Three old stumps.

I pass by them each day as I make a right turn at a busy intersection in the heart of town. They are grey in color, roots dead and offer no leaves to spark nourishment. They sit in front of a small wooden white building; from the condition of the structure, I imagine they aged together.

I also cannot help but imagine what filled the air above the stumps before they were cut down. Did the trees scale higher than the little building, their leaves applauding with one another on a windy day? Did families picnic beneath their shade? Lovers linger, carving their initials with pocketknives into healthy bark? Did children climb upon their branches?

I don’t ever wish to be like an old stump — no resemblance of spark left in me. As I age, I am not naïve to the realization that some leaves have already fallen and I cannot pick them up and place them back on the tree. I can only be thankful that they were given to me to experience for the season that God so graciously allowed.

Thankfully, God doesn’t gift us just one plan. Notice the following verse says “plans” not “plan.”

Jeremiah 29:11-13 says, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.’”

Life changes, branches break, children grow, leaves fall, careers change, etc. Gratefully, our identity isn’t in what we are, but in whose we are. We are children of the Most High, created to praise God for eternity. As followers of Christ, we are not guaranteed an easy life, but we are promised a redeemed and eternal life where God is always aware of us, for us, and with us. Our roots are sustained by his promises irregardless of how tour tree looks at present. He is our eternal hope.

As we enter 2017, may we remember the source of our spark, the source of our hope, and the source of our peace. Irregardless of what changes have occurred, or what may come, God is still in control.

Romans 8:37-39 says, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

SGLY, dear readers.

(Smile, God Loves You.)

Tiffany Kaye Chartier is a Christian writer and an opinion columnist. To submit feedback on SGLY or to offer a specific topic idea, please contact Chartier at news@amtrib. com. Follow Chartier on Facebook: facebook. com/tiffanychartier and Twitter: @tiffanychartier