Saturday, February 21, 2009

Consuming Fire Burns The Land

     Several years ago I first uttered the prayer; “God, remove the tares from my life and make me the finest of wheat.”  I didn’t know what I was asking.  I only knew I wanted to be cleansed of any baggage that kept me from living in intimacy with Him and with others.


       He put that prayer on my heart.  It was His invitation to my healing.  In the years since, He has been exposing the decay hidden away, not only in my life, but my husband’s.  It has been like a domino effect.  After all, in a marriage, one person’s stuff does affect the other.


       I spent years putting unattainable demands on myself and my husband.  Seeking love and value, I have allowed my feelings to rule me.   I have sought value not only in my performance, but other’s actions as well.  I have looked to David to rescue me from my pain.  It’s not possible.  My demands for intimacy, which he could not meet, have left him with words of failure.


       My husband on the other hand, has lived to please.  Seeking love and value,  he has allowed his feelings to rule him.  If he can just keep people happy maybe they won’t be disappointed in him.  Maybe somehow he will deserve their love.  He lived so long trying to please others that he lost himself in the process, leaving him emotionally and physically detached.  His detachment has spoken abandonment, disinterest and rejection.  


       We have fed each other’s pain , completely unaware.  Life has been unstable.  Our choices have been costly.


       We entered our marriage battered and wounded, yet oblivious to the fact.  We played into each other’s pain without even knowing it, reinforcing lies.  We can never recover the years.  I have been mourning the loss.


      Jesus began to speak to my soul.  “Jewel, I will restore to you the years the locusts have eaten”.   “Remember the forest fires.”  I knew  He was inviting me to reflect on a teaching I heard in 2004.  In remembering I believed He would unveil His heart amidst the ashes of the life I’ve lived.

      

     Trees grow so tall in the forest that they overshadow the soil, keeping vegetation from growing, leaving  animals in need of food.  It’s as if the heavens declare it’s time for cleansing as most fires start with a lightening strike.   As the fire ignites the forest floor it cleanses away debris, insects, disease, and excess wood, preparing for new life.


      Even the pine cone tells a story.  Made with resin covering over it’s outer shell, hidden away inside are fruit bearing seeds.  As the fire burns away the resin, the pine cone pops open allowing it’s new seedlings to expel onto the cleansed ground.


        The ash left behind fertilizes the soil.  Once the land settles down from it’s cleansing, the vegetation comes in stronger and more luscious.  The cycle of life has had it’s way, clearing away to prepare for a more nourishing fruit.


        As I reflect, He speaks, “I must burn away the chaff, Jewel”   You are being consumed by Me.”  “As I consume you, the disease that surrounds your heart and mind is burned away.”  “Debris is being removed.”  “Beauty will explode.”  I’m preparing the soil, sweet Jewel, for a more nourishing fruit.”  “Beauty is being exchanged for ashes.”


        Yes, Jesus, but the years that are gone.  We can never have them back.  So many years, Jesus.  “Jewel, a day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as a day with Me.”  


        Death and life once again intermingle.  As I mourn, I also rejoice.  The consuming fire of His love is clearing the land.    Beauty is replacing the ashes, a garment of praise will replace our heaviness.  The steadfast love of my God never ceases, His mercies never come to an end.  They are new every morning.  


      A new morning is breaking forth.  He is overwhelming us with His love.   His restoration isn’t one that can be measured by time. The ground is being prepared, the life inside awaits.    The ashes will fertilize the soil for a rich, nourishing fruit.  Beauty will replace our ashes.  My mourning is turned to dancing as I consider, a new day is dawning on our horizon.


     “His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire."  Matthew 3:12

©copyrighted:  2009  Julie L. Todd

16 comments:

Sita said... Reply to comment

Julie,
You obviously have the gift of teaching--this is masterfully done and is a lesson God is teaching me. Your illustrations helped me to more deeply grasp the process. Thank you.

LisaShaw said... Reply to comment

Thank you for sharing your heart and all the ways God is moving in your lives.

Bless you Julie.

Hannah said... Reply to comment

Mom
You are a fabulous writer and you have an amazing way with words
You and Dad have worked through a lot and it's awesome to see where God has taken ya'll
Love you!

Laura said... Reply to comment

I have never seen any beauty in a forest fire until I read your words. But that is what His love does, doesn't it? It burns away all that chaff. It can be painful, it can burn...but the beauty in the ashes! That is you, Jewlz! Beautiful.

We saw some signs of spring today, and my darkness is lifting! I'm breathing deeply, singing, loving life.

Love you, friend.

Laura

Amy said... Reply to comment

Julie,

Your words are beautiful music to my soul.

All the exposing and removing of tares has been more than worth it!! I wouldn't be the woman I am today without the pain of being sifted.

The Lord knows what He's doing with each of our lives...He is SO good!

Thank you, Julie, for sharing your heart. It is such a gift to
have a friend like you.

Love you,
Amy

Tea With Tiffany said... Reply to comment

Hey Julie!

Loved this as always! Loved the pinecone part.

I see God's design in the forest fires too. I've often told Derek as we drive past the burnt parts of the Colorado mountains that the ashes go back down and offer the soil rich nutrients. I always say this is God's design for the forest. The fire is necessary to create ash. And yes, then comes new life and beauty!

I'm excited again about your writings. We definitely see life through a similiar lens. I feel like God is teaching me much about the chaff and what is to remain. Oh, the painful process.

I feel like dancing! :)


Love you,

Tiffany

ktwalden said... Reply to comment

Julie, your testimonies always bless my heart. I know your words of praise and adoration for your Papa are a "sweet, sweet sound in His ears"...as the song says. Thank you for opening your heart so that others may be blessed by your words.

Crown of Beauty said... Reply to comment

Dear Julie,
You have written about what Craig Hill teaches in Ancient Paths. Have you ever gone through one of these life changing seminars? I have shared in my blog a little bit of the healing that God worked in my life when God brought me to past areas of emotional wounding and believing lies implanted by the enemy.

Your post for today is just so beautiful. About the forest fires, about the pine cone... it is so true. Thanks for the way you can paint pictures with your words!

And I wanted to tell you that the pictures you posted of your children are so lovely... they are all so precious!

Gail W. said... Reply to comment

Julie, this is a beautiful post that leaves me praising God for all He does and uses us to do. I remember a season in my life when I prayed, "Lord, break me" and He did. (Remind me not to ask for that again anytime soon:) Yes, our Father will bless you and your marriage because of your search for wholeness. Thank you for your words of kindness in my crazy week!

Amy said... Reply to comment

Julie, I always receive a blessing by visiting here. So much has happened in my life in the last 2 months. I can relate to what you felt. You have ministered to me today. I just wanted to say thanks. Blessings.

Rose said... Reply to comment

Dear Julie,
Thank you for writing this beautiful post. It's exactly where I am, and your words offer the hope I needed to hear. I know the Lord is doing a work in my life (and my husband's), but I often get stuck on the years that are gone that we can't get back, like you said, so many years, Jesus.

I'm always blessed by your posts. I found your blog through SelahV, another blogger who has blessed me with her writing.

God bless you, Julie.

Tracy said... Reply to comment

Rejoicing in this work of our Lord in the lives of you and David at this time. I was so excited to see you quote "and I will restore to you the years the locusts have eaten..." We can know this to be true. Praise God! So beautifully shared from your heart, dear one. Thank you. Such encouragement to mine tonight.

Thank you for your kind prayers for my surgery. My recovery is going very well. God is so good!

Blessings,
Tracy

Daniel said... Reply to comment

I enjoy getting a glimpse into the lessons others are being taught by God.

Sometimes the tendency is to think that God has a specific way of maturing us but when I look at stories like your it makes me understand how versatile God really is.

He does things specific to our needs and our history.

Nice post. Well written.

Gretchen said... Reply to comment

This really speaks to me, Jewel. I've been wrestling a lot with God. And He's been pruning me. And He still loves me, and I still love Him. But it's not easy. Still...He's much bigger than "easy".

Liz said... Reply to comment

wow!
another brilliant post.

as I said to you recently Julie, you truly are gifted.

Sarah said... Reply to comment

So beautiful....I love the pictures of the forest....and the idea of just simply... Consumed.
love you and praying for you as you go through the process of goodbye to your father.
sarah