Friday, May 3, 2019

Where's Your Cherry Tree?


Hello, friends! It’s springtime and I absolutely love the blooming flowers and trees, birds singing and warmer weather. Next to autumn, it’s my second favorite season. This time last year, I was celebrating the release of my debut novel, Secret Past. As I was reminiscing, I came across this post. 

Where’s Your Cherry Tree first appeared on Seekerville April 23, 2018. I’ve updated it for this special occasion with you, but the message reminded me, I’ve still got some cherry trees to work through. Let me explain…

Last spring, my son and I were chatting in the garage while he worked on his car. A robin flew in through one of the open garage doors. The poor flustered bird kept trying to get out through the closed side window. 

I opened the other garage door to help Mr. Robin with his exit options. It didn’t work.

Even though we had two huge wide-open doors, he was determined to fly out through a closed window instead. Now, in all fairness, there was a cherry tree on the other side of the window. Perhaps Mr. Robin entered the garage with the cherry tree in his sights to begin with? I’m not sure, and he didn’t offer an explanation. Truthfully, I can’t blame the bird. The tree looked appealing, and he was taking the shortest route. Mr. Robin’s focus on that tree had him undeterred, and no matter what we did to convince him the garage doors were a far better option, he remained target-locked on the tree on the other side of the window. 

Mr. Robin thunked against the glass a couple of times, and I knew he’d break his feathery neck if we didn’t intervene with more than a pep talk. My son gently moved toward the bird so as not to scare the creature more. And the strangest thing happened. 

Up to that point, I’m not sure the bird realized we were there. 

He had a goal, after all. And it wasn’t until my son got closer that Mr. Robin acknowledged his presence, refocusing the bird’s attention. In an effort to get away from my son, Mr. Robin turned and what do you know? He spotted the open garage doors where his freedom beckoned on the other side.

Mr. Robin needed some help. He was headed toward the right thing; the tree was good for him, but he needed to change direction to get there. Once Mr. Robin got a new view, he saw the open door, and made his way out of the garage safely. 

Something about that day has stuck with me because I too have a cherry tree. The thing I’m target-locked on. Maybe you have it too? An agent? A book contract? Financial freedom from debt? A promotion? A baby? I think many of us have cherry trees and they can look very different, but the goal is the same, get the THING. 

I’ve been called a control freak, and it used to bother me. Now, I realize it’s rather accurate. I prefer to be in control because I hate being out of control or being under someone else’s control. So, if I’m in control, I’m not taken by surprise, hurt, disappointed, or anything else unpleasant. But control is an illusion, a state of mind that keeps us hidden behind the real problem…fear.

Are we afraid that we won’t get that thing? The agent? The book contract? The promotion? The baby? So, we face our fear with a take-control-pre-planning attitude, forgetting a huge part of the creative equation…God.

The problem is, controlling everything doesn’t require faith. Like Mr. Robin, I have my cherry tree: the thing I’m so focused on obtaining that I forget God might have another plan. He sees the whole picture, not just the tree on the other side of the window glass.

When I forget God is in this with me and my attention is supposed to be on Him, I get distracted and keep bonking my head against the window trying to get to my cherry tree. The more frustrated I get, the harder I try to control, and I end up exhausted, angry, on the edge of bitterness with a headache, and flat ready to give up.

Aren’t we all like that at times? We’re told to keep our eyes on the prize, go for the goal, no pain, no gain…so we keep pushing and aiming and going…and still we don’t attain the prize regardless of the best laid plans. Are we in the waiting room or going about it the wrong way?

Please know I’m all for giving your dreams one hundred percent of your effort. If you’re writing, don’t hold back. Dive in. Dig deep into the story. Absolutely, we need to be doing all those things, but a beautiful aspect of being human is that we have God’s help, if we want it. If we accept it. 

Just like my son was near Mr. Robin watching him wear his little feathers out, God is standing right there beside us, watching us wear ourselves out, and all the while waiting for us to say, we need Him. As soon as I refocus and remember He’s with me in the mission, He shows me the better way. The wide-open garage door I totally missed, because I was trying to do it my way.

I wish I could tell you that I don’t have those control issues anymore, but that’d be a lie. Especially when those things I’m trying to control are near and dear to my heart or involve the most vulnerable parts of my life. 

I’m learning after a lot of headaches from beating my head against the glass, that when I’m most frustrated, it’s probably because I need to refocus and listen for God’s instruction for the way He’s leading me.

Which brings me to my book, Secret Past, and my heroine, Katie Tribani. Katie has control issues when she learns the “truths” she’s believed her entire life are lies. Her world is torn apart by the loss of her mother, a handsome stranger, and the truths many people are telling her. She must decipher the truth from the lies before someone kills her. Like Katie, you and I have a real enemy determined to destroy us, but we also have God’s truth leading us into freedom.

What about you? What’s your cherry tree? Have you struggled with trying to get to it? Or have you found a way to strive hard and achieve your goals? What would you say to someone you saw beating their head against the window?

Colorado native Sharee Stover lives in Nebraska with her real-life-hero husband, three too-good-to-be-true children, and two ridiculously spoiled dogs. A self-proclaimed word nerd, she loves the power of the written word to ignite, transform, and restore. Her Christian romantic suspense stories combine heart-racing, nail-biting suspense and the delight of falling in love all in one.  She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America and Nebraska Writer’s Guild. Sharee is a two-time Daphne du Maurier finalist and the winner of the 2017 Wisconsin Fabulous Five Silver Quill Award. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, crocheting and long walks with her obnoxiously lovable German Shepherd.

Visit her at

 She’s not who she thinks she is

With gunmen at her doorstep, Katie Tribani learns her true identity. She’s been in witness protection since childhood, and now her crime-lord father has found her.  As bullets fly, US marshal Daniel Knight whisks her to safety—but not for long. Captured and held prisoner, only Katie can unearth her secret past…if she can survive long enough.


  1. Sharee, you're post struck a cord with me. I'm a control freak, too. By trying to control every aspect of my world, I feel as if I can somehow control the outcome. But more and more lately, I'm learning, by trying to be in control, I'm hindering God's blessings for my life. I'm slowly learning to get out of God's way and let him take control. Loved your post. Thanks so much for sharing it.

  2. Sharee, such a great post and wonderful message. I have been that bird too many times. Yes, I like to be in control, but when I turn everything over to God my life goes much more smoothly. The Lord always knows what I need and when I need it.


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