It won't be long before the beautiful trees of these mountains are laid bare. To prepare the trees for new life, leaves once vibrant with color will fall away, decomposing on the ground to feed the soil their rich nutrients. Old things must die so that new things might be birthed. It's the cycle of life, "the old has gone, the new has come." In order for the new life to be awakened in us, the old life must be removed.
For years old things have held me captive. I have been stuck in the old way of thinking. Who I believed I was, who I believed God was and what I believed was expected of me, have all played a part in my captivity. Growing up in the church I was trained to consider all the things that a good soldier of the Lord was required to do and be. Life was about what I could and should do. "Should" drains the life out of living? Living in the "shoulds" of Christianity kills the heart of the relationship.
He came that we might have life and have it to the full. Was it really up to me to find that life? Or was it He that brought it to me? Was it my life lived out in attempts to please Him or was it His life lived out of me in my bankruptcy? Was it I who loved Him first or He who loved me first?
Papa God got out His pruning shears and one by one began to snip away the false beliefs I held about Him, and myself. What was it that He truly wanted from me? Who was I to Him? All He ever wanted with me was what I wanted with Him; love, true love.
He created me to love me. He wanted me to respond to that love. He wanted me to see what He saw in me. He wanted me to know His true heart. He wanted to be my strength and live His life through me. He would not rest until I saw what He saw.
About the same time in my life, my husband decided to cut back a shrub in our front yard. By the time he had finished, all that was left was a stump of empty branches. I thought surely he must have killed it. There was nothing left but the foundation of the plant. Was it possible it would ever again be filled with vibrant new life?
That shrub became a connection to my inner being. I felt as if limbs were being amputated. So much had to be clipped away to get to the foundation of my thinking. At times I didn't know who I was anymore. I felt like that shrub. Was there going to be anything left inside me when it was all over? I felt so dead and empty, were there any signs of life?
Week after week I watched that empty shrub for signs of life. It felt as if somehow we were enter twined. Maybe if new life sprang forth on it, I would see it in myself. I watched to see if it would survive the drastic pruning and live.
One day it finally happened. A tiny shoot of green burst out of one of the stubby branches. Tears streamed down my face as I saw it. It was a visual promise to me. Though I felt dead, life still invaded my body waiting to burst out. The seed of life indwelt me. Though I felt dead, I was still alive.
The Gardener prunes away all that is dead to make room for new life to emerge. It's nothing to fear. It's the way it was meant to be. Being laid bare is the preparation for new life. Pruning is the promise of a new beginning. A beginning of life as it was always meant to be.
It's out of love that the Gardener prunes us. He wants the light of His life to permeate our souls. Christ crucified bought us a new beginning, a new life. The slate is wiped clean, the old has gone, the new has come. The work has already been done, we now need to see it to live in it.
Being laid bare gives us the chance to have our perspective changed to see what He sees; who we were always meant to be. We are given the chance of a lifetime, fresh, beautiful, abundant new life. We can now be to be who we were always meant to be, as our eyes are opened we will see. It is then we become who He has always known us to be, His chosen and dearly loved.
The winds will come, the leaves will fall, trees will be laid bare to prepare for the promise of new life. As it is with the trees, so it is with us. For this is our promise. Pruning last but for a moment, but new life lasts a forever.
He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.
Here's a great song to listen to that goes along with this: Inside of Me©copyright: Julie L. Todd 2008