Wrestling Up Trees and Other Things

I think I’m always wrestling with something… some circumstances, fear, doubt, disappointment, sadness, or just my to-do list. Recently, God has revealed something about my wrestling that has surprised me.

My first single parenting year was decidedly different than I imagined. I was determined to be a godly spiritual leader, a kind, patient mom, and capable of doing all the tasks of both mom and dad. Unfortunately, that last one is far more difficult than I imagined, particularly as it turns out when it came to putting up the Christmas tree for our very first single mom Christmas. 

It started with a beautiful big tree and a very little stand. (Rookie mistake.)

My oldest son and I wrestled that tree until I felt like Christmas would be over before we got that silly thing standing upright. We struggled to get the trunk into the stand. We struggled to get the tree standing straight. We struggled to have it stay upright. We were poked and scratched.; both of us under the tree desperately trying to figure out how to make a trunk smaller while it was partly in the stand. Needless to say, we weren’t having the warmest, fuzziest Christmas moment.

We were laughing for the first fifty tip-overs, but eventually, all smiles began to fade. It was more and more likely that we were going to have a bonfire…if you know what I mean.

It was more and more likely that we were going to have a bonfire…if you know what I mean.

We finally managed to string it up to the Venetian blinds, which resulted in very bent blinds and an awkward looking tree.

I bravely smiled and even laughed while we wrestled that tree. When all the children were asleep, I sat down to enjoy the Christmas tree’s twinkling lights and my eyes began to tear up. Suddenly I was struck again by how hard it was to be a single mom. I began, not for the first time, wondering why life had to get so hard. And why, of all things, couldn’t that tree have been easier to handle. 

And, in that moment of questions and sorrow, I realized that it was okay. It was all okay. Peace poured over me like warm cocoa on a cold day. I felt God saying, “Sweet daughter, I haven’t left you. I’m here. Beside you. Wrestling it all with you.”


I look back now and, amazingly, this is a fond memory. We even reminisce and laugh about the tree every Christmas. It reminds us how God can turn anything into blessing – as hard as that is to believe. Wrestling that tree up is a beautiful picture to me of wrestling this life up to God. 

I’m continually faced with challenges – aren’t we all? – that I want to wrestle down, handle, and subdue. But maybe what God wants me to do is wrestle those challenges up to Him.

The peace I so long to experience happens when I’m looking up, not down.

Once again, I’m reminded that my circumstances and struggles are faced most effectively and peacefully when I look up and face Jesus. 

That ridiculous tree…we were so busy under the weight of it, trying to figure it out, trying to problem-solve. There is nothing wrong with all that in an effort to put up a Christmas tree., but I’m beginning to see that in life there might be a better way. Maybe the way to wrestle things up is to let go of the weight of it, stop trying to figure things out, release the results to God, and watch Him work. That means no gitterdone quick-fixes like string and blinds, but rather patient (ugh) waiting for God to work, releasing my grip on things I can’t control anyway, and opening my eyes to see the beauty of God working all things together for good. 

That leaning tree was still beautiful, just like our less than perfect lives. 

Those twinkling lights didn’t shine any less bright because it wasn’t perfect, just like our lives don’t stop reflecting His glory and goodness when they aren’t exactly what we hoped for or planned. 

We are blessed when we take our eyes off our circumstances and put them on Jesus – when we wrestle things up to our Savior there is hope and peace..