• Marnie Hammar

On Being Overtaken


For this suburb dweller, the winding country roads I drove offered refreshing contrast to my side-walked, manicured normal, with their view of pastures peppered with cows and whitewashed farmhouses. One worn, frayed house in particular captured my attention. ⁠⠀

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Abandoned long ago, the home weathered enough wild years that an entire outside wall had become entangled with its neighboring tree. The tree, standing strong and thriving, had grown completely into the home, its branches and limbs poking inside the dining room walls so unapologetically that I could imagine them sitting down at the dining table, waiting to be served. ⁠⠀

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Initially, I see the house as being overtaken, as if the house had more claim to its purpose and structure than the tree. But perhaps the tree, with branches still growing and searching for space to spread wide, possesses rightful claim to the place the house holds. After all, the home is lifeless, abandoned, while the tree is full of life.⁠⠀

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This unusual arrangement spoke to me. Isn’t this picture of being overtaken exactly how I want the Holy Spirit to reside in my life? I desire the Spirit of God to reach into places in me that are otherwise empty, and take up residence in a home that’s otherwise void. Oh, I’ve certainly opened wide the door to invite in substitutes. I take inventory of the guest list I’ve made over the years, offering chairs to Achievement and Perfection and Control — I’ve given them far too prominent a place at the table. ⁠⠀

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I look again at this strong, beautiful tree, gently invading, beautifully overtaking this abandoned home’s rooms, and I see that with its presence, little space remains for anything else. ⁠⠀

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Lord, let it only be You that feels at home in me, that settles into the rooms of my soul.


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