Together

An oak tree doesn’t grow to be magnificent because it was an amazing seed. The mighty oak is a symbol of strength and endurance, yet its prowess stems from sources other than its own will to thrive. Yes, the seed must have potential. But the mere potential of the seed by itself would be insufficient for the tree to achieve the fullness of its purpose… I’m going somewhere with this, don’t worry. For an oak tree to reach its intended maturity and stature, it requires a particular environment and extremely fortunate circumstances. When an oak is young, small rabbits can chew the roots and kill it easily. Also, the older and larger trees around it have to shield it from the harsh winds and elements. It needs to have enough access to the sun to go through photosynthesis, yet enough protection from the sun that it doesn’t dry up. The soil needs to be fertile. There cannot be too many weeds choking out the life of the roots. The tree’s surroundings matter more than anything else. oak forest

It seems that our individualistic culture we’ve lost the wonder of the power of community. Today, I’m grateful for all of the strong pillars around me that continue to provide protection and a nurturing environment for me to grow. I’m overwhelmed by the encouragement and blessings that flow from the incredible people in my life. More than anything, I’m thankful to God for His grace and providence in nurturing, shielding, and pruning me. I thank Him for every circumstance, especially the trying ones, that He used to get me to where I am now.

To use one of many personal examples, here’s an update about the Love Came Down hat campaign: Through your generosity, we’re able to give away over 90 hats and share God’s love with people this winter! I’ve received so many beautiful testimonies from the team that has been handing them out. A great number of people chipped in to bring this dream to fruition through donating, praying, and being a part of the team. People young and old, rich and poor, from all different backgrounds were moved by the Love of the Father. If you missed it, click on this link to see the video: LOVE CAME DOWN. God-willing, we’ll be doing another campaign next winter so be on the lookout.

Love Came Down kidsFamily, there is no way I could do any of this without all of your love and support. There have been more people involved in my life in positive capacities than it would be possible to name. People that have prayed for me, loved me, encouraged me, supported me, set an example for me, given opportunities to me, connected me with people, showed me the way, inspired me… I’m humbled. I encourage you to take some time to appreciate some of the people in your life who have helped you grow into the person you are today. Also, don’t underestimate the impact that you’re having on the people around you. You’re probably influencing more people than you know, so live right. Be a pillar to someone. It’s irrevocably rewarding to help someone else grow and achieve their dreams. And most importantly, thank God for His grace and the circumstances that He used, and is still using, to strengthen you into the oak of righteousness that He designed you to be. Trust God with the process. And don’t be so hard on yourself; give yourself grace. You’re well on your way.

I’m not where I will be, but I’m sure not where I used to be. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your journey and for empowering me to walk mine.

In Love,
Justin

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