--which was dead last summer--is now the biggest and most beautiful tree we have in our yard. It is double the size of the other elms, probably three times the size of the other trees, without a trace of death in it. It is gorgeous.
God answered my prayer, and He is answering my prayer still. He is the God of this grand universe, the God who holds all things together, but He is also the God who comes to us when we are alone in our backyard and magnificently reveals He is with us.
On a lighter note, I told Robby this recently, and he looked around our yard (many of our plants and trees are suffering from the heat and poor soil) and asked why I didn't pray for everything. I told him God had to let some of the other things die so I could more clearly see his hand.