caroline holzberger

Keepin' it real about motherhood, Jesus, life, and everything in between.

The Enemy Tree

As I may have mentioned before, our home sits on almost an acre and is lovingly surrounded by fifty foot trees. I love it. Let me rephrase that; I love living here. Our home was built about the same year I was, so therefore I mentally have a very long list of things that don’t work and are frustrating to me. But, I love where we live. The kids spent the better part of today playing in the yard, making “dirt & berry pies”, riding bikes in the cul-de-sac, and just generally having a blast. 
We are blessed.
I am typing that for you to read every bit as much as I am typing it for me to read. You see, friend, I need to read it. I need to write it. I need to recite it. I need to remind myself of it. Often.
You see, tonight, after church I escaped left my other four family members and went outside to be by myself. I was done holding in all of my frustrations and feelings and I just flat out needed a good cry. So, I had one. 
And as I looked up at the glorious trees that canopied almost the entire sky in my vision, I was startled. I mean it, I almost jumped. The trees that I so genuinely depend on to play for me their leafy symphony as God blows them to and fro in the wind – were dead silent. It really kind of freaked me out for a moment. I glanced to the left and to the right and couldn’t see one single leaf moving. Not a one. In fact, I had an entire conversation with myself in my head that happens way to often about the whole thing. 
Me: “What in the world? How can they all be so still?”
Myself: “Seriously, there has to be like 30 trees here not moving at all! Weird.”
I : “I better count the trees I can see because I am sure my prediction is way off and when I write about this I want to be accurate.”
There were 71 trees. I actually sat and counted every single tree in my limited vision that were standing there, almost mocking me with their utter stillness.
Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw movement. 
Wait, what is that?!? Is that the rustle of leaves I see?
Ah, of course. The enemy tree.
Our sweet next-door neighbors have a tree that is, how shall I say, from Satan not my favorite. Nestled among the hundreds of varieties of oak trees in our cul-de-sac area, there, in their yard stands one above them all. 
A cottonwood tree.
This cottonwood tree stands a good twenty feet taller than every other tree on our entire street. It is just one tree, but it is a mighty one. 
I hate it.
I am sorry for using that word, but if you had allergies like I do, and like my children who have obviously inherited them from me, do…you’d say the same thing. 
Once a year the lovely tree sheds its “cotton” all over the stinkin’ place. Now, obviously it isn’t real cotton, that would actually be useful. This thing, however, spends weeks sprinkling white, fluffy seed thingys all over our yard, house, cars, toys, etc. It riles up some kind of awful something in my allergies and it generally kicks my tail. Clearly, I am not a fan. Zyrtec ain’t cheap, y’all.
So, here I am out in my beloved yard, trying to find some solace, some comfort, some refuge from the storm…and the only tree waving at me is my enemy tree.
Then God lovingly hit me with His Sovereign 2×4, like He so often does. This is just how I feel right now.
Friend, I’ve got to tell you that I feel like I am being attacked in almost every area possible right now. In my health (duh!). In our finances (don’t even get me started!). In my marriage. In my attitude. In my relationship with some family members. In my body image. (again, don’t even let me go there!) In my relationship with my kiddos. In just about every area, I have just felt attacked lately. If any of my best friends bail on me, I may just call it quits and dig a hole to live in. I have felt, at times, that God is just sitting up there letting the enemy take his shots at me and He isn’t doing a dang thing to stop him. 
I feel in my heart, at times, like my trees showed me tonight – the only one I saw movin’ is my enemy.
Have you ever felt like that, friend? 
Like no one gets it?
Like you’ve done something awfully wrong by God’s eye but you can’t for the life of you figure out what it is?
Like every other single stinkin’ person in your world is driving around with buckets full o’ blessings and you would be happy to just get a Dixie cup’s worth?
Well, friend, I can relate.
We have just one enemy, but friend, he is a mighty one.
Now, I want you to know that the reason I am typing to you right now is that blogging is one of the avenues God gives me to fight off that enemy. While you may think I’m an idiot (and I’m sure this would be the very first time-ha!) I am admitting to you now that after I finished my little solo, weepy, picnic dinner, I picked up my Bible study and said out loud through tears, “Satan, I don’t care if you see me crying right now, cause you sure are stupid if you think I’m letting you win. Jesus reigns in this house and in this heart, so go away!”
Friend, we can do this. 
I don’t know your story. And while I do admit that I have no boundaries share a lot, I guarantee that you don’t know all of mine. But, God does. He made you and He loves you. He made me and thankfully He still loves me. I am blessed. And if you are sitting at a computer right now, in an air-conditioned room with clothes on your back and a full belly – then, friend, you are blessed too. 
Satan would love nothing more than for us to feel like we don’t have enough. He would love to turn our hearts sour and bitter at the same time. He would love for us to feel helpless, hopeless, cheated, worthless, alone and afraid. That would flat out make his day. So, you and I need to remember that we are in a war against him and fight against those feelings. We need to get out of the slippery pits of our self-“pit”y and get to higher ground. We need to be patient and wait for that cool, refreshing breeze of God’s grace to come in and rustle the leaves in our view in just a way that they sing a beautiful song over us. Take a deep breath and just wait. He is faithful. He will come. 
And, I’ll be honest that I don’t have one more solid thing to say, so I am just going to leave you with some Truth that I think might actually do you and I some good instead of some ol’ silly thing out of my selfish mouth. Soak these up sweet friend – I know I will.
Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, because He who has promised is faithful.”
Psalm 16:8 “I have set the Lord always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”
Psalm 68:19 “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.”
Psalm 29:11 “The Lord gives strength to His people. The Lord blesses his people with peace.”
Psalm 28:7 “The Lord is my strength and my shield, my heart trusts in Him and I am helped.”
Psalm 37:5-6 “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.”
Isaiah 58:11 “The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”
Psalm 46:1-2 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear though the earth give way.”
Philippians 4:19 “And my God will meet all of your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”
Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourselves in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Psalm 31:24 “Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all of you that hope in the Lord.”
1 Peter 1:6-7 “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise , glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
Romans 8:28 “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
Psalm 34: 17-18 “The righteous cry out and the Lord hears them, He delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
Romans 8:31-32 “What then should we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all – how would He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?”
Psalm 40:1-3 “I waited patiently for the Lord. He turned to me and He heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire, he set my feet upon a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to my God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.”
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