“Mom and Dad. I would have turned 20 this May, and it will soon be another Mother’s Day. I know you’re hurting. Please trust that I’m ok. I want you to all find peace like I have found. Seek and trust Him in these times. He will hear your hearts. All my love. – Braden
Some months ago, I wrote a short story about a small and fast-growing tree in our backyard titled, “Stained and Scarred”. Years earlier, Braden had chosen to aim his first arrow at this tree with his brand new high tension crossbow. The kind that sinks its arrow deeply into the target. So deep, it could never be retrieved, leaving a scar. I later learned a deeper meaning in that experience and forevermore it became Braden’s tree.
While I’d worked to finish the staining project in the blazing summer sun, I was certain the effort would ultimately be worth it. And it was. I still recall waking from a nap that afternoon and how God distinctly spoke into me. I recognized the connection between that tree and my own life.
Fast forward. The other night, Caitlin wanted to watch movies by the pool to celebrate completion of seventh grade. We have a TV outside and like to watch shows by the light of tiki torches. While we watched, I drifted away mentally. I was missing our son. He’d loved watching movies with our family sitting outside at hotels or on cruise ships. We roasted S’mores and drank cocoa. Traditions meant a lot to him. They were like oxygen.
In particularly rough moments, I often park on the couch outside to pray. To observe and listen to what God has to say. I know that sounds strange, but it’s true. Simply sitting still, allowing the peaceful breeze to flow over me is amazing mental and spiritual therapy. And it’s free!
That night while we watched TV, I began tuning out the movie and tuning into that familiar sound coming from the eastern corner of the backyard. In west Texas, the wind usually subsides at night. However in north Texas it blows almost all the time. Frankly, that isn’t my favorite thing about living in the Dallas area, but you learn to adapt and to tie down your lawn furniture.
The sound of the leaves that evening was distinctly different. As the cooling breezes wafted in and out, I realized none of the other trees made a single sound. They weren’t moving at all. How was that even possible? The only thing that was capturing the north Texas winds in our yard that night was Braden’s tree.
It sounded to me like a peaceful ocean. Serene and casting calm on anyone who would listen. The sounds had been there all along, but I hadn’t heard it until I chose to tune into it. I realize this sounds odd, but I needed connection and reassurance that our son was ok and that our family would be too. God brought both answers instantly.
It’s no longer small, but it certainly remains fast-growing. Thriving. Yet, still scarred. Only could my Creator have been so intuitive in that moment to provide a sense of peace through a simple thing like a tree.
7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Prayer for Readers
Lord, How can we express our gratitude.
I pray over those who, in this very moment want to cut their story short. I pray against the lies infiltrating their mind. Especially during this season of isolation, we pray against Satan’s lies and spirits in those dark places. I pray peace and wisdom for the “Braden’s” who are battling hard in this very moment to stay the course. We pray over their families who are struggling more than anyone can fathom.
We pray Your peace beyond our understanding. In Jesus’s name. Amen