Girls Write Out
Friday, June 24, 2011
A friend of mine repeated a sermon she heard Sunday at her church in Nashville, and it resonated with me. Remember when scientists were researching the concept of building an atmosphere for living on another planet? I don't recall a lot about it, but that doesn't mean much. My memory is just coming back after a long few months of forgetfulness.

These people set up a protected eco-system and lived within that system. They planted gardens for food, trees to produce oxygen, developed all they needed in that protected environment. The trees grew, the gardens grew, and everything was going along just fine until, quite some time into the growing process, the trees broke.

Without the trees, there was nothing to convert the carbon dioxide, and so the experiment had to be discarded. Research showed them why they lost their trees--in that protected atmosphere, there was no wind. Without wind, the trees weren't forced to dig deep roots, and the wood wasn't forced to grow strong. Weakened by lack of stress, the trees couldn't hold their own weight.

What an epiphany for me! Our sermon last Sunday night was about forgiveness. All of us have been hurt by people we care about--and some people we don't care about. We're left to pick up pieces we didn't break, and yet we're expected to forgive. I know the solid answer for that is that we forgive for our own good, so we don't turn bitter. Perhaps, however, it goes deeper than that. When God allows us to be hurt, maybe we should consider that the wind of God may be blowing in our lives. If the wind doesn't blow, we aren't going to grow strong, our roots don't dig as deeply, and our lives will be breakable.

If we become rooted in the Holy Spirit and the Word of God instead of in the anger and pain brought on by others, our roots will hold fast when true hardship comes, and our strength will come from the words of God. I hate the pain and hardship in my life, and would, of course, never bring it on myself if I could prevent it. God, however, sees to it that I'm tested. Those whom He loves, He chastens. We can't thrive as Christians if we live in a protected bubble all our lives. Sometimes I even find myself thanking Him for my trials. Not often, but sometimes.

Have you done that recently? What hardships has He brought your way, either through the meanness of others, or through life stressors, that have made you strong enough to cope with life?

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Hannah Alexander  
posted at 12:39 AM  
  Comments (17)
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At 2:59 AM, Blogger Ruthie said...

I live with constant pain and have been totally disabled for many years. Now arthritis and another neurological condition are beginning to rob me of the one productive thing I can do...knit. So oftentimes I feel useless and a burden to my DH. I have asked more than once what my purpose is here. What am I to learn and how can I contribute to the work of the ministry? I always gotten the answer, "you can pray." For the longest time I HATED that response; I wanted to DO something! But I am learning the great privilege of participating in God's work in so many people's lives as I learn to pray and intercede. The day is coming very quickly when I will be able to do nothing all day except sit and pray. Sometimes it's already that way. But that's when I really feel the most useful as well as the closest to my Heavenly Father. I don't even mind being disabled anymore; I have more important things to do.

At 7:45 AM, Blogger Pam S. said...

Thanks for your post, Cheryl. It meant a lot to me because I'm going through a hard time. Thank you, too, Ruthie. Your comment meant a lot, too.

At 8:03 AM, Blogger jel said...

this is one of the best post you have ever wrote!

At 10:00 AM, Blogger Tracy Ruckman said...

This is so excellent - I've always loved the physical wind, but now I'll appreciate it even more. And to think of our lives having spiritual wind - I love that image. Times in my life that have seemed like hurricanes - now they make sense. ;-)

At 11:37 AM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

Ruthie, you're a strong tree, digging deeply into the Word and communication with God. Your roots are growing as you grow, and you provide shade and protection and oxygen in a spiritual way for so many who need it. Thank you for being God's strong tree.

Pam, praying your roots dig more deeply as you go through this time of strong wind. God is there, and His strength is available to you.

At 11:38 AM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

Thanks, Jel! I couldn't wait to write it down when I heard it. The allegory just made sense.

Tracy, I have never enjoyed wind. Maybe a cool breeze in the summer, but I stay inside when it's windy. Now I think I'll look at things a little differently.

At 4:55 PM, Blogger jel said...

I really like to hear and watch the wind blow though the trees!

At 8:07 PM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

I love to hear the wind through pine trees. It's like a whisper instead of the chatter that comes through deciduous trees.

At 9:14 AM, Blogger Ane Mulligan said...

I didn't know that about the trees and wind! What a wonderful analogy to the trails we face. It add a deeper meaning (no pun intended) to giving thanks for our trials.

At 10:30 AM, Blogger Jackie S. said...

Wonderful post, Cheryl....THANKS! It means a lot to many of us! I say this quote each day and find HIM teaching me more about it..on many days... "instead, our eye of faith must look beyond our circumstances to the heart of the One who carries us through them."
Praying for you Ruthie!

At 12:22 PM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

Ane, Mel was telling me this morning that a tree's roots typically go down as far as the tree is tall. Wow. But it would have to go that deep in order to keep a heavy tree upright.

Jackie, during my most horrendous experiences, when I thought I couldn't continue, I was forced to my knees and found myself lifted by His strength. So therefore in my most joyful times, all I had to do was look around me and see the beauty of God's creation, and be reminded of His great love and joy in creativity.

At 3:36 PM, Blogger jel said...

Hi Girls, would y'all please put my sister and her DH on your prayer list. she took him to the hospital, the other nite and they said he had a stroke,

At 4:04 PM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

Definitely praying! Please update us about how he is.

At 10:41 PM, Blogger jel said...


just got word from sis,
(they live in Nev) he had a light stroke, can't move one of his leg's
and one hand . but he can still speak. they are moving him to a rehab, he will be there a while.

At 11:31 PM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

Thanks for letting us know, Jel. We'll pray that he recovers quickly. This is a difficult time for both of them.

At 10:45 AM, Blogger Leslie said...

My Dad passed when I was just 25, and I had just left a church to pray for him and light a candle,when we walked out of the church I felt a breeze almost caress my face. I have always thought that the Holy Spirit was there gently telling me of his passing. So I have always respected the awesome power of the wind-throughout my life.

At 11:27 AM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

Leslie, Mel reminded me about the talk Jesus had with Nicodemus, in which He said that the wind blows where it wills He said this story gave those passages new meaning.


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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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