Tree of Mystery

Just before Easter I was driving the kids over to see my parents (they live about 2 minutes from me) and we were talking about all the beautiful trees that had blossomed overnight. The whole neighborhood was transformed by bursts of lavender, pink, and pure white and it looked like something out of a movie. They even blew across the road as we drove and we all oohed and aahed at the Lord’s handiwork.

“Which one is your favorite, Kate?”

She pointed out at a tall white tree that looked like it was covered with snowballs, keeping her finger pressed to the window as it faded out of sight.

“That one is my favorite, mommy.” Abby chose what looked like hydrangeas. It might not have been. I know nothing of plants with the exception of the fact that the mere sight of my face makes them wither and die. I’m pretty sure a rosebush I planted a few years ago picked up its roots and replanted itself in our neighbor’s yard. She has a belt with gardening tools and a hat that’s roughly the size of New Mexico. She also has a little pad to kneel on. I don’t blame the roses.

“How about you, Ellie? Got a favorite?”

She watched as the houses passed us and then a few seconds later I heard her say quietly, “That one, mommy. That one is my favorite. It’s the prettiest one on the whoooole street. That’s what I think.”

“Oh, I see it! Those pink leaves are such a cool color, aren’t they? I would wear one of those behind my ear for a date with daddy!”

“No, momma. Not that one. The one next to it.”

I slowed down the car because I hadn’t really seen one next to it. I asked her where she was looking.

“There. Right there.”

I made a confused face and looked at her in the rearview mirror.

“I think it’s dead mommy. It doesn’t have anything on it. But it’s the prettiest one.”

I just sat and waited, fascinated by the fact that out of everything we were looking at, that was the one she chose.

“Tell me more, hon.”

“Well…it looks dead, but I love it because everyone picks the fancy ones and that one might be keeping a secret. Maybe it’s flowers haven’t come out yet, or maybe it’s just pretending to be dead. Nobody knows what that one is going to do. So I think it’s the most beautiful.”

I sat stunned with my hand on the gearshift, unable to even put it into drive because I so felt the presence of the Lord. He uses my girls so many times when He is speaking to me and I know from experience that it’s best to just be still and soak it in.  I smiled at her and after a few minutes we headed on to see my family. It wasn’t until later that night that I settled in for some quiet time and opened the Scripture to the story of Christ’s resurrection. If I absolutely had to pick, I think John is my favorite Gospel account. I do love to compare and contrast them all because the different perspectives are amazing, but I always seem to end up in John.

While I asked the Lord to prepare my heart for Easter and speak to me through His Word (try it sometime if you haven’t…He won’t fail to show you something you need to read. But don’t do the whole “I’m going to open to anywhere and that’s what you want to tell me” thing, because you will usually end up in some kind of confusing lineage chapter. Seriously. And if you have done this, back me up here, people).

I began with the crucifixion. Slowly, deliberately, ever mindful that the Lord was stirring in me a new understanding. I have read it at least 45 million times (give or take 44 million or so) and it is so easy for it to feel rote. I know what happens next, and then this, and then this…okay, done. But as I moved into the part about His resurrection, I started thinking about what Ellie had said and I felt like part of the story took on new meaning to me.

Jesus died on a cross.

He was prepared for His burial and placed in a tomb that was blocked by a stone.

Early the next day, some of His followers went to visit the tomb and He was gone. His linens were there, but He Himself was not.

Eventually, everyone realizes it’s a miracle, but at first they think He has been stolen and they are heartbroken over the fact that someone has taken the body of their Lord.

The women see the risen Christ and they believe. Shortly after, He appears to another group and after walking through a wall, asking for a little something to eat, and letting Thomas touch His wounds, there is a consensus that He had actually done what He said He would.

So that’s the (very brief and detail-lacking) synopsis of the miracle of the resurrection.

But here’s the thing I think is interesting.

We don’t know when He actually rose from the dead.

We don’t know what happened in that dark tomb between He and His Father. We have no visual for that exact moment, other than that He had arranged his linens neatly before He left, which, I think is very polite for a man who just woke up from death.

Sometime in the dark of night, in a sealed tomb, a miracle happened. And nobody knew it at that time.

It wasn’t until the next day that they were privy to the beautiful truth.

It struck me that in a sense, we are living in that moment. We are weeping in our homes, crying out by an empty tomb, begging to see that we haven’t been duped. That He isn’t going to let us down and leave us to face the fact that it might have all been a hoax.

We walk side by side on the dusty road to Emmaus, never knowing that He walks alongside us. We are already weeping with discouragement, unaware of the footsteps of the Holy being imprinted next to ours.

You see, friends, we don’t get to be in the tomb. There is a gap of time between the miracle itself and when we get to see the evidence of it.

We walk in that gap everyday.

I think that many of His loyal followers probably thought He was dead and gone, and that they had been deceived. As far as I can tell, there weren’t groups of people huddled around His tomb crying out and awaiting His exit. They were bundled up with their children, miles away, left with only their imaginations, and during those very moments, guess what?

He rose.

The beautiful, resilient flower that we call our Christ was dead. Or so it seemed.

I am shattered by the humble recognition that somewhere in the night, there is a divine plan that I am unaware of. While I tuck my children into bed and pray for Him to have His way and live within my every thought, I will remember the tomb. I will remember the long, winding roads that I must walk to see His face. I will anticipate the moment where the bread is broken and I fall face first before Him in worship.

I will continue to choose the tree that has secrets.

I will not be enticed by the blooms that fade quickly, but rather allow myself to live in the mind of a seven year old who realizes that the most amazing thing we can look to in this life is the part that is hidden, waiting for rebirth.

I believe with all my heart that one day I will be in the presence of the One Who watches my Audrey, and I will thank Him for the moments He gave me here on this earth in the presence of a crooked, weathered tree that I could have given up on long ago.

And in that place, I will know the secrets. I will understand the mystery. I will cling to it’s truth and bow my head in reverence.

Beautiful Savior, may all the world see you in the midst of the blooming and choose to believe that Your splendor is waiting, somewhere beyond the brittle branches, and may we live lives that glorify the Man Who made light in the darkness of a tomb…

Soli Deo Gloria.


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  • Barbara Hill913

    Praise God for your daughter and her perspective of that ‘secret’ tree.  I praise God for your obedience to hear HIM through your daughter.  I, too, will learn to stop and hear what the Lord is saying to me through nature and his children.

  • Shani

    Your daughter’s insight is very deep and touching. God bless her soul. You mentioned that Jesus was placed in a tomb and the next day he was missing from the tomb, however, that’s incorrect because He himself said that He would be in the heart of the earth 3 days and 3 nights just as Jonah was in the whale’s belly for 3 days and 3 nights (Matt. 12:40).

  • Candy Feathers

    Angie, tears rolled down my cheeks as I read this blog post.  I would like your permission to repost it on my blog tomorrow along with a link to your blog giving you full credit for it.  I became a widow and an orphan all in 4 months’ time a little over 2 years ago.  I have a blog for widows at http://www.reflectionsfrommyporchswing.wordpress.com  and I know that your post will be a blessing to those of us who are grieving and longing for heaven so much more.

    Please respond to my email address – candyfeathers@gmail.com   Thank you again for being so transparent and for sharing that message from your daughter.

  • Karynsmyth

    Jesus remembered you every step of His crucifixion. He remembered you on the cross. He cried for your heart. Each and everyone of us. He remembered each and every heart won to Himself as He hung. I know this to be true. He suffered a horrible death so that we may enjoy His Presence every breath we take this day and forevermore. He breathes His life into us each and every moment. His love is undeniable. We can feel Him in our hearts. We can feel Him everywhere we turn.  He is risen and is coming back for us His bride. The heart of a child is clean and pure and they see Jesus for the pure of heart see Him. May the LORD bless you with a lovely and mighty Easter with Him in His resurrection power. May we all get to know Him more intimately and much deeper and higher than ever before. Your story is lovely. 

  • chris

    God bless you Angie,yes we should never try to rush passing judgement, for not having it our way ,the Lord’s time is not ours,patience and dicipline is all He wants from us all. may the Lord keep on blessing you.

  • Glen

    Angie,
       How profound! Deep from within “Little Ellie” is the heart of Jesus & Mary Magdelene. It was Mary that wept upon her knees at the gravesite….waiting to see Jesus’ promised return. Peter and John witnessed He was gone. Where did they go? Back to their work. Mary, still upon her knees weeping in desire to see Jesus. To see Him come! RESTORE!!! The spirit that “Little Ellie” carries is HUGE! Just as Mary was not as wise in theology as apostles Peter and John she knew there was more to what the Holy Spirit had to reveal through her  devotion and determination. I pray and hope that Ellie is opted to give her thoughts… 1st as an inspiration to release what may be held within. For whatever reason. She certainly knows there is more than what the natural eye perceives!~Glen

  • Ahenderson312

    Thank you…………..

  • Ladies_12

    Beautiful; thank you.

  • Rosemarie

    thoroughly enjoyed this. shared it with my friends. God Bless you for your ministry. 

  • Fr. Ryan Fernandes

    A wonderful experience, Angie and a beautiful Reflection. I am right now going through that “GAP” period…and even though your reflection strengthens my Faith…I still find myself before a stone wall or a dark cave…I am confident that the Lord will pull me through this butHe is also allowing me to go through Hell…(He descended into Hell..but he rose again) Please pray for me.

    • Screamingsunmedia

      Indeed, God is Faithful and will pull you through; just keep holding on to Him the best you can.  Stay in Worship, Love, prayer and thankfulness.  Prayers up for you and yours.

    • Tunde

      Ryan, God is with us in our “gap”. We may not see him or feel him, but he is there. He is a very present help in time of need and promise he will be with us and not allow temptation beyond our capacity to bear; but provide a way of escape so we can bear under it. I pray that you may walk by faith and not by sight…hold on to this precious gospel (which often appear like the bear tree spoken of above) by which we are saved. God bless you.

    • Thompson Faye6

      Hold on Ryan, for out of that darkness, He will bring you through as Pure Gold. Keeping trusting.  Is there anything too hard for God? (Jer.)

    • Cindy

      Yes, hold tightly to the Father’s strong hand.  His love for you is great and deep, unfathomable at times, yet so “tangible” at other times.  Jesus, for the joy set before Him, endured that cross – with an immense love for you.  As  my sister-in-law would say, CLING!  Praying for you precious one.  Because of Jesus…

  • Prettyqbana

    Refreshing new perspective

  • Rae Ann

    Amazing! Thank you for sharing!! Praise God for who HE is!!! I can’t wait to see his face one day and pray to see HIM everyday in the midst of the fading blooms we are surrounded by while we wait!

  • Margie

    How beautiful, thank you for sharing, this really touched and as I read I felt the Lord’s presence and the tears flowed. I know that one day I also will be with HIM in glory, until that day I will look at withered trees much differently.
    God bless you and your family.

  • Kathyw

    INCREDIBLE, how God works through others and for us, behind the scenes………just finished reading a devotional that mentioned the road to Emmaus and how He walks with us though we don’t see him……I lost my daughter a year ago this past week and have been having difficulty- going back over it all again, feeling as if i should have done more, basically ‘beating myself up’ and THEN, got this written by you. God bless his Word because what you’ve written spoke directly to my heart………in many ways. Thanks for shining that light for me today.

  • glenda

    God shows me his love through my kids all the time, usually when I need it most, and even when I am shut down. Thanks for a great post.

  • Sandy

    What a beautiful image this devotional has painted in my minds eye of the Lord’s resurrection.  I am anticipating Easter with a renew eagerness and excitement this year, equivalent to the exciting at Christmas.  Easter is taking on a deep significance for me and this devotional shed light as to why…..I know love and celebrate A Risen Savior!

  • Beth

    Like the dew of God’s refreshing you brought the rain Amen

  • Briankristin

    Oh wow… this is amazing. THANK YOU so much for sharing. What a good God.

  • Mumise

    This was a beautiful story of Gods power and His promise being fulfilled in His Son, who was so willing to give His life for you and me. thank you.

  • Tunde

    Thank you for this wonderful reminder of Jesus…He grew up like a tender shoop from dry ground. There was nothing in his appearance that we should desire him… (Isiaih 53) I pray we may look beyond the present brittleness, in anticipation of the new resurrected life we will share with Jesus when he comes again. Thank you again!

    • Cindy Fox

      Hi, Tunde: 
      This is a good insight!  Thank you so much for sharing it with us!  God bless you richly!!

  • Janagner

    What a beautiful story!  I felt the presence of the Lord as I read each line.  I had never thought of all the things in the mind of your young child, but what great ways to think of things we don’t fully understand.  God works in mysterious ways, and we celebrate Easter knowing He is risen indeed!  God bless you and your ministry.

  • Becky

    I couldn’t get waht Ellie meant.   Thank you for opening it up - the anticipation that the best is yet to come!  That what I have is great and what He has for me is even better. That even when it doesn’t look great now – the mystery is that God isn’t finished – Jesus has gone to prepare a place – I can only imagine….

  • Jaresyah

    A beautiful story with a marvelous lesson.  I know that I will be using it in one of my lessons this resurrection season.  However, while we  do not know the exact timeline, we do know that the next day after the crucifixion was a Sabbath, and Jewish people would not go out of their homes unless the was an emergency, and they would do no work,  nor would they make themselves “unclean” on a Sabbath on purpose.  My point is that Jesus said John 2:19  “Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20  Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?  21  But he spake of the temple of his body.

    All four gospel writers declare that they went to the tomb early on the first day of the week, the day after the Sabbath day, the seventh day of the week.  This translates to Sunday.  Three days makes the Crucifixion to be Friday or Thursday.  Under all considerations,they would not have gone out to do anything on a Sabbath.  Thus it could not have been the next day.

    I love the story of the Gap, and, again, I will use it as an object lesson of His love for us.  You are gifted and blessed.  Thank you for your insight.

  • Youneek Ab

    I’ve always liked trees that apears to look dead .it was something about it that drew me to it .I always wanted to take pictures of trees like that and tell a story about it.this is a awesome story.and ur daughter has a beautiful eye for beauty .thanks for starring.

  • Hatty88

    miss annie…..thank you for this beautiful Easter story…..thats why i love the spring season…its reminds me of Jesus

  • Dian

    I have been a Christian for nearly 24 years, my husband became a Christian almost 10 years after me. Our 3 children at various stages in their young lives accepted the Lord as their Saviour, but 2 of the 3 don’t want have anything to do with Him anymore.

    And particularly after my beloved husband died in November last year. I miss him so much, we would have been married 36 years on the 4th April and loved each other so much. We wanted to grow old together and do the things that old people do but………….

    I am afraid that my relationship with God has somewhat stagnated, and I really don’t know how to get it back on track. I guess I’m still hurting and maybe a tad angry. I read with interest thi story and most of the replies, but just thought I’d share my story.

    • HanV

      You are in the hollow of God’s hands. Read Isaiah 49:16.

    • Cindy Fox

      Praying for you Dian!  Please take those steps to grasp Jesus’ strong, loving hand, go through the grieving process and renew your relationship with your Father God!  As scripture says, He is your husband as well.  Rest in Him, His mercy and grace.  He loves you so much, very greatly and deeply.  Keep praying for your children.  He is your Source of hope and joy and will restore them to you.  Keep your eyes, heart and mind focused on Jesus, the lover of your soul.  Caring because Jesus cares – Cindy 

  • Marshmallowmom56

    Thankyou Angie,
    This is a beautiful story and I love to make analogies as well!  I think I can use this story as well.

  • http://www.not-just-a-name.blogspot.com/ Sherrey Meyer

    Beautiful story!  God has given you amazing treasures in your children.  Little Ellie sees so already.  What a blessing!

  • Racudal

    Thank you for sharing your God-given insight into our Lord’s resurrection.

  • Jacob

    What an amazing incident,the LORD’S resurrection as told by your daughter. Let us all pray that we also enlightened
    in one way or the other to such truths.

  • Esther

    This is a truly awesome revelation! How like a little thoughtful girl to bring me this truth. The beauty hidden behind a seemingly dead tree. So too there’s beauty waiting for the Lord to resurrect it in the pathetic state of Africa today. Watch for the evidence and be encouraged and assured that this continent is alive! God hasn’t given up on it….

  • Geraldine

    You’re abs right Angie. I love your daughter’s insight. Simply beautiful. Geraldine

  • Ldrayton1

    What an amazing story! Children are the eyes to the world around us. They see the innocense we so long ago lost. We only see the dangers. What a wonderful moment for a mom and her child.

  • Pam

    Thank you for sharing your children’s insights and giving them to us.  How we must listen and learn from our children who are so close to the heart of God. I have a tree in the yard right now that looks dead. You know what I’m thinking about right now.

  • Rita Sorez

    Thank you Angie, your story is so inspiring. Thanks for sharing.

  • Deb

    Your storyx brought me to tears … Thank you for sharing … Blessings…

  • Lady21jazz

    Children see what they see through their eyes as it is. Sometimes they have better insights than adults. that’s  why Jesus said if only we can have faith like a child…. now you know why….Very touching, inspiring story. God bless you ! Thank you!

  • Annette Plemmons

    Beautiful 

  • Pam

    What a beautiful story…thanks for sharing Angie…

  • Cmbdove

    You have just given me a whole new perspective on this matter.  Glory to God!

  • Seemary

    Great Easter message!! Thank You Angie!

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  • Esther

    This is close to the most wonderful telling of what Easter is all about.  Thank you for brightening my day.  This week I have been living Passion Week, trying to visualize what the Lord is doing each day, from witnessing to so many to the Lord’s Supper, to taking on Himself all the abuse and filth that the soldiers could think to do, to lingering on the Cross in agony and humiliation for me and for many, many others.  The one major thought this week corresponds with your focusing on what was going on inside the tomb.  While so many were celebrating Passover, God and His :Son were bringing His stay in the dark corners of the tomb to an end and even folded the linen cloths and the napkins.  When I think of this part of the Resurrection, I feel like crumbling and weeping, where is the crowd who hung around the Cross to spectate, why aren’t they here to remember Him in their daily lives? 

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  • Brenda Davis

    Oh my, awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!