(Read Part 1 here.)
The Three Trees diagram has a few basic components. One is called the "heat" - the circumstances of our lives that beat down like a desert sun. Next, there is the bad fruit - the crop of ungodly behaviors and thoughts that ripen under the heat. The bad fruit comes from a bad root - the wrong beliefs and inordinate desires that yield rotten fruit. The bad fruit and bad root make up the first tree. The second tree is the cross. The cross represents the Savior's work that frees us, forgives us, and transforms us. Applying the cross to our lives leads us to the third tree. The third tree has good roots - true and right beliefs about God and ourselves. Good roots produce good fruit - actions and thoughts that are pleasing to God, blossoming even under harsh heat.
This post will describe the heat and the thorny tree in my life:
Heat - Describe the situation/trial you are facing. What happened? Who was involved?
My situation is 2+ years of infertility, with no definite end in sight. I have endured month after month of disappointed expectations. I have seen many other friends blessed with children. My husband and I have undergone lots of medical procedures and have been faced with hard decisions about how to build our family.
Bad Fruit - How did you respond? What did you feel, think, say, do? What does Scripture say about these responses?
I have felt jealous of others, thinking that I deserve children or wondering why others seem to deserve children when I don't. I feel self-pity as I watch time slip by and see milestones pass - holidays, birthdays, years, etc. I feel weariness, grow tired of the burden of ongoing affliction. I have fearful and anxious thoughts about the future, often expecting only more difficulty from God's hand. Scripture says that envy, self-pity, fear, and anxiety are sinful.
Bad Root - What did you want, fear, believe? What lies are you believing about God, yourself, and others? What does Scripture say about these desires, fears, and beliefs?
I want a child, and I want one in my own time and way. I fear that God will never give me what I want. I believe that I cannot be content or satisfied without a child. I believe the lie that God is not good or kind. I believe the lie that I need more than my Savior. Scripture says that I have no good apart from God, that I can be content in all circumstances, that I need to submit my desires to the Lord.
Consequences - What are the consequences?
As a result of the bad root and fruit, I experience anguish and disappointment. I lack hope and joy. I let my fearful thoughts spin out of control. I encounter challenges in friendships. I seek refuge in things other than the Lord. I complain. I judge others as insensitive or uncaring about infertility.
Oh, what a desperate sinner I am! But these questions distill the confusing barrage of emotions and thoughts that accompany my infertility into a clearer view of how barren my heart is without grace. Stay tuned for part 3, where the cross provides mercy in time of need.