Recently we sat in the car at a red light waiting for green. I was going on hour 2 of carpool – not because we were traveling outside of a 3-mile radius of our house, but because staggered school-end-times plus drama practice plus track practice result in lots of wait.

I looked out my window and saw this tree:

“Boy, that tree looks sad doesn’t,” I said to my shotgun rider.

“It looks dead,” she replied.

But right next it stood an almost exact replica – same height, same shape and same type of tree – but very different:

Spring has sprung on the second tree (not so much for the sad-tree.) Life hidden behind an outside that looked dead has made it’s way to the surface. That’s what happens with spring. New life. Whether seen with the human eye or hidden from sight, the life that springs forth from within is certain.

I love the way the Lord often reminds us through nature of so many of his eternal Truths. Shotgun-rider and I talked about

  • Faith – being sure of what you hope for, certain of what isn’t seen. Faith informing situations where what we can see isn’t the whole picture. There’s more to the story of those leafless trees – as there is in life. And neither of us would have to travel far to think about something in our own lives that feels like it’s toast (For me: a yearbook ad that was due last week for our graduating senior – which seems trite, especially when compared to another situation that involves deep, deep almost untouchable heartache with a couple of friends as well as someone super close to me, but is center stage as appearing slightly hopeless. For her: a friendship gone south and a class that feels always up hill,…)
  • We talked about timing – some things, people, situations might sprout and bloom before another, but that doesn’t define the tree’s worth, or ours;
  • We talked about suffering & grief that really can leave us feeling dead or damaged or worthless with nothing beautiful to show – but that like the tree, we can rest assured that there’s more than meets the eye when we remember the life that comes from within (whether seen or unseen), from the roots planted in rich soil (which is so important), especially when planted by “streams of living water.” (Psalm 1)
  • And then Easter – the greatest story of what looked dead actually conquering death to never die again. Enter Hope stage left. Well, Hope and Peace and Joy and … LIFE.

It’s hard to go much further in the car when lights turn green – well, that and it’s so easy to over-talk and turn a possibly thoughtful conversation into weird.

But those trees have lingered in my mind.

Then – slightly out of the blue, I got an email from Steven Curtis Chapman’s super nice PR folks. I had seen a copy of his new book Between Heaven and the Real World and really hoped he would be up for a chat on our little SaySomething Show (check it out sometime – some super nice, incredibly informative, folks have stopped by or joined carpool for a chat.) My expectations being low, I was surprised by Stacie’s kind response (even after I misspelled SCC’s name – not everyone is aware of my tight friendship with Typo :) “Hi Kay – I may be able to get some time of Steven’s either next Thursday or Friday, just prior to the Dallas show. is that doable or too late?”

Ummm – ANYTIME is good with us!!! my instant response.

And I was reminded of Steven Curtis Chapman’s song, “Spring is Coming” – written after the tragic death of their 5 year-old daughter Maria when we looked at those trees. I hope you will take the time to hear what he has to say. He talks about his tour, the book, about grief and hope.

We are all on a journey carrying grief, sadness and longing and ache in our heart for what isn’t as it should be, for what is unfixable on this side of heaven. And yet the hope that keeps us breathing and keeps us taking the next step is that the story is not over yet – what it looks like, they way it appears right now, is not the end of the story – the Gospel, the hope that we have right now.

AND he shares the Steven Curtis Chapman 5 tips on a purposeful, joy-filled life (my new favorite questions.) So here you go:

As always, thanks for walking the road with me.


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