Several weeks ago we had an ice storm. Much of the mideast received tons and tons of snow. Or ice. I’d rather have the snow. You can’t shovel ice.
It was pretty perilous just getting in and out of our house. We have 3 dogs and they don’t even like going out in it. My poor little miniature chihuahua had to be carried up and down the steps and then out to a little place we had carved out under a tree where she could “do her business.” Her poor, tiny paws just couldn’t handle the cold. God bless her.
(This is me and my cocker spaniel-poodle mix in last winter’s ice storm.)
But what really broke my heart was the way the ice damaged our trees. Our backyard looked like a war zone. Both river birches took quite a beating.
I love river birches. I love their crazy, curly bark that peels and sheds all over the place. I love the way their branches grow fine and feathery, swaying in the breeze with grace and gentility. I don’t live near the river, but if I did, I’d have a million of them.
Both of our birches lost big branches that grew out from the center trunk. The ice snapped them right off. All of the branches seemed to bend so dangerously low to the ground that I’m surprised they survived. They looked weighed down. Weary. Weak.
I really don’t think river birches are built to handle ice. They live happily beside river beds and thrive on the sounds of rushing streams, but they don’t like it when their water supply is harsh and unforgiving.
Sometimes…I am just like the river birch. I don’t thrive well in harsh and unforgiving seasons. Like this fragile tree-with it’s wispy branches and beautiful bark-that can’t sustain the weight of ice, I find heavy burdens and difficult seasons leave me with a head bowed low and shoulders that slump.
At least, that’s how I feel deep down in my soul. Weighed down. Weary. Weak.
And, yet, just when I think I can’t handle any more weight, the sun comes out. Temperatures rise and the ice melts. My fine, feathery branches lift and spring back to life. I start to sway in the breeze again, thriving on rushing streams of God’s grace because…
He is the Lifter-Of-My-Head. He is a shield about me. He sustains me through the storms of life. He gives me courage, boldness, and confidence to wait out the storm.
When the ice is at it’s thickest, I may not think I’ll survive, but I always do.
When I’m weighed down by heavy burdens, I may think I’ll never stand tall again, but I always do.
When my head bows low and my shoulders slump, I may think I’ll never see blue skies again, but I always do.
I may lose a branch or two in the harshness of life, but I’ll never lose the part of me that’s His…The Lifter-Of-My-Head will always have my heart.
And my spirit finds rest in that.
“But You, O Lord, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head.
I was crying to the Lord with my voice, And He answered me from His holy mountain. Selah.
I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustains me.” Psalm 3:3-5