I think I’m done. Crushed, trampled, isolated. What good can come from the hurt? Why are others successful, tromping over my hopes and dreams? Leaving me behind.

Feeling Like I Was Done

Ponderosa Pines surround Goldwater Lake, providing shade on the trail. Pinecones lie scattered along the path. When I see the crushed pinecone, my mind floods with the years I felt incapable, useless, unwanted. The most experienced teacher on my team, no one valued my ideas. Was my fruitfulness done?

It certainly seemed so at the time. Stubbornly, I clung to my way of doing things, making changes begrudgingly. My unwillingness evident in my tone of voice, missing deadlines, and not being prepared for team meetings.

My heart filled with bitterness, resentment, jealousy.

Being Crushed Doesn’t Mean Being Done

From the small seed, a Ponderosa Pine can grow up to 200 feet tall, and three to four feet across. But only if the seeds sheltered in the cone are ground into the earth. Then they sprout and grow, sending roots to water, and rising out of the ground, reaching toward the life-giving sun.

I, too, needed to be crushed. The pride and stubbornness, resentment, and bitterness dying, replaced with God’s plan for my life. My roots seeking living water (John 4:7-26) and sprouting up, out of the ground, reaching to the light of the world (John 8:12).

God Is Never Done with His Children

As I set aside my agenda and let God work, His character blossomed. Peace filled my soul so I could listen and learn instead of clinging to old ways. And as I heard others, they valued my contributions as well.

I offered kindness and patience instead of judgment. Not just to my teammates but the students and parents under my care.

The last two years of my thirty-five-year teaching career were filled with productivity and nurturing. I tried to see each person through the eyes of Christ, offering Him instead of me.

It takes decades for a Ponderosa Pine to reach its full height. But it provides shade, shelter, and food long before it reaches maturity. Like the Ponderosa Pine, God will keep using me throughout my life, often in unexpected ways.

I’ll Never be Done Praising

Standing on the trail, I heard a symphony of birdsong from the trees. From those tiny seeds, crushed into the ground, they grew, towering into the heavens. Sheltered in the branches, the birds sang praises to God.

I lift my voice in praise along with them. God works all things together for good. He knew I needed to be crushed so I could grow.

Now, I stand tall, giving Him the glory for seeing who I could be under His tender care.


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