Rooted in Faith

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.—Colossians 2:6-7

Years ago, I planted a tibouchina tree at the front edge of a clump of trees in our backyard, right where I could see it from the back picture window. It grew quickly, thriving in our Florida rain and sun. Before long, it exploded twice a year with deep purple blooms so beautiful that I was certain the other trees would be jealous. It was especially beautiful the summer of 2017—until Hurricane Irma struck.

I remember coming home from our daughter’s house, where we had taken refuge, to a driveway blocked by downed trees and a backyard covered with branches. But the greatest casualty was my tibouchina, uprooted by the winds while still clinging to its wealth of blooms. I could not help but cry.

The tree had begun to lean forward over time, and the weight of the blooms compounded it. We enlisted help, but we could not right the tree. Our only choice was to cut it down. I felt physically ill. 

Soon shoots began emerging from the crooked trunk. Gardener friends advised me to choose the straightest one and cut the rest. Maybe the tree will grow again, they said. But no straight shoot would come from an uprooted trunk. Eventually I gave up and just let it bush.

“We need to cut that back,” my husband said. “No, leave it be,” I begged. “I can’t bring myself to cut it.”

Last year the tree bushed and proudly displayed scattered blooms. In between, it continued to grow. By this summer, its branches stretched out in a brave attempt to meet the height of neighboring trees. Then I saw a miraculous sight: Buds covered the tree. By the time I commemorated my 60th rotation around the Sun, the tree was nearly in full glory. This, along with so many other things, was a gift from God.

The tree has been a living lesson in resilience. It fell because it had begun to lean. The shock of cutting it down could have killed it. But it didn’t allow that to be the end of its story. It found a way forward. It adapted. Now is it not only as beautiful as ever, but its new growth habit will allow it to survive the next big storm.

Maybe you’ve been knocked down—perhaps even when you thought you were at your peak—and your life as you knew it seems over. Maybe you can no longer even see what or who you once were. Maybe you see no path forward. God does. He created you. He sees you. He hears your cries. He is ready to redeem your life from the pit and help you grow strong and resilient and ready for the next storm. It won’t be easy. It may take years to reestablish yourself. But it is possible, because all things are possible in Him. Sink your roots into His truth, and reach heavenward. He makes all things beautiful and all things new.