I am a tree

This past Saturday, God reminded me of a picture that a woman in our church gave me during my first year of University. I was having a rough time…feeling like I was never going to get out of a “trough” and wishing I could be on top of a “peak”.

The picture was of a tree, in each of the four seasons of the year – throughout the year, there were obvious changes to the tree…the leaves grew and flourished then turned yellow, red, brown, and finally fell..leaving the tree bare for the winter.

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The lady who gave me this image spoke about how the tree changes throughout the year, dependent on the season and the conditions – but it doesn’t rely on its’ own strength to do these things. The tree is designed by God, and God has orchestrated the seasons through the creation of the Universe. It’s warm in the summer, because He made it so. It’s cold in the winter, because He made it so. The tree flourishes in the spring because the warmer weather helps it develop new buds…but it needs to shed the leaves in the autumn so that it can refertilise the ground around it and grow stronger in the next year.

I was reminded of this picture whilst sitting and talking with my friend Debbie, who sweetly gave up her essay-writing time to talk with me. As we talked, about the recent ups and downs (mostly downs) in my life, God reminded me of the picture and through that reassured me of the hope that I have in Him.

In Ecclesiastes 3 (v1) it says: There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.

Recently, I feel like I’m in an endless winter…completely stripped back with no hope of a change. I know this isn’t true, though, which is an amazing blessing. I cannot imagine being in this place without the sure and certain hope of Jesus. This is my season of waiting on Him, trusting in Him, learning more about Him.

He is moulding me, and changing me. He is allowing me to face these challenges, because the ultimate victory is already won, and He wants to sharpen me to make me the best version of myself – so that I glorify Him. Any change in me will be through Him, and for Him.

So yes. I am a tree. I am a tree in winter, and oh how I cannot wait for the spring!

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night.  That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither – whatever they do prospers.      (Psalm 1: 1-3, New International Version)

Chocolate Courgette Cake

Today I thought I’d try something different. Rosie (still) has chocolate left over from Christmas, and we had a courgette in the fridge. I’ve heard of people making cakes/breads combining the two, so thought “why not try it?”

It turns out, it’s quite a popular recipe and it’s also very simple. Just bung it all in, essentially!

Ingredients

Recipe

225g self raising flour (with 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of sofa combined)

150g caster sugar

125ml vegetable oil (ick)

2 eggs

Grated courgette: I used 1 medium, but you could use two small.

Chocolate: about two handfuls. I only had 1 handful, since I just roughly chopped the leftovers from Rosie’s Christmas stash. You could use choc chips. My chocolate was plain, which I don’t usually like but it works well with the courgette

Method

Sift the flour, add the sugar. Grate your courgette(s) and chop your chocolate

Ready...set

Add the wet ingredients, and mix together to make a batter. (I didn’t photograph this because it was GROSS)

Then, add the courgette and chocolate. If there’s a lot of water in your courgette you might want to rest it in a sieve and gently push the water through. But mine was fine! Do you like how I managed to cover the disgusting looking batter with the yummy stuff?!

All that green has to make this healthy...right?

And then, mix well enough that all the courgette and chocolate is mixed into the batter. It seems to loosen it up a bit, which is good because it was quite stodgy.

Pour into a lined loaf tin (you could use a round sandwich tin, if you don’t have a loaf) and bake at 180C for 30 minutes (until golden brown)

It looks a bit weird...but I think that's ok

30 minutes later…hey presto!

Yummy!

I let mine cool in the tin for about 5 minutes, then transferred it to a wire rack. I’m excited to eat it!! I’m thinking it will be good warm, with vanilla ice cream. Will let you know!

-x-