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A while back I received an email from Sharon*, a female reader in Atlanta. Even after many months, I still think about her message from time to time. It stuck with me for so many reasons.

Sharon recounted a night spent at just another party. She knew about half the people there and found herself off to the side chatting with a dear friend about nothing in particular. An admittedly attractive boy she’d never met walked by and mumbled something underneath his breath.

“Oh my gosh,” he mutters, “there are so many sequoias in here.”

Sharon looked at her friend, confused.

Sequoias?

Yes. Sequoias.

As in the trees.

Sharon, like me, had never heard this term before, nor could she fathom what it meant. Her friend explained it’s slang guys use to describe women who are exceptionally tall and single and independent. It’s meant to be derogatory. It’s meant to imply these women never marry. They’re undateable.

Sequoias.

Sharon surprised me with her response to this situation. In her own words:

I’m no arborist, but I have been to the Redwood Forest in California. I have seen the sequoias. Do you know what’s unique about sequoias?

They can weather through anything.
They outgrow all other trees around them.
They seed extraordinary amounts to perpetuate more sequoias.
They last.
They. Are. Beautiful.

I am a sequoia. And I always want to be a sequoia.

Sequoia

Sharon, there’s a reason your words have been echoing in my mind for so long. You’re a flashlight, shining light on the dark lies that try to infiltrate our minds through even the cutest delivery channels. And you are absolutely, spot-on correct.

There are so many mumbled phrases happening around us. So many cowardly, shortsighted ramblings. From the cute boy at the party, from the latest reality show craze, from the billboard in Times Square, from an unkind friend or family member.

They try to define who we are, and their definitions fall incredibly short of the promise that God has for each and every one of his children.

So if that’s you standing by as these lies are being hurled at you, I beg of you, don’t listen to a word of it.

Stand strong.

Like a sequoia.

The King of Kings created these kings of the forest. And all the wonder and awe they radiate is but a flicker compared to the immense possibility found in just one beat of your heart.

~Ruth

*Name changed to protect the privacy of this tall drink of water