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Monday, September 22, 2008

Apple Trees

I try to keep my blog light. Not many deep thoughts or critical discussions here. I’ll leave that to the serious bloggers. But something in particular has been on my heart lately—just a thought that I can’t shake, and so…. I’ll write about it.

I remember one Thanksgiving at Grandma’s when my Aunt Shirley was there with her sons and grandchildren. Several of the grandkids were playing outside before lunch, including my little cousin, AJ, who was around ten or so that year. When the time came to call the kids in for lunch, we walked out to find AJ standing next to Grandma’s apple tree. All the kids came running in, but AJ explained he was “just going to stay outside for a while.” It was cold that year, but we conceded. Maybe just a bit longer. Several minutes passed. The other kids sat around the table eating their lunch, and still, no AJ. My Aunt Shirley went back out to call him in again, and there he was, still standing by the apple tree, shivering in the cold and clearly not having any fun. But once more, his response to his grandma was, “I’m just going to hang out here for a while.” It wasn’t until one of the other kids let the cat out of the bag that we figured out AJ’s situation. Paige, his little cousin who was probably six at the time, had somehow talked him into letting her tie him to the apple tree. The only problem was, she left him there, and AJ, being older and a boy, was too embarrassed to confess his predicament and ask for help. The poor little guy was completely willing to miss a tremendous Thanksgiving lunch and suffer in the cold until he figured out a way to free himself from his chains (actually, baler twine Paige had snatched from a bale of Grandpa’s hay). And let me tell you, as an eyewitness to the situation, not even the smallest possibility existed he could have gotten loose by himself. Had it not been for a slightly amused rescue party, he would still be in Grandma’s backyard tied to the apple tree.

And it makes me wonder…. Why do I sometimes stand in the backyard of my life, with my hands bound, shivering in the cold because I’m too afraid and ashamed to go to God with my fears? How ridiculous of me. As if He, the One who created me, is capable of learning something new about me. AJ assumed that if he didn’t tell what happened to him, he could keep it from us… that we wouldn’t find out what he had done. Sadly, I do the exact same thing with God. Instead of coming right out and saying, “Oh no, Father. Look what I’ve done this time,” I try to pretend I’m fine, and so the masquerade goes on. I forget there are no masquerades with God. He sees me, sees through me. He’s meeting me where I am and telling me “it’s time to come on in,” yet so many times, in my confusion and embarrassment, I reply with, “I’m just going to hang out here for a while.” And in doing so, I miss out on a feast.

There is one apple tree in particular, that I’ve been tied to for some time now and have been spending the last few days asking God to come cut the baler twine for me. In my shame, it’s almost impossible for me to remember that my Father never looks down on me with disgust, nor is He humiliated that I belong to Him. Instead, He comes to my rescue each and every time with compassion and a love that I feel burn through every part of me. I so want to make Him proud.

So, does this post have a purpose other than allowing me to air my emotions out through writing? Not really, I guess, other than to challenge anyone reading this to check and see if they’re stuck to an apple tree of their own. I’ll be the first to confess, it’s hard to admit you can’t break free from something without help, but I think it’s definitely worth the feast that waits for us when we do.

10 comments:

Boni said...

Angela, you are a wonderful writer. This post was amazing and oh so meaningful (not sure if you remember me...I am Sarah's friend). I read your blog often and you should post things like this more often. Your writing is AMAZING!

The Ward's said...

Such a great post! Thanks for sharing that with us! You are an AWESOME writer and I love seeing what you have to say each time you update, but I must admit, this is one of my favorites!

Ben and Kristen said...

What powerful imagery! I think I will remember this story forever. It makes me think of how often we act like that with each other...like everything's just fine when really we are in desperate need of help and all it takes is saying "i'm stuck". Thanks for the lesson.

The Jordon Family said...

Yeah Ang, thanks for the lesson and words!! In our case here at home, Mica and I can get so out of whack and half crazy it seems like with our "thing" that's going on that we easily forget to say "Lord, Im stuck" .. Thanks for the reminder! You're a Blessing!

Cindy said...

My confession ~ a fear of success!
There I said it ~ now allowing God to cut me free from the tree!
Great post!

Erica said...

Thank you for this post. I needed this! What a beautiful picture painted with words. I think I will always remember this analogy. Keep writing!!!

Boni said...

By all means, add me! I found your blog and just added you without asking (I am rude I guess...or don't know the blogging rules). If you mind, I will take you off.

I love seeing your kids. They are SOO sweet!

Daniel, Gretchen, and Caden Miller said...

Wow! That was amazing! Thanks for the reminder.

Zach and Erin Kennedy said...

SO I am the worst commenter ever but I had to say great post! Such a great reminder and a neat way to look at it. I am sure a lot of people if not everyone reading this needed to hear it. I am going to start calling you Beth Moore...Good stuff!!!!

Elizabeth said...

Just the encouragement I needed today. Your words make me think of the times in my life when I waited and waited for God to deliver me from a situation, only to look back and realize that He had sent help time and time again and I had ignored it. Humbling, for sure.