Under the Juniper Tree
Updated: Dec 16, 2022
December 2021 was a very dark time for me. I was months into battling a deep depression after both losing our baby through a traumatic miscarriage and nearly losing my sister to a ruptured brain aneurysm. It felt like I was in a battle, trying to find answers, trying to make sense of what I was feeling and why I couldn't find a way out. Everything I believed in suddenly became abstract. I felt like I no longer stood on solid ground. I felt lost and in despair. Then guilt and shame followed when I couldn't just snap out of it.
It just wasn't me.
That year had been the best year of my life. Having my first child opened up this incredible joy inside of me, I felt like I was on top of the world before this. So living in this alternate reality felt unreal.
I picked up my devotional and read.
December 23rd 2021
"The journey is too much for you. (1 Kings 19: 7)
What did God do with Elijah, His tired servant? He allowed him to sleep and then gave him something good to eat. Elijah had done tremendous work and in his excitement had run “ahead of Ahab[’ s chariot] all the way to Jezreel” (1 Kings 18: 46). But the run had been too much for him and had sapped his physical strength, ultimately causing him to become depressed. Just as others in this condition need sleep and want their ailments treated, Elijah’s physical requirements needed to be met.
There are many wonderful people who end up where Elijah did—“under a juniper tree” (1 Kings 19: 4 KJV)! When this happens, the words of the Master are very soothing: “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” In other words, “I am going to refresh you.”
Therefore may we never confuse physical weariness with spiritual weakness.
I’m too tired to trust and too tired to pray, Said I, as my overtaxed strength gave way. The one conscious thought that my mind possessed, Is, oh, could I just drop it all and rest. Will God forgive me, do you suppose, If I go right to sleep as a baby goes, Without questioning if I may, Without even trying to trust and pray? Will God forgive you? Think back, dear heart, When language to you was an unknown art, Did your mother deny you needed rest, Or refuse to pillow your head on her breast? Did she let you want when you could not ask? Did she give her child an unequal task? Or did she cradle you in her arms, And then guard your slumber against alarms? Oh, how quickly a mother’s love can see, The unconscious yearnings of infancy. When you’ve grown too tired to trust and pray, When overworked nature has quite given way: Then just drop it all, and give up to rest, As you used to do on mother’s breast, He knows all about it— the dear Lord knows, So just go to sleep as a baby goes; Without even asking if you may, God knows when His child is too tired to pray. He judges not solely by uttered prayer, He knows when the yearnings of love are there. He knows you do pray, He knows you do trust, And He knows, too, the limits of poor, weak dust. Oh, the wonderful sympathy of Christ, For His chosen ones in that midnight tryst, When He told them, “Sleep and take your rest,” While on Him the guilt of the whole world pressed— You have trusted your life to Him to keep, Then don’t be afraid to go right to sleep. ~Ella Conrad Cowherd "
This is when Under the Juniper Tree was born. I just didn't know it yet. God was telling me to surrender trying to make sense of it all, release the thoughts in my logical mind, and find true rest, trusting that everything would be okay.
Resting and trusting.
Two things I had never been very good at.
But I surrendered it all.
Healing is painful. The process cuts you right open, exposing wounds you didn't even know existed. No one tells you that what initially triggers your healing journey isn't necessarily the only thing that will come up. It forces you to face all your demons. It's a journey not for the faint-hearted but leading to ultimate freedom; to newfound joy.
Finding rest was a crucial part of my healing. When I think about rest I think about removing a piece of heavy armor you're wearing, revealing your authentic self, unweighted, light, pure, and true; with all your uniqueness. Everyone's armor carries different characteristics and traits. Mine carried lots of expectations and roles. Expectations initially put on me by outward influences but which I continued putting on myself. Roles I believed I needed to fulfill in order to prove my value. While striving to please others and prove my worth, I learned that I was continually betraying myself; suppressing what I felt, who I am, and what I wanted. I wasn't living in alignment, and that's what weighed me down the most.
Removing this heavy armor helped me find true rest in who I was created to be.
I found something I call Soul Care, where REST as an acronym, is the map.
R - Release all expectations you have put on yourself or others have put on you
E - Emerge from your shell in true authentic freedom
S - See the world with a new lens. Honor this beautiful but fragile life with full presence
T - Take the beauty of what life has to offer you and run freely in it
Soul Care is finding what true rest means to you and when finding that place of stillness, tuning into your soul, your heart: God. You have all the answers within you. You have your soul, your true self, you have your heart which carries all of your desires, and you have God leading you to all of those desires through trust, rest in healing, and freedom to be authentically you. Exactly how he created you to be. This is what I found Under the Juniper Tree.
This is my story and what awakened my desire to help others find rest in their healing journey. I didn't fully understand deep depression until I experienced it. At the time I felt like I was the only one going through something like this. I felt isolated and alone, longing for some sort of understanding and guidance. Someone to relate to. Now I am here to serve others in just that way.
I sit here a year after my darkest times, 9 months pregnant about to welcome a new baby into this world, but also sharing my heart and vision for Under the Juniper Tree. As a certified mental health coach, trained in psychotherapy techniques, I offer a safe space to guide you in finding rest through your healing journey. In finding peace, hope, and joy again, and in living an intentional and authentic life.