“were you to ever venture just north of san francisco into muir woods, an incredible forest of sequoia trees, you would no doubt be provoked to a sense of awe over the strength and endurance of the massive trees. sequoias are sometimes referred to as the largest living things on earth, reaching almost 250 feet in the air and standing for as many as fifteen hundred years.
when you stand before their enormous trunks and beneath a canopy more than twenty stories above you, it’s hard not to feel tiny and envious at the same time. if you could have a conversation with one (not that either of us have attempted that), you would not want to ask, “how? how have you done it? how have you stood strong through all the storms of life, all the difficult situations? how have you not toppled?”
their response may be surprising.
you would probably assume that deep roots would be the fundamental reason the sequoias around you could date back to a few decades from the collapse of the roman empire. that is not the case at all, however as each tree’s roots grow only about four feet in the ground. while going deeper helps many trees remain upright, the sequoia you stand before like an ant has not overcome the difficulties of life because of its depth.
the answer doesn’t lie down below in the earth but all around the tree. if you looked around, you would notice that sequoia trees grow only in groves. while their roots go only about four feet deep into the ground, their roots intermingle with the other sequoias next to them. one tree has other trees surrounding it, supporting it and keeping it strong.”
sunday morning, our pastor read this excerpt from transformational groups by ed stetzer and it stuck with me. being the wife of a recovering sex addict is so hard. sometimes i still get really suspicious of james’ actions and him spending hours upon hours on the computer networking for our business. i wonder if he ever misses his old life…if he wants to get in touch with the women of the past. i still battle anxiety and fear, but let me be honest…over the past year and a half, those battles have become less and less. praise the lord!
one thing that we realized through james’ healing and the 6 1/2 years we’ve been together is that we needed community holding us up, keeping us strong, and supporting us…just like the sequoia trees. there are a select few that have weathered every storm with us (you know who you are and you all are so loved). from the very moment i found porn on james’ computer, to the moment i found out he was sleeping with other girls, and then how everything came to surface again within two months of marriage…we had friends there for us, every step of the way. we really could not have walked through everything we’ve been through had it not been for the people who surrounded us, prayed for and with us, welcomed us into their homes with open arms and a lot kleenex.
for years we’ve been blessed with these amazing friends, however james and i never took the time to commit to a church in our entire dating relationship and even into marriage. we were missing this specific aspect of community. i think the season away from church was needed and in a way helped with some of the wounds we both had. but ever since we started going back to church and found our church home, i thought to myself just the other day, “what have we been missing all these years?!” friends, being back in a solid home church with community surrounding us has been the best healing balm to our hearts and i feel like we’ve both been challenged, loved on, and have grown in so many ways in just the past few months. my cup is overflowing with joy that we have community again. i love that sunday’s we’re back in church, that friday nights are filled with guys nights and girls nights, that we have had dinner with a couple new friends, that we’ve gone bowling with the young adult group, that we’ve gone from having zero weddings to attend this year to having two, and that we both are developing friendships with the same sex on deeper levels, on a weekly basis.
we are back in a place where we are being poured into and that’s so amazing…but now that james and i are in a really healthy place in our relationship and marriage, we are able to pour back into friendships, into community. and you know what? it feels so good!
when walking through the healing of addiction it’s so easy to cocoon ourselves. it’s easy to hide away and not tell anyone about the battles you are facing. but living life with community is so important. as a wife, i learned that i needed my girlfriends around me to lean on. i needed people to rely on through every step of the healing process. even if you aren’t facing an addiction and you just have come to a place where cocooning yourself is easier than putting forth the effort to delve into relationship, friend, you are missing out! we are not called to live life alone. we are called to live life in community.
Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Romans 12:9-10
Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! Hebrews 13:2
Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. Philippians 2:4
last night we had dinner with an amazing couple from church and as we shared our testimonies to each other, i sat there thinking how blessed james and i were to hear their stories, to share our stories, to talk about our dreams and goals in life and to share stories of marriage and how hard yet rewarding it is.
yes, the season of cocooning for james and i was a good season, but honestly, i wouldn’t go back. i love knowing people and in return, being known. if you are not in a church or have a solid community of people around you to do life with, i challenge you to go out there in this big world and find community. i know it seems hard and daunting or scary because it means being vulnerable, but it truly is so worth it. just like the sequoia trees need other sequoia trees to hold and support each other, we need friends and family surrounding us, supporting us so that we can then weather every storm of life together.
photo credit: smitten studio