The Hymn of the Crabapple Tree

By

I don’t remember ever pretending to be a princess. Not even once.

I wasn’t the sort of little girl who asked for plastic dress-up shoes or sparkling makeup sets. I didn’t have a closet full of pink tulle skirts. My daydreams never bothered with being held captive in some high tower, waiting for a tinfoil man-child to bring me life and liberty.

Instead, I arm-wrestled boys and won. I played shoot-the-Russians, and read thick books, and made useful things out of wood. I roused nests of naked baby mice tucked into hay; wooed doodlebugs out of dried dung piles; and stole luna moths from the cold, wet, night grass.

To this day, I rarely experience the most delicate communions of my soft kind. The pink she-vim, with all of its birdlike chatter and clatter of fragile things remains more foreign to me than China. I would rather be outside digging in dirt making things grow, or taming something wild, or learning something difficult.

When I was seven, my bedroom window opened to the branches of a massive crabapple tree. Every spring, it would hymn its gnarly, old arms into an unbridled explosion of light; and for several weeks, I would live in a sky blown full of perfection.

Perhaps it was too perfect, because it has made me unsatisfied. Handmade pinks are just too “ish”. Too sticky. Too sweet. Too trying-to-be. I remember what this color should be, and I haven’t seen it since. Nothing second-best will suffice.

I paint sometimes, and it seems to me that God has given mankind access to the pigment realm of handmade blues, and greens, and perfect ochres. Yet the Maker must have kept supreme pink to Himself, because the color I was given by that crabapple tree was pure, delicate, alive. It was kissed with undertones of butter-gold, and it flushed like the cheek of an infant; but it was light as down. Every petal danced in the wind, as if it were made for no other purpose than my delight; and I did delight in that singular way that only little girls and very old ones can.

Those days were slow and simple, and my imagination had not yet become defiled. I was young enough to let beauty work the fullness of its gospel over me.

“Behold, little one. Behold!
Hear these thousand tongues sing!
Your heart unfolds like flowers before Me!
Such a shade of joy will burst your very soul!”

Well burst, then. For I was too young to know the fear of it.

When night stained the sky, my tree would whisper promises from all the best story books. She assured me of things I couldn’t dream in the light. With those thousand moon-silvered tongues she blessed two rock-skinned knees and bruised legs scabbed with scratched mosquito bites. Like a sylvan godmother, whispering sacred words across my soda bottle glasses and uncool clothes bought at Goodwill, beauty spoke. She told me that I was the daughter of a great, artistic King, trapped (momentarily, mind you) in the lanky flesh of a prepubescent Giacometti. A kissed toad, waiting, tossed into this blushing wonderland.

The truth tickled the hairs on my arm with a shiver of night air. Crickets recounted the songs of orphans made princes. If my heart would calm its pounding, I might hear the approach of a milkmaid named something like Pertoppety or Faithful Bess; and she would recognize my noble brow and see the royal blood. She would call me forth from the cinders and the scratches to become what tremored in the voice of the first Muse who spoke, “Once upon a time.” She would pronounce my new name.

When I was eleven, we moved away from that house, and my reflection began to change. In the morning light, I would stand with my fingertips pressed into the softs of my cheeks, considering how very much there was that I was not.

I lacked, and so I fought, using the strength of my own arms to defy the gaps. I reasoned, sweated, resolved, studied, proved, and strove. I wrestled with angels and with prophets; but my strength was never enough. Each flexing muscle packed guilt and fatigue into the empty spaces of my soul, and each new failure confirmed my deepest fears. I was ugly, unlovable, rejected. Decades were wasted.

Perhaps it is a sort of mortal sin to lay aside all of our first stories — to unbelieve the best tales told around the early fires. What if these stories are composed and recomposed because something inside our blood knows them to be nearly true? For it is possible that the earth was Art-made to whisper hymns over us while we sleep. And it is possible that we were made with the capacity to listen.

We grow cynical, battered, beaten, fought. We live sore from the pigments of imitation. We expire in the winters of our trying.

Yet Spring is rising, and there is a King. Each new day declares the poetry of His paternity. He still sends the gospel herald pulsing pure and free through the arms of the earth. His warmth offers to make us daughter-beautiful, dignified, whole, new.

It is ours to be young enough again to lie still. It is ours to bathe in the waters of the cherished. It is ours to drink up the sweet milk sap of our new name, and fall asleep with its abundance bubbling white from the corners of our lips. It is ours to be kissed children walking in wonder, trusting, faithing*, dancing in the dew grace of royalty.


Galatians 3:3

Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?

*Particular thanks to Ron Block for sharing his insights on several of these concepts.

Profile photo of Rebecca Reynolds

Rebecca Reynolds teaches Classical Rhetoric and Philosophy of Faith in eastern Tennessee, and is a contributor to the Story Warren website. She’s the author and illustrator of the pediatric series From the Medical Files of Dr. Phineas C. Bones and collaborated with Ron Block as the lyricist for his critcally-acclaimed album, Walking Song. She lives in Kingsport, Tennessee, with her husband and three children.


67 Comments

  1. Canaan Bound

    Wow. BuckBuck, what an exquisite writer you are. So, so beautiful, and so, so true. Thanks for sharing this post with us here…and I hope there will be many more from you in the future.

  2. Mike P

    Wow. Thank you Rebecca Rebecca (or can I just call you Buck?) and thank you Pete for putting this up here. I am so thankful for this place.

  3. Jess

    How… how did you do that? How did you get it so perfectly perfect? There is officially more to BuckBuck the Nordic Wonderduck than meets the mind’s eye (I can no longer imagine a caped relative of Guard Duck tapping away at the keyboard. No feathered superhero could have written this).

  4. Jess

    You mean the Flame of the West sat down and helped you write about crabapple trees and the color pink? How many pieces of eight did you have to pay her?
    😉

  5. Jon HIMknotmeasles Slone

    Hey Pete, I just saw on your bio page that you visited Kentucky recently. I’m from Lexington Kentucky. Our basketball team plays the number one team in the Country tomorrow night! Ugh!
    It said that you were a movie lover and expert. What are some of your favorite movies?

    The Count of Monte Cristo better be on that list.

  6. Jen

    Beautiful imagery, lovely writing, and so much truth! And the Nordic Wonderduck’s secret identity is revealed! =)

    Thanks Rebecca/BuckBuck for writing this, and thanks Pete for bringing it to the Room. So good.

  7. BuckBuck the Nordic Wonderduck

    Jess: Well, sort of. 🙂 Getting to know Fin helped me understand some things about myself that were all locked up… stuff that I never would have realized without her. I’m so grateful for her.

    Mike P: Hey there! Becca is fine. 🙂

  8. Janna

    I am crying because you just said a character in a book helped you write this. Art begats more art, and growth and healing. Such good news . . . Jesus comes for us in so many ways.

  9. Jess

    Oh, that makes more sense. Perfect sense, actually, because Fin does the same thing for me. At any rate, I am very glad you discovered her and so were able to write this post.
    🙂

  10. Canaan Bound

    @12

    Made me laugh, it did. Totally random you are. (And channeling Yoda I seem to be.)

    Count of Monte Cristo. Love that movie, I do. A witty, smart one it is.

  11. Jon HIMknotmeasles Slone

    @28

    I was told by God when i was 26, that my calling was to be a writer and an illustrator. That was 14 years ago! My life is alot like Joseph’s and David’s and Job’s. Yes, i have a book out nationwide but no one knows about it and trying to get help from the saved and unsaved is next to impossible.

    God wired me similar to that of a Jim Carrey, Jack Black, Chris Farley and Robin williams. Only, not crude and in my case, saved by a jewish carpenter!

    So, I sorta starved for the Lord’s attention, in desperate need of a figurative cup of cold water and some friends that share in my kind of waiting and suffering. Jesus is free but faith is hard! Life is hard!

    I am like a comedian who loves to make people laugh and the like, but i’m a word nerd as well. I love words like kids love chocolate and friday afternoons!

    Gotta run!
    Someone out there pray for me and my calling and my Father who seems to be sitting on his hands where i’m concerned!!

  12. sofia

    Beautiful. Thank you.

    (I am compelled to say these…redundant and inadequate as the words seem at the tail end of many comments which express the same)

    On what may be a tangent… could you explain more what you mean by “faithing”? I am guessing that it refers to the activity of having faith…but I’d like to know how you understand and use the word.

  13. BuckBuck the Nordic Wonderduck

    Thanks so much for the warm welcome, folks. I’m so grateful to share this hearth with you all.

    Sofia, I got your question, and I’m looking forward to sitting down to respond. Toddler Mommydom is going to demand my next few hours, but when I get a few moments of quiet to pray and think, I’ll be back.

    Also, I LOVE your name. If we adopt again, that’s one we are seriously considering. 🙂

  14. BuckBuck the Nordic Wonderduck

    Sofia,

    For years I tried to live out my earthly life in Christ in my own power. I understood that I couldn’t save myself eternally, but I didn’t really understand how the gospel should impact what happened every day while I was running around with my feet in the dirt.

    When I messed up, I would just try harder to do better. “Trying harder” involved things like making resolutions, developing methodical prayer charts, studying theology books, memorizing Scripture, reading profusely, fighting against immoral politics, confronting bad theology (often rudely), lambasting injustice, developing new ministries, etc.

    I’m a pretty driven gal, so I was relentless in trying to improve myself and my world. But the more I worked, the more fatigue quietly grew inside me. And in the silent hours of the night, I doubted God’s love for me. I don’t know if you’ve ever felt that breed of doubt, but it’s a horrible, terrifying, empty thing.

    If you had asked me if I was trying to justify myself, I would have said, “No”. I knew the “math” of the gospel — that I was justified by Christ alone. And I had heard/read about the Spirit-filled life. But I understood the Spirit-filled life as a formula that could help me be productive, meaning that my emphasis was still on proving the legitimacy of my devotion to Christ.

    Galatians 3:3 talks about people who try to live that. The general message of that verse seems to be, “Hey now! God STARTED working in you through His power, so don’t you think that He wants to CONTINUE to work utilizing that same source?” But after receiving Christ, I just yanked my power cord out of the wall and ran.

    A few years ago, God let me walk through a season of incredible pain. About five key areas of my life fell apart all at once. This was the sort of heartbreak that leaves you on your knees, sucking for air, begging God to just take you. There was deep injustice among Christians, betrayal by people I trusted, one of my children needed heart surgery, there was misunderstanding, false accusation, rejection, inadequacy, and failure on multiple levels. The more I tried to fix things the worse they became. It was almost like that time in Joseph’s life when he was stuffed in the dungeon unfairly. Even when I had undeniable proof that wrongs were being done, there was no relief. I felt so trapped, and eventually I began to fear that God must not love me because He was allowing so many devastating things to happen. And because I made some grave, reactionary mistakes during all of this, I also lived with a paralyzing amount of guilt.

    Since my husband is a pastor, I had to walk through most of this in near isolation. I wasn’t trying to be inauthentic. I tend to be a very open person, actually. It’s just that when you are in a position of spiritual leadership, sometimes you don’t have the luxury of putting everything “out there,” because that can make things exponentially worse for others.

    I am a fighter by nature, but I finally got to the point where I couldn’t even lift my arms. Total spiritual exhaustion. I wonder now if maybe God was allowing me to see the ends of my strength for a reason. And I wonder if because I am such a strong person, it just took a comprehensive sort of devastation to get me there.

    I walked away from that bruised, sarcastic, untrusting, exhausted, dry. And then, slowly, God began to introduce a new theme into my life. It was strange. It seemed like everywhere I looked the same story was suddenly being told to me over and over again. It was in books, teachers, music, and the Rabbit Room… the same message. It sounds simple, but it changes everything: the gospel applies to the here and now, not just the someday.

    There are a few elements to the “now” of the gospel that I’m going to mention below that have impacted my struggles profoundly. Several of these ideas have come from Ron Block. So, I want to credit him for whatever he wants to claim. Maybe he will jump in and straighten out the wrinkles, because much of this is still new for me. Because of the blind spots, I’m not sure I will explain it adequately.

    1.) I think “faithing” involves understanding the incredible significance of our rebirth. It is a massively powerful thing to take God at His Word that our identity has totally changed. Living believing that we are defeated, wretched, and guilty is crippling. Living believing that we are actual, legitimate daughters of a King changes our gait. If we are children of a King, we have His resources at our disposal. We have His dignity imparted into us. We have His love undergirding each moment. We have His delight, and a warm invitation to delight in Him. That is a place of such unshakable security. It places every single thing we do in a different context. (This concept was the main point of this essay, actually.) Do you know the AP song, “Fool with a Fancy Guitar?” Also JG’s “I Am New?” Excellent resources on this.

    2.) I think “faithing” involves realizing that self-powered living is actually anti-gospel living. Galatians commands me to live each moment plugged into the same Energy source that saved me. If I run off and try to just use my strengths without Him filling me up, I have missed my calling. If I believe I can be good on my own, I have missed my calling.

    I’m not called to passivity. But as a Fin-girl, I needed to know how to move, because how we fight for good things matters. Too often in the past, my energy source has been my own strength, my fear, my anger, my determination alone. (J. Gray’s RR post yesterday hits on this some, I think.)

    3.) I think “faithing” involves recognizing that God allows certain pain and temptation for a purpose. This is major, especially if you ever struggle (like I do) with wondering if God loves you.

    I’m slowly starting to learn the value of prayers like this:

    “OK, God. You are Sovereign, and You love me. You have allowed this situation. That means I don’t need to feel threatened. You could fix this whole mess with our without me, but in Your infinite wisdom and care, You’ve chosen to allow me to be in this particular classroom for the time being. So, what do You have for me to learn here? How can I trust you in this?

    How am I tempted to make the pain of the discomfort go away quickly in illegitimate ways? And how can I take my next step, secure and trusting, instead of trying to fix everything by myself?”

    4.) I think “faithing” involves a constant, moment-by-moment dependence on our justification because of the gospel, and not because of our performance.

    In the Western Christian community, the commodity is often “success.” People network, and preen, and volley, and strive to work their way up ladders. At the bottom looking up, it’s easy to see the “stars” of the modern faith world and want to become them. Because if we had that identity, we think we would feel secure.

    (Please know that I am not criticizing thriving in our groove as creative image-bearers, BTW. That’s a good and beautiful thing and often naturally leads to being known, because the world is thirsty. What I’m talking about is seeking success for the sake of security.)

    In my heart, that whole “success” dynamic can be toxic. That is part of the reason I cried and felt like I was going to puke for several days after Pete asked me if he could post this essay here. I know, it’s just a RR post. It will come and go soon enough. But I have loved being BuckBuck the unknown nobody. Being unmasked scares me, because I know how yucky my heart is, and I fear getting caught in some sort of affirmation-based security system. That is more tempting when people are cheering for you by name than when you are a duck.

    But the gospel applies to those fears. A couple of dear friends hog-tied me and forced that medicine down my throat a few days ago. They talked me out of writing Pete and saying, “Never mind! Don’t do it!” because I can lean into the Lord’s provision, even in this temptation.

    Anyway, there is more to say on all of this, but I’m going to cut it off here; because I don’t want to take up too much of the discussion space. I’m so, so sorry it is too long already.

  15. Profile photo of Ron Block

    Ron Block

    @ronblock

    That is one heck of an essay, in both the truth and the telling.

    Sophia: faith is a verb in Greek. Not that I know Greek, but I’m familiar with Strong’s, Vine’s, etc. Faith is an action word. Yet it is not a “doing” in the sense of “showing we have faith.” Faith is that choice we make to agree with God, agree with the Word. And I’m not speaking primarily of “commands” but the simple, take-at-face-value statements about reality. The Word says we are dead to sin, new creations, holy, beloved, accepted, one spirit with the Lord, dead to law (self-effort), and alive to God. It says we were once darkness, but now we are light in the Lord. It says we are the light of the world. It says we are sons of God.

    Yet we don’t faithe in the God who says those things. We don’t account him to be truthful. Instead, we do an end-run around the truth by saying, “We are holy – positionally. We are dead to sin – positionally.” So we go through all the self-effort, striving, try-sin-repent-try-sin-repent cycle over and over again thinking Christianity is about self-improvement.

    But it isn’t. The world religions are all about self-effort and self-improvement. Christianity claims that Christ said, “It is finished.” It claims that we died in Christ on the Cross, and now we are risen to walk in newness of life; this is not “positional” but real, living, and actual. We are “partakers of the divine nature” as Peter says. As John says, when we love one another it is really God loving, for God is love. And Paul says “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me, and the life I now live, I live by his faith.”

    Forgiveness is just the door into the Mansion. But we are to faithe in the rest of the Gospel as well – all those radical statements about reality that most of us refuse to accept.

  16. Profile photo of Ron Block

    Ron Block

    @ronblock

    One more thing:

    Faithing begins when we confess, or “say with God.” It is really just speaking out in agreement with God. In reading Ephesians it says, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live, then, as children of light.” I can take that statement and bank on it. I am light in the Lord. Scripture says I died to sin, and I died to having to be holy by my own human strength (living by the Law). Scripture says I am already holy in Christ. I can take that to the bank as well. I can say it out loud to myself: “I am holy. I am dead to sin. I am a new creation in Christ.” And then step out my door faith-ing in the reality of those statements no matter what the world, flesh, or devil say.

    That’s faithing. It’s betting the farm on God’s truthfulness, on his concept of reality, and not on the world, flesh, or devil. To faithe is to bet our body, soul, and spirit, and our eternity, that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob doesn’t lie.

    We think it humility to go around calling ourselves depraved sinners, talk about how we can’t stop sinning. But it isn’t humility. It is pride that says, “What I see, feel, think, experience, is reality. God doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”

    And we think it proud to say, “I’m holy.” Well, it would be, if we were thinking of self-generated holiness. But to say “I am holy in Christ; Christ in me is my holiness, and all his resources are mine – therefore I am holy, not ‘positionally,’ but actually. Im going to bet my life on this holiness in me; I’m going to step out in faith as if this holiness is real.”

    We grow, yes. But we grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. We grow in knowing more fully just exactly what he accomplished at the Cross; he accomplished everything. We can live like the spiritual billionaires we are, a true rags to riches story. Or we can limp along on our own effort, trying to be holy, never making the grade, but trusting in a pie-in-the-sky salvation that has very little bearing on here and now. The choice between those two options is the choice of farthing in God’s statements on reality, or trusting in world, flesh, devil.

  17. Josh Kennedy

    I was drawn in to this post by a curiously pink river of blossoms, captivated by the story you wove together, and humbled by your explanation of faithing, Rebecca.

    Funny thing is, out of all that, the one thing that moved me more than any other was the paragraph near the end of your response where you mentioned feeling that a reversal in digestion was imminent when asked to write a piece for the Rabbit Room. Not to say that your post makes me want to throw up, quite the opposite. But I completely clicked with what you said about your heart.

    See, I normally wouldn’t have posted anything because I have a heart that leaps lightning fast to grab glory and demands the utmost perfection, never willing to risk embarrassment, or looking like an idiot. As such, I’ve avoided posting anything on the Rabbit Room for something like a year simply because I a) know how good everyone else here is with words, and b) know my own limitations. So basically, it’s a pride thing for me.

    What I’m trying to say is, thank you for such a thoughtful and well-worded piece. God used it tonight to chip away at me (as He is often prone to do at the Rabbit Room) and my pride-filled heart.

    Oh, and keep smithin’ them words BuckBuck!

  18. sofia

    Thank you, both, Rebecca and Ron–very much. I was going to to say “oddly enough,” but really not so oddly enough, knowing the provision and love of God, these truths are some of the very things that I have seen God teaching me over the past year. In fact, I’ve had some very recent conversations about seeing my need for living in this faithing way rather than out of a sense of having been justified and then thinking that I must do the rest of the self-improvement. Mercifully God has been teaching me that the latter is not the Gospel, through His Word, through conversations and now, through you both.

    In fact, I would like to share what you wrote to me via my blog (which is an easier place to reference friends to than comment #…). Would you mind if I copied what you wrote (with full attribution, of course)?

  19. kris

    A beautiful, breathtaking post. Goodness! I am still digesting it. What lovely and powerful truth. Thank you so much for this. Just amazing!

  20. Jazz

    I paint little detailed plasture figurines in about two hours. then I give them as gifts and the receivers almost always say the look proffessional. Now I have had no schooling in prfessional art, but my mom says that since I work really hard at it, it is profesional.
    My parent made me do a speakers tournament. Its where you write a 4 to 6 minute speech and then give it to people. I didnt work very hard at it, but people loved it. Lots of people said that I had great stage presance. I got enough points to go an to the next level, but I dont want to.
    I dont like have every thing written down and just speak to people. I like discusing it. and you cant discuss deep thoughts in 4 minutes

  21. BuckBuck the Nordic Wonderduck

    Sofia, I’m fine with you using whatever you need. I am not familiar with how the world of internet quoting is supposed to work, but whatever permission is mine to give is granted. 🙂

    Warm blessings and thanks to the rest of you. 🙂

  22. Shelley R.

    I believe it’s very possible that those thousand tongues continue to lift up their melody to you even now…. be it in memory, the first emboldened leaf unfurling of a sprouting plant, the tender grace a toddler offers in a full-body hug when our flesh has caused us to trip in our parenting.

    As many have uttered: thank you. But for me, it’s more than the well-knit words, the recalling of all of creation singing, the “Amen, sister” sighed in support. I am grateful to have, this very week, when each night my husband and I have prayed and labored to write something together to have encountered someone who has walked this path of faithing. It’s exactly what we’ve been trying to share with some others, and pleading with the Holy Spirit to reveal: that doing more won’t grant us anything but more spiritual weariness. Taking out your cord and running? How about being in an organ that instead of remaining where placed and thriving with the functioning its been given is trying to edge it’s way closer to The Head (Christ) through doing more for a better view?

    Ahh, it’s just encouraging to remember there’s a radical hope and amazing power that infuses and saturates us now…. not tomorrow, or “when” or “if” this or that is done.

    I’m glad you asked her, Pete:)

  23. Andrew

    I love to slow down and see how all of creation speaks this life to us…it is so hard, though, with all the “to dos” in our lives…

  24. Elizabeth K.

    I’m breathing hard right now. That was beyond any beautiful, painful, longing words I can say. Thank you, BuckBuck.

  25. mike bates

    My Dear BuckBuck,
    My wife read this and remembered the scabs on her knees and the still painful tears on her heart. She said you have the words she wishes she could speak. The very first post I read by you left me thinking “Why is this lady not in the list of bloggers rather than here amidst the masses?” Now I am justified. Thank you. You mention Galations, and I would leave you with this, “The only thing that matters is Faith expressing itself through Love”. Keep expressing yourself, we Love it! Bless You and Yours!

  26. BuckBuck the Nordic Wonderduck

    You folks are so kind. Thank you for your encouragement.

    As I was writing and rewriting this, I was pretty overwhelmed thinking about how readers I didn’t know would be coming to this piece with needs and scars that I could never even imagine.

    My preference would be to sit down and listen to your specific aches and bruises, so that I could tailor words to fit them. But I couldn’t do that. So I just prayed earnestly that the Lord (who does know your heart and life thoroughly) might step into that space between us and fill it up with His abundance.

    He knew the limited number of people in the world who would read this. He knew which phrases and images were able to trigger trust and worship in your hearts. If He answered my prayer, and brought you to this piece, and spoke specifically to you, I think that likely says more about His enormous affection toward you (specifically you the one reading this now) than it does about the quality of my writing.

    So here’s my request… if you were moved by this, go run and nuzzle deeply into the Lion! He cares about every grief of your heart, and His abundance is available to overflow your cup. (I’m needing to take a good long journey there myself today, actually. Ever since this post has hit, my life has been crazy rough. So I will pray for you, and maybe you can pray for me. And He will nourish us all.)

    With the love of our Father,
    Becca

  27. Andrea

    Becca, thank you for your time and your words. I feel like Josh above – I don’t like to speak up here in the middle of all the eloquence and deep thoughts. I am hampered by pride and my vain pursuit of perfection. What I just wanted to be sure to share is this – the discussion from you and Ron on “faithing” has burned my heart with both sorrow and joy. And this thought from Ron has opened me up and poured life in:
    “We think it humility to go around calling ourselves depraved sinners, talk about how we can’t stop sinning. But it isn’t humility. It is pride that says, ‘What I see, feel, think, experience, is reality. God doesn’t know what he’s talking about.'”
    Thank you both for speaking to my heart. It is an honor to come here and receive this encouragement to love and obey.

  28. Sara S.

    Everything that can be said, has been said. But I’ll add my “thank you” anyway, seeing as I too struggle with that peculiar and joy-killing pride that Josh K. expressed so well.
    So, thank you. Thank you for sharing this!
    And now more than ever I want to get my hands on the story of Fin~
    And your most recent comment, BuckBuck, yes! Beautiful! Let’s all run to the Lion, and as we’re drawn closer to Him, may we be drawn closer to each other as well.
    I’m off on that glorious run! – and I am praying for you.

  29. Loren

    Beautiful writing! Your crabapple tree reminds me of Anne of Green Gables’ Snow Queen (speaking of another “princess in disguise”) and of the crabapple we had over the front door of our old home–I always looked forward to the first week of May! I love the idea that God has reserved that color of pink; we just can’t paint it….

    And His love–so amazing…. I have never struggled much with self-esteem and yet His mind-boggling, unconditional, always-and-forever love for me is still something I struggle to grasp. I know in my head it’s there, but in my heart? How could He possibly?

    Thank you for your testimony as well. That “plugging into the Energy source” is a truth I’ve been learning more and more over the past few years. Everything I read, experience, study continues to confirm it.

    Keep writing!

  30. Sarah

    “I was young enough to let beauty work the fullness of its gospel over me.” I loved that line, and feel that beauty has come to me again with great strength in your words.

    Your writing is exquisite. Thank you!

    Oh, and I too scooped big luna moths from the grass when I was little (and spent hours scouring the countryside for more). Good days, those.

  31. Donna

    So sorry that your life is rough right now. I pray God’s peace over you and all that you love and hold dear. Thank you for this lovely “poem” of an essay. From a grandmother approaching 60 to a younger lady with a toddler, please hear this. His gift is strong in you, and it is a gift that sets captive places in the heart free. Don’t be afraid to wield the sword that has been given to you.

  32. Tom Murphy

    Rebecca, the truth about showing our wounds to others is that it gives us glimmers of the relationship God intended in Eden, to be “naked and unashamed”, and that which he is restoring – not merely to an uncultivated garden, but to a cultivated city where many other brothers and sisters will join in one accord. Humble openness encourages deep fellowship.

    Thanks for sharing this post. Your writing is heart-piercingly beautiful!

    Your sharing of where the Lord brought you (and through) in the comments gives encouragement to others that are walking through their own time of breaking, only to find that there might, (scratch that), will be a hymn, a table, and a blooming tree at the end of our suffering (Rev 19:6-10, Rev 22:1-5). Part of the “nowism” of the gospel is experiencing how God redeems our suffering to increase the Bride of Christ’s “faithing” (trusting) in Christ.

    A gentle prod – Don’t stop giving encouragement to the saints through your writing. It’s not your life that is being lifted high and exposed. It is Christ’s.

    Paul refers to this as “Christ in you, the hope of glory”…In his own words from the 1st chapter in his epistle to the saints in Colossae…

    [24] Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, [25] of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, [26] the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. [27] To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. [28] Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. [29] For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.

  33. Tom Murphy

    Pete, perfect picture perspicacity…

    Yet the Maker must have kept supreme pink to Himself, because the color I was given by that crabapple tree was pure, delicate, alive. It was kissed with undertones of butter-gold, and it flushed like the cheek of an infant; but it was light as down. Every petal danced in the wind, as if it were made for no other purpose than my delight; and I did delight in that singular way that only little girls and very old ones can.

  34. Bob

    I wasn’t going to read this, didn’t ‘have time,’ but you stole my time and I was blessed.

  35. BuckBuck the Nordic Wonderduck

    Thank you, friends. This morning I was listening to AP’s “Many Roads.” These words, in particular, stood out to me.

    How I love to watch you listen to the music,
    ‘Cause you sing to me a music of your own,
    As I cast out all these lines,
    so afraid that I will find I am alone,
    all alone.

    Interacting with you folks over this post has been that sort of experience for me. It’s been all warm and beautiful to hear how God is moving in your lives, and to feel the mutual “story-making” that happens as we talk to each other.
    I feel like I am watching a conductor pull up different instruments to make a piece of music. I’m so grateful to be walking this journey amid the grace, hope, and love that seeps out of the pores of this place.

  36. Amber Leffel

    Also, Becca, I am looking for your Facebook or your Twitter or something and apparently haven’t looked the right way. I would like to just talk to you and pour out my heart and hear yours most of all (oh, it is so His heart that gets poured) for hours and days.

    Anyway, here’s mine if it’s not just too silly: http://www.facebook.com/#!/AmberLeffel. (And I know the Kindredness of the Lord which makes everything wonderful — not silly.)

    Oh, the Lord bless you & keep you.

  37. Tom Murphy

    Rebecca, you’ve spurred me on. I am more Aero geek, than Creative Writer at this point, but this post helped me think through the coming Passover and Easter. Here’s a sample of the fruit that went out to our home group…

    “It is terrifying lovely the Creator of all that is wants to dine so badly with His Bride, for the sake of Love and Glory, that He has crucified His Son with wounds that will remain for eternity, as an “Ebenezer” to His jealous Love for His people. – 1 Sam 7:12-13, Mat 26:29, Rev 5:6, Rev 19″

    BTW, I second the request for invitation to your Facebook blogging. My profile is http://www.facebook.com/Thomas.M.Murphy28…Couldn’t find you when I looked…

  38. BuckBuck the Nordic Wonderduck

    Tom, thanks for sharing what you wrote. I really like the thought of the Ebenezer. We are written on His hands.

    I just realized that I’ve clicked on your site before. I’d love to hear more sometime about what you’ve learned re: Biblical Counseling through song. Fascinating concept.

    I couldn’t get your FB link to work when I clicked on it. I’m not sure what’s up there. You can just message me if you want: mosessupposes2@gmail.com. Or, you can get to my blog by clicking on my “BuckBuck” name.

    Thanks for letting me know what the Lord is doing in your life! 🙂

  39. Tom Murphy

    Essentially, it is simply putting Scripture to song for the purposes of meditation based upon Colossians 3:16-17.

    I take Scripture passages, find high quality recordings of those passages put to song (more or less the Psalms, for now), and then unpack the section exgetically with “hymns and spiritual songs”. All to let the Word of Christ dwell richly.

    The flow of Colossians 3 has to do with understanding who we are (Col 3:1-4) – the fancy Seminary technical term is the indicative case. Essentially, the indicative indicates states of BEING. Col 3:5-15 is written in the imperative – in other words what we should be DOING. Verses 5-10 deal with repentance and the murdering (putting to death) of sin. Verse 11 puts us all on the same page. Verse 12-14 are the “Put ons”, or those elements of Christ that we are to embrace and walk in. Verses 15-16 are the practical ways of doing this in a three-fold manner. Verse 16 is really the center of this concept.

    16 Let pthe word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, qsinging psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, rwith thankfulness in your hearts to God.

    Essentially, Paul never leads us into non-practical waters. He gives practical advice in how to actually do the putting to death and the putting on. It’s Repentance 101 from the Apostle Himself.

    Verse 15 and 16 are immensely practical. In verse 16, he is saying essentially “Let the Word of Christ dwell richly by…

    1) Biblical Teaching
    2) Biblical Counseling
    3) Singing Biblical Musical Content, first from the Scriptures (Psalms) and then from your overall understanding of God – Systematic Theology (hymns) and spiritual songs (essentially, from our experience)

    The “admonishing” in verse 16 carries with it both the positive and negative aspects of counseling. The positive aspect of counseling is giving/receiving counsel when nothing is actually wrong, and a leading into a right understanding of God and self. Discipleship is meant to be more “a sitting at the feet of” than a “read this book on Christian living and then we’ll talk about it” endeavor. When we understand who God is at the heart [cognitive (thoughts), affective (emotions), and volitional (behaviors)] level in relation to who we are, behaviors are bound to change. BEING precedes DOING…

    The way the scribes and Pharisees (and Jews today) were able to memorize entire books of the Old Testament is because Hebrew, especially the poetic sections, are highly vocalic. In other words, the text was meant to be read with a cadence. Hence, the bobbing at the wall of the Temple Mount. They are keeping time with their body movements as they are reading the text. Kind of like a personal Torah concert…

    Well, in the poetic sections of Scripture, there is a treasure trove of Hebrew poetry that can be set to music. The Psalms are “easy pickens”, but the Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, elements of Genesis/Exodus, the Prophets, and the prayers scattered in the text (just to name a few) are diamonds yet to be fully mined.

    I read through a Chronological Bible each year and I’ve begun to write down all of the sections that are good candidates for putting to music. So far, for this year alone, I have about 4 sheets of Scripture.

    But, alas, I am merely a Biblical Counselor in training and need to hand the baton to more gifted musicians and song writers to take the baton. I really just want to sit down with broken people and tell them about Jesus one-on-one. I think my part is coming up with the counseling theory and practice, along with counseling musicians/songwriters, from a textual standpoint, as they create. In the words of Mr. Wangerin, helping those to “tell the truth” in their art.

    Hence, I have started a “Dallas Rabbit Room” in person meeting that meets every Thursday in the Uptown neighborhood of Dallas at a local coffeeshop to start doing this in community. It is a Body kind of thing. The load is too heavy for one person (or even one group) to carry…

    We are currently reading through “A Grief Observed” and Pete’s books are next on our plate. Just friends walking together and sharing good story…

    That’s a bit of a rant, but those are some of the thoughts going into a paper I am writing for Seminary in partnership with the Association of Biblical Counselors.

  40. Hannah

    I haven’t stopped by here recently, but this was great. The word pictures, the similarities of your story and mine, the comments on holiness Ron Black (refreshing something I heard about a month ago)… Thanks.

  41. Fellow Traveler

    BuckBuck, does your email address have an extra number in it there, or is it really mosessupposes2?

  42. A Bride of Yeshua

    Thank you so much for your post about the Crab Apple Tree, as mine has been beckoning me for months, saying “Come this way there are arms of love to hold you” God promised in the sping that I would find the whole world layed out before me, and he did this through the blossoms of the crab apple trees opposite my home. I have been “Living” the Song of Songs for the past year and a half, but this spring, those trees encouraged me to sing songs through the Holy Spirit whilst they swayed in the soft cooling winds as an orchestra from heaven conducted my new steps into this Kingdom of freedom. The trees said “Come fly with me in freedom new to you” There is something very special about the crab apple trees, I was looking online to see if the original translation in Song of Songs about being roused under the apple tree was originally a crab apple instead of an apple and found your equally poetic post. A prophetic gifting, God speaks through poetry, you are indeed a Warrior Bride, Awaken Sweet Bride, Spring is here, the season of singing has come…. xxxx

  43. A Bride of Yeshua

    P.S. Just found on Google the first apple trees were types of crab apple tree, there you go….. In my experience God takes what the Devil has used and takes in back, making it all soft, caring and beautiful instead, hence him rousing his Bride under the Apple tree in the Song of Songs, its a Crab Apple! : ) xxx

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