Sunday, November 17, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Tree

The tree.

Somewhere deep inside of me is a tree.

For a long time I had no idea that it was there, growing.
I discovered it earlier this year when I read from Isaiah 61.

The version that I read had the word terebinth in the footnotes where it said 'oaks of righteousness'.

When I saw the word 'terebinth' my heart stirred. 

I did a google search and found a  website that had this to say about the terebinth tree:

"From the Hebrew root signifying “mighty” are derived several names which are usually translated “oak,” or “plane,” in our Bible. All of them, however, appear to stand for  trees remarkable for size and strength."

As I read this I wrote the following in a letter to my counselor:

Sometimes I can feel it.  I can feel this sense that I was meant for something great.  Not great by the standard of the world, but great none the less.  That God has this purpose for me that is great.  I just don’t know what it is yet or how to get there.  This feeling flits in and out of my life at varying times.  I struggle with the how and the when and the through of getting to that point.  Life just bogs me down.  I know that compared to the world that my life is cake, moist and filling in comparisons to the dry dust they are living.  This realization should be freeing, but it just heaps on more guilt for my inability to find joy. 

I was looking up the Isaiah verse about beauty for ashes and I got a glimpse of hope, of maybe there is more to my story than the bog I get weighed down in.  Here is the passage in its entirety:

Isaiah 61:1-3

Exaltation of the Afflicted

61 The Spirit of the Lord [a]God is upon me,
Because the Lord has anointed me
To bring good news to the [b]afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to captives
And [c]freedom to prisoners;
2 To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
3 To grant those who mourn in Zion,
Giving them a garland instead of ashes,
The oil of gladness instead of mourning,
The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.
So they will be called [d]oaks of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
a.Isaiah 61:1 Heb YHWH, usually rendered Lord
b.Isaiah 61:1 Or humble
c.Isaiah 61:1 Lit opening to those who are bound
d.Isaiah 61:3 Or terebinths

There is obviously a lot in this passage that could speak to me.  But the part that struck me was the part about the oaks.  I haven’t really figured it all out, but the word that caught me was that in the translation I read it said “Terebinths” specifically.  Terebinths of righteousness the planting of the Lord.  Now this probably seems an odd thing to hone in on, but when I was first on the internet I used the handle of Terabinthia.  (A mix of spellings of terebinthia from CSLewis and Terabithia from the Katherine Patterson book.  CS Lewis derived the name Terebinthia from the Terebinth tree.  When I chose the name I had no idea it was a tree or an Oak, or any of the meaning behind the word.  But now I do.  I think there is a deeper meaning to it, and I am just kind of sitting and waiting for it to hit me. (February 9, 2013)

This has been sitting with me for the last several months.  About a month ago I decided to do a search to find the meaning of my name.  What I found took my breath away and brought the above to mind again as I once again have been finding myself wondering about the how's and the when's of who I am called to be. 

I had not expected to be surprised, I always thought that I knew my names meaning, (a beautiful song).  What I found out was that I was wrong.

Karmen: The Lord's vineyard (Israeli)  A fruitful orchard (Spanish)

Michelle: Who is like God? Gift from God (Hebrew) Like God (French)

Terebinth (Terabinthia): A mighty oak

Just as I was last February, I am still uncertain as to what it all means and how it will all play out, but it gives me hope.

As I have continued to read up on the Terebinth tree I have found that it is slow to grow, but once it grows it is a strong wood.

This tree inside of me, I know it is little still and slow to grow; but it is growing and it serves  a purpose, a mighty purpose.  Someday this little sapling will become a "mighty oak of righteousness, a planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified".

Here is a little more about the terebinth:
Pistachia terebinthus Seed - raw or cooked[177]. Sweetish[183]. It is sweeter and oilier than an almond[2]. An edible oil is obtained from the seed[117, 183]. The immature fruits, including the stems, are preserved in vinegar and salt. Known as 'atsjaar', they are used as a relish to accompany wines served during meals[183]. The fruit is about 7mm long and 6 mm wide, it contains a single seed[200]. Young leaves - cooked and used as a vegetable[177, 183]. A resin from the trunk is used as a vegetable and as a chewing gum[177, 183].

The resin obtained from this tree (see below for more details) is antiseptic, antispasmodic, cytostatic, expectorant and vulnerary[100, 238]. It is taken internally in the treatment of chronic bronchial infections, streptococcal, urinary and renal infections, haemorrhage, gallstones, tapeworm and rheumatism[238]. Externally, it is used to treat arthritis, gout, sciatica, scabies and lice[238]. It has also been used in the treatment of cancer[100].
Five Minute Friday


  1. Wow.
    From beginning to end
    what you share is
    inspiring and exciting.
    I so look forward to hear
    as the Lord unfolds the story
    on the pages of your life.

  2. I can see how this has stirred hope in you, even as the feelings have come and gone through seasons. I love that you are owning this tree and its significance, the meanings of your name, and how it all connects in a way that takes your breath away. Because it was true of you before you even realized this. God had something up his sleeve all along, and he will continue to nurture that to its fullest strength and beauty. Love you.


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