After living in West Des Moines, Iowa for nearly 23 years, in June 2012 I moved to Florida. Though palm trees don't grow in Iowa, I have always appreciated the beauty of palms. How ironic that I would eventually come to live in a place where palm trees flourish!
Many years ago, after reading a particular devotion about how a palm tree reflects the life of a Christian, that palms came to represent a special symbol of faith for me.
When I look at a palm - of any type or variety - I am reminded that its roots go deep to reach water, just as believers go deep into the living water of the Holy Word.
The palm's thick trunk protects the precious core of a palm tree, just as our souls are protected by our physical body.
And did you know? A palm becomes stronger and more resilient the more it is pushed and buffeted by strong winds. In the same way, a person who in adversity turns to God, will find herself drawn closer to God and her faith strengthened.
My faith has been tested since moving here, as seven months after arriving I was diagnosed with breast cancer - invasive ductal carcinoma. It was found early, and after a lumpectomy and SAVI catheter radiation, I am on a five year course of Arimidex. Then, five months after taking care of breast cancer, I was diagnosed with severe peripheral artery disease. Femoral arteries in both legs were 100 and 90 percent blocked by decades of plaque build-up. Thus far, it's taken five catheterization procedures to diagnose and open these arteries which are kept open with stents. With enhanced blood testing, we've learned that my siblings and children also have this genetic condition.
"I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 3:14 (NIV)
Palm fronds look like open hands! They reach out, just as each of us is invited to do by God. He calls us to extend our hands in love to the world around us. A large Bismarck palm (see my blog header) planted in our front yard is my reminder of this.
May God bless you with flourishing palms!