Writing Journal: Trees

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Trees are very important to me. They are mighty, knurled, fruit bearing, warmth-providing plants with rings counting back the years. They survive and grow into the heavens. Other than about six years living in Los Angeles, I’ve spent most of my life in the beautiful South. From northern Arkansas right in the middle of the Ozarks, to South Carolina and our quirky house that butted right up against a small bit of forest, to Fort Worth with her Botanical Gardens, to my first home with 11 trees surrounding our house, I’ve lived around lots of trees. Not everyone thinks the South or even Texas are beautiful, but the connector between all those places that I’ve loved is tress, trees, trees. (Obviously, besides my church and family.)

In my fairy tale, I’ve opened the floodgates on this love by having two main characters tied to tress. One is a mother with a special magical connection to trees. The other is the dryad Guardian, master of all trees—Oak! (Oak is captured, locked far away from his trees, and tortured. It isn’t pretty.) I have enjoyed writing about trees and about people who love trees. The more I learn about them the more amazing trees become. Getting to pour that out into my book is delightful!

One of my goals as a writer is to write stories from a Christian worldview. That’s doesn’t mean everyone is blatantly a Reformed Christian (I’ve tried to do that and it’s very hard to write…they all just go live quiet lives) or that the story is blatantly Christian, but that the themes, the guide, and the defining of right and wrong are Christian.

I love it when a sermon confirms how I’ve done this or directs me into a new path. For example, one of our elders defined grace as an undeserved rescue. I wrote a whole story around that concept.

I hope to write a series someday entitled The Deacon, The Pastor, and The SoulDefender. So sometimes sermons confirm the direction my stories take, sometimes they correct it, inspire it, and sometimes direct it. I actively seek to submit my writing to the preached Word.

A few Sunday’s ago, Pastor Jarrett preached on Hebrews 10/32-39 and the encouragement, the soothing balm the Holy Spirit brings us, through the Word, after the sharp and terrifying warning against apostasy. If you fear this damnation, you are to:

  • Remember your salvation and look back to see your endurance. (v. 32-34)
  • Remain steadfast in your endurance. (v. 37-38)
  • Root yourself in faith in Christ (v. 37-38)

“my righteous one shall live by faith.”

Right there, a connection was made in my mind. Root yourself in Christ. Let him be the anchor for your soul. In my story, my tree Dryad, Oak, endures some great suffering. But he always holds to the idea that “deep roots don’t fear the wind, and trees by water don’t wither.” When Pastor Jarrett said “root yourself” I thought of Oak because he is in a dungeon chanting to himself “root and water” while he’s lost in darkness.

This sermon helped confirm in my mind that I’m showing a Christian worldview in my fairy tale. It is subtle. It is hidden. It doesn’t preach or scream. It is a strong man, broken down by evil, who has a faith in the King that the villains can’t touch. His roots are deep and planted by water. Roots and Water.

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Oak will endure because his roots are deep. This will confound his enemies. May it do the same in our lives.

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