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Supporting Planks

Just near the border of Connecticut and Rhode Island, there is a tiny tree surviving- and maybe even thriving- because of it’s thin connection to the earth. I am not sure what happened to cause the tree to be in the condition it’s in, but I can see how it is not giving up. You see, the tree seems to be precariously growing out of a dead looking stump, only the stump is about 4 feet high, all dried up, and falling apart and it being held up by planks of wood. You can see the bare roots stretching through the air the length of the stump. Somewhere, about half way down the stump, the roots begin tunneling inside the stump and become unseen. It looks like someone glued together a wheel barrow of mulch. Somehow that mulch tower is providing just the right amount of structure to let the fighting tree make it.

Something about this tree grabbed my attention. I wasn’t too sure in the moment, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that this little tree looks a lot like the way I feel sometimes. There are days I feel so stretched to my limits and there are days when I am just not sure that the mulch tower will support me. Will the planks of wood holding up my mulch tower stay put, too? It all seems too precarious.

But in those moments- those that are like the end of a Jenga game, all tender and risky- we can trust that God’s got us and that we are connected to the source that supplies enough strength. We can be so sure that our mulch tower will hold. I know this to be true.

There are so many moments I can point back to and see where the connection held. If I focus in on just my parenting journey, I can clearly see moments when God stepped in and provided a connection in places I felt super weak. God has used people to support me when I didn’t know how to parent a child through particular situations- and when I am aware of the miracle that is happening in that moment- I stand in awe because I am witnessing a holy moment. Those moments usually start with statements like, “how did you handle such and such” and end with “Lindsay, say these words and do this” with a behavior or task modeled for me to see. This ‘being a part of the family of God’ isn’t for spectators, it’s for real living and breathing participants.

We see this in Scripture when Moses became tired but had to keep his arms in the air while Joshua fought the Amelikites. Nowhere did God command Moses to go out to the top of the mountain alone, but so often we think that our tasks are just for us and taking helpers is cheating. However, Aaron and Hur were there to support Moses’ arms when he became too tired to hold them up on his own. Aaron and Hur were like the two planks of wood holding up this mulch-stump so that the tiny tree can keep growing.

One of the most invaluable provisions God has for us is one another. Playing the supporting role in someone’s life is an amazing gift to both people. Let us watch out for places we can be the supporting planks for others and where we might need supportive planks for ourselves.

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