Years ago I waited for a prophetic word as the guest speaker worked her way down the line of women. When she got to me she simply said, “ I see you as a large tree,” and moved on. Needless to say, I expected to hear much more than that! If it was going to be just one word, why wasn’t it at least a more exciting word such as hurricane, tidal wave, or lion? Anything but tree. However, I now see that word in a whole new light. The good news is that you, too, dear mother, can be a large tree. Let me explain.
Since receiving that prophecy, I take notice whenever I see the word tree in Scripture. Daniel 4: 1-37 describes this tree: The tree grew large and strong, and its top touched the sky; it was visible to the ends of the earth. Its leaves were beautiful, its fruit abundant, and on it was food for all. Under it the beasts of the field found shelter, and the birds of the air lived in its branches; from it every creature was fed. Revelation 22:2 adds this thought about trees: On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.
Wow! Strength, prominence, beauty, worldwide visibility, abundant fruit, food for all, shelter, life, healing—all these words and phrases describe trees. In these descriptions of what trees supply, three things stand out: presence, provision, and peace. I also see those three qualities lived out in the life of the Proverbs 31 woman. Let’s examine these qualities in the context of our lives as mothers.
The Proverbs 31 woman was very present in the life of her family and home. She wasn’t off doing her own thing and delegating from a distance, but was front-and-center in everything that happened in her household. I’m sure her family could count on her being there for them. A tree is an apt description of what it means to be a mom. Trees are stable, predictable, and visible; you always know right where to find them. Our 100-year-old home is surrounded by pine trees that have probably been there since the house was built. They are not going anywhere. That is a picture of stability, strength, and permanence. Our families need us to be that for them in a world that is constantly shifting and uncertain.
Both trees and our Proverbs 31 sister exemplify provision. This model woman was constantly working to provide for the needs of her family whether that meant meals, clothing, or whatever. Nothing was lacking in her home. The trees in the above visions provided food for all and healing, not only to individuals, but also to entire nations. That is a significant contribution.
And last, but not least, is the quality of peace. Beasts and birds found a safe haven in the environment of the tree—a place to rest and be refreshed, a safe place in which to let down. Provision (having our needs met) and presence (having a sure place in which to seek refuge) lead to peace. Our sister in Proverbs 31 looked so well to the needs of her family, that I’m sure they lived in peace. There was no chaos or uncertainty in her household. To the contrary, when our needs are not met and there is no safe place in which to run, out lives are filled with anxiety and fear.
In all my years of sunbathing to get the perfect tan, I think I must have destroyed my internal thermometer. Now I can’t stand the sun or heat, and I always seek out a place in the shade. I have often thought of how hellish the world would be if God had not created trees. They are a magnificent part of His creation—but no more so than mothers.
Don’t let the world tell you that being a mother and homemaker is not a worthy calling. Your faithfulness in being there for your family and providing for their needs is crucial. It affects not only your family members, but contributes greatly to the health and well-being of the church and our nation. As you meet the needs of your family, you may wake up one day and realize that many other people have been drawn to the shade of your tree to find sustenance, safety, and rest. What you are called to provide is invaluable.
Keep going, dear mother. Your family (and the world) needs you!
PS: Lisa Phillips (pictured with her husband Dexter and their three children) is a great example of a “tree” that blesses many. They have opened their home wide to embrace others over the years. Now that Hope is their only child at home, they have invited four young adults to live with them: one current discipleship school student, a former student, and two foreign exchange students. Many young adults have found rest and healing in the shelter of their home. We bless you Dexter and Lisa! (When I told Lisa that I wanted to use her as an example for today’s blog, she said, “That’s interesting! My nickname when I played college volleyball was Tree because I was so tall!”)