Life’s drastic turns can lead to spiritual lessons

By Judy Brandon: Local columnist

In February, we moved a huge aspen in our yard that is more than 20 feet tall. It was quite an event. The first few weeks, we were worried about its ability to withstand the transplant. After all, it is more than 20 feet tall. We waited in wonder as the winter turned to spring, hoping the roots of the tree had taken hold. Then the buds appeared. Soon those gave way to little green shoots and finally to the green leaves. Now the tree stands beautifully in its new place in our backyard! The concern we had at first is gone, even though the tree had been uprooted from the ground it had known for many years.

That aspen reminds me of my life that takes drastic turns at times. The tree and our lives both have to do with our root base, where we get our sustenance. When I am temporarily uprooted, I return to my childhood spiritual roots for strength.

I remember one Sunday night service at a little country church where my daddy was preaching. That night I realized for the first time that I needed Jesus Christ.

I recall my parents on their knees praying for Susie after the doctor had diagnosed her with rheumatic fever. That is when I first realized the significance of prayer.

I think about Mr. Talbee who owned the garage and gas station on the corner in my parents’ seminary days. He knew we were on a tight budget, so he offered help with free gasoline every Saturday. Throughout Daddy’s seminary years, we drove to those country churches on gas compliments of Mr. Talbee. That is when I first realized that Christians were to help one another.

I remember our milkman in Kansas City, Mo., Jack Fleming. He would carry his bottles of milk in a wire carrier. His little twin boys were blind. Many mornings Mother invited him in for coffee, talked to him about God and prayed with him. That is when I first realized that Jesus could comfort.

I remember two friends from Denmark whose parents were in seminary with my parents. I had no concept of Denmark but knew it was across the ocean somewhere. That is when I first realized that Jesus was for everyone.

I remember Daddy holding down two jobs, going to seminary and still pastoring a church. Mother worked, went to seminary and cared for all of us. Their work and sacrifice showed me that Christian commitment meant daily sacrifice.

I remember those time-consuming trips in our car that did get pretty boring. To entertain us, Mother taught us to recite the Psalm 23 and the beginning verses of the 14th chapter of John. That is when I realized that the Bible was and would be a significant part of my life.

I journey in my mind backward to my roots and view the beginnings of the faith that was rooted and grounded in me as a young child. Since that time, my faith has grown stronger and deeper. Paul wrote in Ephesians 3:17, “And I pray that you being rooted an established in love, may have the power with all the saints to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.”

Looking back can be beneficial. We can visit the places where we first learned about God and remember the steadfastness of a Heavenly Father who cares for us. That helps me to flourish through the days of my life.

Judy Brandon is an instructor at Clovis Community College. Contact her at: