The Old Oak Tree

oaktree.jpg

When I was a little girl, growing up in South Alabama, there was this old oak tree in a field adjacent to my parents’ land where I would go and find respite. To get to this tree, I had to pass through two fenced fields, across a 2 acre garden, cross a dirt road and jump a ditch…but it was all worth the effort. (Something similar to the tree above)

You see, this tree was not like any other tree! This tree had a large, flat piece of wood across two low hanging, thick branches.  The tree branches hung low enough that even as a child, it was easy to climb on top of the platform. The crown of the tree extended wide, and covered the area with complete shade. It was nice and secluded, a perfect hideout!

I spent many days in that tree with childhood friends, Gail, Kim, Lisa, Lorie and Kathy.  It was like our “club” house! Many hours leading up to the sun going down, were spent giggling, telling stories and simply being young girls.

My most memorable times spent in that old, oak tree were those spent  alone, reading a good book, praying or simply taking a nap on a hot summer day. There were some days that I would be stirred from my slumber hearing my mother’s voice calling me home for supper.

I learned as a child, that having time away from the everyday grind of chores and worries of life was so important. I believe that God formed us with an innate desire to pull away from the cares of this world, retreat, and fix our eyes on him.

To this day, my heart still longs for time away to reflect, pray, spend time with God, admire his handiwork and acknowledge his presence.

These days, my old oak tree is my back yard swing, my hammock over our deck,  the park, or sitting on a bench by the bay. But I still make time to retreat. It remains one of those “must haves” in my life.

God has something to say about being still.

1 Samuel 12:16 Now then, stand still and see this great thing the LORD is about to do before your eyes!

Psalm 62:5-6 Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken.

Exodus 14:14 “The LORD will fight for you while you keep still.”

Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God!

The old oak tree still stands tall, and the branches hang even lower, but it is now on someone’s private property.  When I visit Alabama, I visit that special place and reminisce. I’m thankful that God afforded me fond memories of my childhood that formed me into the person that I am today.

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