Last August, I moved into a house in College Station called the Treehouse. The Treehouse sits bright and mighty on a corner in the middle of a neighborhood dominated by college students. Now, the reason for the name is because as you walk up to the house, there is a majestic tree that swings low in front and over the house. The limbs carry a story, I am sure of it. But most importantly, the house that sits behind this tree carries special stories. Stories of women who have lived here before and stories of those that walk through our threshold everyday.
For a moment, let’s think about a life of a tree. Just like humans, trees change in seasons. They bloom, change colors, whither, loose leaves-- over and over, again and again. Many women have lived in the Treehouse; each experienced different seasons of life. That is what is so special.
Watching out my window, I see the tree. Mighty and tall-- limbs filled with leaves. As the wind comes, the leaves crackle-- the light bounces off and allows the leaves to glisten in the wind-- almost reminds me of a pom pom.
Over the last year, I have experienced a moment that Peter had thousands of years ago on the Sea of Galilee. More than ever, the Lord's voice have been loud and clear to me. Back in November, the Lord invited me into the deep -- calling me out of the boat and out into the water, waves and all.
"I wanted you here", He said, "I need you to experience this."
Within the last six months, I have found myself in the stance of utter surrender. There came a moment one evening in February. The weather was shifting out of the dead of winter and into the life of spring. I found myself in a spot of desperate dependence. Back to back to back I received phone calls. Calls that seemed condemning and frustrating yet led to a surrender. Walls of pride crumbled in a sweet communion, koinonia, of two sinners. In that moment, I realized I had a team behind me but better yet, beside me. This allowed me to wipe the veil of ignorance from my eyes to see the truth and beauty of what I have been experiencing.
I remember back to early January, before the task that I was handed really began. A dear friend stopped me and looked me in the eyes and said, "Courtney, the position you are about to walk into will be lonely. But I want to let you know that you are not alone in this." Wow, the power of her words still pierce a sense of koinonia in my heart and through my bones.
He invited me in, but He did not walk away nor did my people. That is what He needed me to experience. He needed me to know that he was with me in the most vulnerable, exposed and weak season. In a moment that felt like a failure, a death, a loss, He was there saying “This story is not over nor is it a waste. I am the God who raises the dead. There is purpose, you must humbly obey and take up your cross dear child.”
So that I did- fearful at first but I walked. Loud and clear He was carving the path in which made it clear enough to walk. It was funny though. He cleared the path and allowed me to see a glimpse of what He had planned. As I peeked into the new season- I was terrified. Hands, clenched to the door frame, feet planted steady- no desire to move. But I could not control what happened next. I had to obey His calling and I knew it.
And what I realized the most was my communion of desperate dependence of Jesus was shifting. He began to be the only one I wanted because what I was yearning is what He could only satisfy. The funny thing was, I did not even know what that "thing" was that I yearned but I knew no one, no thing, and no place could have satisfied. In His satisfication was the fullness of life that was just waiting for me on the other side.
God had drawn close to me at one of the most vulnerable moments in my life. There is an intimacy with God we can only experience in moments of weakness. We have an awareness of God's abiding presence that forever changes the way we see impossible situations.
He reminds me of His steadfast nature through the life of David
“You prepare a table before me
In the presence of my enemies
You anoint my head with oil
My cup overflows.”
There are four things I learned in my time of living at the Treehouse-
I can grow
I chose to grow
I slow grow
I must grow
These four concepts came to me through a sermon back home. It is not a coincidence that I experienced the most growth at my time in the Treehouse. The subtle reminder each morning as I pass our tree. A reminder of the growth done in my life this season and the growth that is to come. With another year to come, I am ready to experience more; more rings of self-control, patience, joy and peace.
There have been many nights at the Treehouse where the women of the house were pushed to their knees. Many nights were sleepless-- gals staying up in the depth of the night with homework and wandering thoughts. I look at these women, those that I have lived with here and those that have lived there before me and see a transformation. Something about the roots that dwell underneath where we abide did a change in us. We may not have realized it then, but maybe we experience just a glimpse now.
If you ever find yourself in College Station, please come by the Treehouse. Our door is always open to you for good food, deep conversation and a belly laugh or two.