New Directions 2017

     I took this picture almost about 7 years ago. My boys and I were hiking out in the woods in the winter and found this tree. We stopped to climb and check it out. It was uniquely different and obvious that it had its own story to tell... if trees could speak. If you google this kind of tree you can find two things.... one that it is called a Trail Tree (formed by settlers and Native Americans for directions in the woods) or through a natural process/ tree disease it formed it that way.  Most of the time however ,  they have discovered the answer to this unique shape is option number 2. It formed that way on its own.

    Take a good look at this tree. It grows about 7-8 feet, takes a 4 foot turn at a 90 degree angle and then shoots straight up again growing naturally towards the sky. I still am blown away at the strangeness of it. Whatever the story behind this particular one is, their was a purpose.  This picture has been hanging in my home for years now as a reminder. To me this tree, metaphorically represents a story of life. Its a symbol of " New Directions". Maybe that's part of its purpose. Its a simple reminder I like to think about.  I have heard this before and ask any hiker but Trees can speak a lot of things even without the use of any words. This one to me has a lot to share.

     When I think of "new directions" I think of the past 7 years of my life that brought a lot of changes. A few that were initiated by me and many that were out of my control. Some were changes that were on purpose, others ... mistakes. Along the road tho I've realized that when I was feeling out of control I could depend on my God, who was in control. This was an amazingly hard lesson to learn.  I found safety knowing things would turn out well if I trusted. The trust never seemed to come easy and often it took me forever to do it. Many times this feeling of safety and peace was all I had to hold on to.  On that path I waded through a lot of things I never thought I would have but am glad that its all the past and that road is not one Ill ever have to travel again.  These "catastrophic" events shaped me in a new way. Needless to say I learned a lot in this time frame about myself, people I knew and the world around me that took me by surprise and made me into a new person.  To me this time frame was the bend in the tree pictured here. It looks in a way like a giant muscle where it swelled during this transition. The most amazing part of the tree is that the tallest and most productive part of its growth which is above the bend, all depending on that part to hold its top weight, its branches and height.

     Life has its challenges. You have the opportunity to let that take you to a new and better place or destroy you.  I was blessed in my story to be able to use it to help me grow into something stronger. 

   2017 has now arrived. When I look back at these past 7 years and I see how far Ive come in my spiritual journey.  I can only be excited for whats now  in store. I am daily  reminded by this picture of where my source of strength and endurance comes from. This "New Direction", like the shape of this tree, is a symbol of that strength, the strength that I now depend on as  I continue to grow as a father, a husband ,a Christian and the man I was created to be. 

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