I traveled up north during the fall. One thing this Florida girl noticed is the trees. Our trees in Florida do not have the gorgeous autumn colors that other states get to enjoy. I also noticed a few trees were already barren. The barren trees taught me this lesson.

The trees flourish throughout the spring and summer, but when autumn comes blowing in, their leaves change colors. As winter nears, the trees go barren for the season. A barren tree does not look at its neighbor and long for their leaves. They do not covet the other’s leaves. Instead, they embrace their season of barreness. They know that in their own time, God will again give them leaves. They see both their leaves and their barreness as a blessing.

Just like the trees, we also go through seasons of barrenness. Sometimes, we need to be stripped of everything we deem “necessary.” When we are stripped to the trunk, we can refocus on what we really need to apply our attentions to. When we are barren, we find that Christ deserves our attention above all else. Only after a time of allowing Him to remind us of our reason for being, then He can nurture us again to flourish.

I caught lice on the last day of my travels. I learned another meaning of barrenness during the days following my pest discovery. I was constantly cleaning my hair, changing my bedding, and spraying every surface I touched. I did not want my family to get lice. Everything I touched had to be stripped barren. I stripped everything of it’s outer layer down to its barrenness. After all my worrying that I was not doing enough, I decided to pray. I could not tackle this pest and keep my family from getting it. God answered my prayers and no one else caught lice in my family. Finally, I was able to have some peace when it was all over.

For those few weeks afterwards, life had been going good. I had focused on my relationship with Christ because I knew only He could completely heal me. But again I started focusing on my cares and worries. Another hope came crashing to a halt. A dream had been shattered. Then, to my dismay, the lice came back. It had been two months, so it was a completely new bout. Nevertheless, it was still disappointing. I started crying and felt like I would fail in life if I could not get rid of a child’s pest.

But this time, I went straight to God first. He gave me His strength. He again stripped me both physically of the lice and mentally of my comparisons. I had become so caught up again in trying to do it all and compared myself to others who seemed to be excelling. I gave up all my control to God. He gently removed every fake leaf that I had stuck on. He pealed off any layers that had been rebuilt. He wanted me to be barren for a season to show me how He truly holds everything. Not a thing happened that He did not plan, even the lice. He used every itch, wash, and comparison to show me they did not truly matter or have an power when held next to His power. Only when we scratch do we feel the need to itch, just like only when we focus on others lives as better than our own do we harbor the need for comparison.

Stay crazy and remember only His power matters, Hannah