The General stands tall, straight in quiet majesty. His scars a vivid reminder of the trauma he endured.
Others surround him in awe of his quiet strength. He shows no sign of weakness only proud confidence.
He continues on.
An ugly black scar the only evidence of fire endured and conquered.
The General Sherman Tree is the largest tree in the world. A Sequoia. Beautiful. Majestic. Breathtaking. With an ugly, black scar.
Most sequoias owe their lives to fire. It turns out that fire is a sequoia’s friend because it strengthens the sequoia trees by clearing out the debris around them, opening up their pine cones so they drop their seeds, and create open space for those seeds to germinate in ash-fertilized soil. Their high tannin bark protects them from insects and rot and fire. As long as the bark remains, nutrients continue to flow up the tree. And, depending on the depth and breadth of the scar, the tree can cover over it, further protecting the tree.
Life is like this.
- It is in the heat of the fire that we discover who we really are
- It is in adversity that we learn the meaning of true friendship
- It is in facing a difficulty that we conquer fear
- It is when we are out of our comfort zone that we become laser-focused
You don’t choose whether or not to go through adversity. You will. I will. And probably often.
Viktor Frankl said, “We have absolutely no control over what happens to us in life but what we have paramount control over is how we respond to those events.”
If you and I allow it, adversity makes us stronger.
“Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself.” – Walter Anderson
This is my story too. Like the General Sherman Sequoia, I bear scars from the fires in my life – visible and invisible.
But adversity teaches you and me to run to the wisdom and strength of the Heavenly Father – to lean in, learn, and grow. Failure, struggle, and pain don’t have to mean destruction, defeat, and death.
This week, I released the story of my scars in the book, Choosing a Way Out: When the Bottom Isn’t the Bottom.
Many of you celebrated this release with me on Monday evening. Thank you! It was a beautiful celebration of how God restores beauty from ashes. In fact, He delights in doing that for you and me.
I need your help to get 100 Amazon book reviews by Friday, June 9.
It only takes a few minutes, but it helps spread the word about this book. You can read part of the book by clicking on “Look inside.” Click the button below and post an honest book review on Amazon. Thank you.
What fire are you facing today?
It may be minor or it may be overwhelming. How you respond to the fire is solely your choice.
You and I can choose to remain in the pain – to be stunted, bitter, afraid, weak. Or you and I can choose to go through the pain and come out the other side.
Psalm 66:9-10 says “God preserved us among the living; He didn’t let our feet slip a bit. But you, God, have tested us – you’ve refined us like silver.”
Like the General Sherman Sequoia, let’s choose to fight the fire, bear the scar, and stand tall in victory.
You have a choice. You can read about my choices in Choosing a Way Out: When the Bottom Isn’t the Bottom. Join in spreading the truth that there is hope in God’s restoration power.
If you need help, please reach out. I promise to listen without judgment and help you take the next step.