When All You’ve Got Is A Shovel.


Sometimes you just have to get to work.
There is a job to be done and in that moment you are the one to do it.

It matters not that you feel unqualified.
It matters not if you like the it.

20150530_173559 (1)

For this moment, you are the one.

It’s as if you’ve been assigned.
You think this way because your viewpoint is not bound to terra firma.


You spend the whole month of May cleaning and hauling and dragging and burning and throwing away and giving away and every single day of it you walk past The Tree With No Name. She has suffered the ravages of two brutal winters and most of her branches are dead. You’re sad, but truthfully, sometimes you just plain hate that tree. She’s gnarly and old and past her prime, apparently. Yes, there are a few wispy leaves near the top, but it’s just a matter of time before she rots from the inside out. You think, if you were Jesus, you’d curse the thing to its root for being such a poser.

You turn away and let your blade split the ground. It cuts through the roots, the bone and marrow of an unruly hydrangea because you know that this kind of surgery yields life. It doubles, triples, even quadruples the splendor of petals.
This is your hope, anyway.

But when the blade cuts deep, you can’t help but feel, like the hydrangea, that you are losing.

Losing your normal.
Losing your routine.
Losing your productivity.
Losing your space.
Losing your spot in the garden.

The only thing to gain at this point is trust in the gardener.

There are blooms all around you, but your pot, at the moment, appears empty.
Like you’re the poser.


Days bleed weeks bleed months and you keep digging.
Digging into the Word.
Digging into the Spirit.
Digging into Jesus.
You have become a ditch digger.
A digger of trenches where water will flow.

You are believing that all the changes and upheavals and new normals will yield something far greater than any of your perceived losses because in an upside down kingdom it’s the losers who ultimately win. Things like forgiveness and freedom and healing and passion for what God is doing.

Sometimes all it takes is to look a little closer. To fix your gaze on what is right in front of you, but so easily missed. To look past the dead things, the lost things.


On a warm spring day, after you’ve spent the better part of it elbow deep in dirt wondering about your life and the next chapter, your next assignment, ¬†and you suddenly find yourself enveloped in a shower of small white petals….look up.

The Tree With No Name will be standing there in all her white blossomed glory, her blooms heavy laden near the top past her broken places.

mountain ash tree

She is no poser. You are no poser.
With your shovel in your hand you just need to see.