We love to see majestic oaks and drink in the beauty of the curving branches and sit beneath the shade of their spreading canopy. It takes decades for these mighty trees to grow large enough to command attention. Harsh weather forms the branches into lovely shapes pleasing to the eye.
They stand as a testimony to endurance and strength.
Thirteen years before Dominic’s accident and death, God gave me this scripture when naming our farm-Isaiah 61:1-3:
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.
At the time, I focused on the glorious picture of finished oaks of righteousness.
In these months after our son’s death, I have begun to understand that the path to displaying the splendor of the faithfulness and father-heart of God is one of mourning, ashes and despair. Unless I am willing to die to my idea of what life should be and what God should do, I can’t be transformed into the fruit-bearing vessel of grace He intends me to be.
It isn’t easy. I’m still working to embrace this every day-I continue to rail against the fact that this is my life-but grace is seeping into the broken places.
I trust that God will continue to sustain me by His unfailing love and that one day I will be able to stand as a testimony to faithful endurance and the power of His strength.