In the Wake of Drought: What Remains

Spring speaks a different dialogue out here in the country. Its native tongue is the same: warmer days, sudden gusts of air like angels are breezing through, robes caught on branches then tugging free, chattersome birds competing for best lung and limb, dogs sunbathing and scratching their backs on the few stiff sprigs of dead grass leftover by winter. Though Spring bears such similarities every year, it still surprises and delights the delight-able. I want in the worst way to remain one of those.

 

Other things are new for me this year. New for me 6 miles from town. 17 miles from my small, man-scaped suburban yard of 27 years. The landscaping is mostly left to God out here and that makes it feel considerably riskier. Oh, I know it’s not. I know the right things to say. I’m just suggesting that it feels that way. For instance, He doesn’t appear all that adept at mowing and weed-eating and a bit more like Edward Scissorhands at limb trimming. His tools are mostly winds and rains.

 

Our area of the country experienced the worst drought in its history last Spring, Summer, and early Fall. Though we’ve had the enormous relief of winter rains, they tell us that this unwelcome desert-shroud has not lifted from us yet and will blanket us in our hot flashes for another half a year. We hope they are wrong. We so hope they are wrong.

 

My man was a servant of the land long before he had a single acre. He was formed by his Maker to be outside. He tends and frets and blesses and curses out there. He thinks and rethinks. He weaves and unravels. I don’t mean he’s a yardman. I can count the times I’ve seen him mow the yard on one hand. He’s an outdoorsman. He lives out there on the other side of the fence. He has paltry little taste for manicured gardens. He likes to fuss over things out there where only God can fuss with any consistent effectiveness.

 

Keith is a self-taught tree man who believes that earning your B.S. degree in anything of the least value begins with several years spent in nothing but pure appreciation. Melissa told me not long ago that he drove her up to a particular spot near here and gruffly said, “You see that sycamore over there?” She nodded because she did. “If that tree doesn’t move you…well, then, you’re an idiot.”

Vintage Keith Moore.

This is the top of the one he was talking about. It is a beautiful thing if you’re into trees. An iPhone is a pitiful way to capture it so don’t throw yourself into the idiot category too quickly. It may be a mood-thing.


Keith brought a bona fide, certified, countrified tree-man out here a few months ago to survey the damage of the drought. With his professional eagle eye, he pointed Keith toward a few trees that were clearly lifeless, bark splitting and branches as brittle as melba toast. “But for the most part you can’t really tell yet, Mr. Moore. Only Spring can say what survived.”

 

So, we’ve waited eight weeks to hear what Spring would say, hoping we’d understand its country twang.

 

Finally…

 

“I have good news and bad news,” Spring said. “Which do you want first?”

 

The bad news.

 

To vocalize its answer loud and clear, it borrowed the voices of four large chain saws this morning. I sat out on the front steps and listened but I wouldn’t have had to. I could have heard it just fine from inside the house but, then again, inside I might not have known which way to run in case a huge, dead oak came crashing down some unanticipated direction. I guess nobody really yells, “Timmmmm-berrrrrrr!” anymore because I haven’t heard it a single time and they’ve missed innumerable opportunities. What I have heard is a sound like the sudden cracking of lightening (only not quite so loud but quite more personal) followed by branches splitting and breaking and thuds so powerful, our pier and beam house jolts.

 

 

The carnage going on outside my house right now is so loud that I don’t know how you can hear me. I’ll try to talk louder.

SO, MR. SPRING, IS THERE ANY GOOD NEWS OUT THERE?

This time Spring didn’t use the sound of chain saws. This time it used a different kind of voice. At least I hope it did. And not with audible sounds but words of the heart. I’ll attempt to hang some vocabulary on it like miniature lights on long limbs but I don’t know if I’m getting it right. Here’s a meager shot at it:

 

1. The cutting away is painful but it can relieve considerable angst. Sometimes knowing for certain what is dead is better than wondering. “Well, now we at least know,” Keith, his parents, and I have said to one another. “If it’s dead and gone, let’s get it out of here,” I said to all three of them last night and they nodded. It is pointless to keep trying to resuscitate things God has killed…or permitted to die. I’m not talking about unspeakably sacred treasures like people. I’m talking about things. Like plans, works, efforts, castles, methods, accomplishments, goals, aspirations, positions, tenures, results. Sometimes God uses a fresh Spring to say, “That was a good thing. And it had some good life. But now it is dead. Let’s chop it down and use it for firewood. You’re wearing yourself out giving it CPR. It’s dead. Have a one-day memorial service and move on. You don’t have to understand why. I bring to life. I kill. I understand the cycle. You don’t. But, if it’s any encouragement, you will.”

 

There comes a time when it’s finally time to stop forcing things that don’t work. You know me better than to think I mean marriages. We’re talking things here. God alone can perform a resurrection and, notice, He usually chooses in His sovereign wisdom to keep dead things dead once they’re dead here on earth. That’s not so bad when you consider that we’re heading somewhere where nothing will die but death.

 

2. The cutting away of the dead is to make room for the living. “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine dresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit He takes away.” That thing we keep beating our bloody fists on is not bearing fruit. It’s taking up space where something else needs planting. Something that needs nurturing. Something that needs exposing to the sun. It’s in the way.

 

Crack. Break. Thud. Another one. Good grief. How many will there be?

 

Spring talks on…

 

3. Sometimes only a few limbs are dead. The tree is alive but it’s suffering, trying to hold onto dead weight. Let it go. Scoot out from under it and let it fall. And the rest of the tree will flourish again. You do not equal “it.” Stop defining yourself by what’s past. The Holy Spirit penned it this way in John 15: “Every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” The purpose for this massive cutting away of what is dead is to make room for what is alive. It is for our health. Not for our end.

 

“Abide in Me, and I in you,” He says.  

 

4. Some limbs are alive – barely – but they’re too strangled to sip from the tree. “As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” Catch the nuance in Galatians 3:3 – “Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?” I’ve tried that before. Have you? The limb is choking on a stubborn clot of flesh. Cough up the human means to a divine end, spit it as far as you can, and drink of the Tree of Life.

 

“Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit,” says the Lord of hosts. (Zech. 4:6)

 

5. Not every loss of something old is a crying shame. Just because it’s been there long and large doesn’t mean that it should stay. Keith’s parents lost a really big one. A painful one. A prime oak that loomed over their front yard like a giant flexing its muscles on twenty massive arms. In the tree-man’s own words, “That was a near perfect tree. Perfectly shaped.”

 

Crack. Break. Thud.

 

 

Sometimes things get to live a really long and wonderful life before they die. But perish the thought that, in their honor, we’d keep calling something alive that has long since breathed its last. If it is not cut down, it could tumble down and cause ten times the destruction. Traditional and eternal are not synonymous. Sometimes they coexist. Sometimes they conflict.

 

6. So much is alive. Sometimes only a cutting-away of what is dead can improve our view. In the words of Proverbs 29:18, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” (KJV) The tree man, a few days ago: “You were fortunate, Mr. Moore. You didn’t get hit nearly as hard as you could have. Look at all that made it.” It’s hard to tell right now with all the noise the dead is making, screeching and snapping it’s way to the ground but we know it’s true. And it’s obvious. By a long shot, most of the trees down the dirt road we share with our neighbors survived the drought. There is a birthing of every shade of green around us. Forest green, hunter green, apple green (minus the apple), sea green (minus the sea), lime green (minus the lime), shamrock green (do three-leaf clovers count?), and pine green (pines enough to count). But I’m partial. If I tilt my head the other way, it all just looks plain green.  But after the ugliest drought to ever hit the Gulf Coast, nothing is more gorgeous than green.

 

7. Not every dying thing is meant to be dead. If we are so distracted by what has died that we cannot see what is alive, we could risk losing the living. “Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die.” (Revelation 3:2) Hear that one more time: Strengthen what remains! It is still there on purpose. Nothing is haphazard here in the landscape of God. Nothing is as random as it seems. Though you thought less of it, look at its strength: it survived the worst drought in your history! Though you were parched, it stuck its tongue out at the drought and licked the dew. Thank God for it and tend to it before it dies from the quiet cancer of neglect.

 

8. Not everything that looks dead IS dead. Yesterday afternoon Keith and I stared at a big tree with bare limbs smack in the middle of our front yard, trying to figure out whether or not it had any hope. This morning as I sat on the front steps, listening to the discord of four chain saws, I looked up and saw tiny sprigs of life. It had budded overnight. While it was dark. Look closely now at the ends of those skinny branches.

 

 

9. Bare ground is not necessarily barren ground. Maybe it’s time to plant something brand new. Like a Redbud. The difference between growing a tad older and just plain getting-old can be the willingness to plant something brand new. Or be part of planting it anyway. Something almost from scratch. Like a Redbud, for instance. Or via the Holy Spirit through your son-in-law and daughter, maybe even a church. That sliver of sunlight isn’t a filter on my camera. It was natural light coming through the trees at the moment we walked by. It’s like God knew I was working on this post.

 

 

I know. It’s hard to see. Here’s the new plant closer up. And the shadow of yours truly next to it, just so you know this was personal.

 

As it turns out, I’ve spent this entire day with you at least in fits and starts. It’s evening now. Keith and I just got back from a stroll, down around his parents and back. It was the Chainsaw Massacre. But all that is sprouting around it seemed strangely oblivious. Just before we walked back into the house, Keith said, “What is that?” I stopped in my tracks. “Do you hear that chirping?” he said. I did and stood very still to listen. My man of 33 years grinned and said, “It’s baby birds. There’s a nest up there somewhere.” We held our hands over our eyes, squinted in the sunset, and tried to see sewn-together twigs in the shape of a bowl and the tiny fluttering feathers of happy hatchlings.

 

But we couldn’t see the birds for the leaves. Or the forest for the trees.

 

It’s Spring here in Houston. Spring after the worst drought in our history. Maybe you know how Houston feels. Lord, let this not be the mere middle of it. Make the forecasters false prophets but let them live all the same. Right or wrong, theirs is no final voice.

5   This is what the Lord says:

“Cursed is the one who trusts in man,

who depends on flesh for his strength

and whose heart turns away from the Lord.

6  He will be like a bush in the wastelands;

he will not see prosperity when it comes.

He will dwell in the parched places of the desert,

in a salt land where no one lives.

7   “But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,

whose confidence is in him.

8    He will be like a tree planted by the water

that sends out its roots by the stream.

It does not fear when heat comes;

its leaves are always green.

It has no worries in a year of drought

and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiahs 17:5-8 NIV

 

No worries?? Seriously?

 

That’s what it says.  The question for people of faith is not “Will I experience drought?” It’s “When will I experience drought?” And, when we do, how we will respond. Will we, for all practical purposes, die a needless spiritual death or will we strengthen what remains, plant something new in Jesus’ Name, and dig our roots deeper toward the stream? Feeling a tad dry? Go deeper. Trust God. Do NOT fear. The drought will pass and, even though the mightiest trees around you may wither or fall, you may cease for a while to have fun, but you will not cease to bear fruit.  I don’t know about you but, if for a little while life’s not fun then, Lord help me, at least let there be fruit!

 

“They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.”  Isaiah 61:3 NIV

 

 

 

I love you guys so much.

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356 Responses to “In the Wake of Drought: What Remains”

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Susie says:

    Awesome and timely! Thanks

  2. 2

    Oh Beth! Wow. Thank you for that… I will need to read it at least 3 more times to absorb it all. I love a post that makes my brain hurt.
    So glad you are home. You were missed in twitter land and most of all on the blog.

  3. 3

    That’s a lot to chew on, Siesta Mama!! I think as women we hate to let go and admit that it’s time to let go…. we tend to linger too long and water….The pruning process is painful because I have to look within and admit that I’m in need of some serious chopping…. Praying that I will have a heart that is firmly rooted in Him…

  4. 4
    Marie says:

    Dearest of Siesta Mammas,

    “If it’s dead and gone, let’s get it out of here.”

    How like God to time it so that this post would be up today and I would read that sentence. I have to go in and get my gallbladder removed this evening – something I was pushing for only hours ago but am now anxious about. Reading your words, I sensed God saying, “It doesn’t work. Get it out of there.”

    I’ll be reading a lot of Scripture today – and I would CERTAINLY appreciate the prayers of Siestaville! But I will stand (more like lay down) on the promise that my Lord is here and that He has saved, is saving and will continue to save me – even from a rotten gallbladder.

  5. 5
    Rene Thompson says:

    Welcome home, sweet Beth. Thank you.

  6. 6
    Jo Ann says:

    This is very encouraging. Thank you for sharing this lesson from your tree-trimming day. I want to go deeper and trust God and NOT fear! I have been lamenting dead stuff in my life but God has been faithful in keeping me and teaching me. I’ve been kind of strengthening what remains without realizing that’s what I was doing, but it seems like so little, I really get sad. But when I think of the Lord’s presence in my life, then I’m really not sad anymore. And all the many beautiful and dear things the Lord gives all day long. You covered it in this post and I found it so encouraging I will want to read it again. Thank you for taking the time to share these thoughts.

  7. 7
    Lucy says:

    Thank you . . .

  8. 8
    Amy says:

    Beth, that was beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing. I struggle so much with letting things go but need to realize it leaves room for new things.

  9. 9
    Karene says:

    Wow, Beth. You have given me so much to ponder. I’m blown away at the appropriate timing. I need to sit with this post and the Lord for a long time. Bless you for sharing with us what the Holy Spirit places on your heart. It is sooooo good to hear from you again! (Welcome back from Australia; can’t wait for an update.)

  10. 10
    Amy Beth says:

    It’s about time you came home.

  11. 11
    Susan B. says:

    What a wonderful message. As I finish reading it with tears in my eyes, this is playing on K-Love:

    You make beautiful things,
    You make beautiful things…out of the dust.

    Amen…may it be so in my life.

  12. 12
    Barby says:

    Your post is soooo long and I love it!! I was so eager when I read it- to go back with pencil and paper and jot down the scriptures and take notes. It’s very timely for what is going on in our families life. Thank you Beth!

  13. 13
    Michele says:

    Beth, Thank you so much.
    We love you, too!

  14. 14
    FloridaLizzie says:

    Thank you, Siesta Mama! For all of us pondering dry seasons, pruning times, cutting away what’s dead, strengthening what remains, and planting new things in life, that was a great demonstration of what God’s Word says on those issues. Thanks for sharing your own reflections, words, pictures and applications, and we’re so glad you are back!

  15. 15
    Paula says:

    Welcome back and thanks for sharing! I’m smack dab in the middle of James right now and it called to mind, “The sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed.”
    Can’t wait for Kansas City!! See you there!

  16. 16
    fuzzytop says:

    You’re back!!! This makes me so very happy!

    This post really spoke to me. For the last few days I’ve found myself doing some mental spring cleaning – I’ve been holding onto some plans, wishes and dreams and I think it is time for them to go, and to be replaced by a new thing. Not because they are bad – they’re just not, I think, God’s plan for me right now. It’s hard though.

    Much love and hugs,
    Adrienne

  17. 17
    Lisa says:

    What a beautiful post and so powerful to me in this season of my life as my young family is in a financial drought season right now but we are starting to see signs of hope and newness and fuitfulness of waiting with God and in God during these hard barren few months. I loved the beautiful analogies and pictures and I thank God for you Beth and the powerful words you share with us that draw us closer in our walks with God. You are such a blessing in my life!

  18. 18
    Betty Marschner says:

    I have lived on a farm/ranch in ND all my life. My parents were farmers before I married one ( I once said I would NEVER do this)! My year of urban living in Mpls to be exact brought me right back to the praires of ND. Here you worship every tree! I babied a red maple through an ice storm when it broke down. Then it came back nicely and my daughter drove over it when mowing the lawn one year. Dunno how she did it when I had how many fence posts around it but it is a known fact around here do not let her lose on the mower if you cherish your life! There is so much of scripture when you live in the country, when I plant my garden I always remember so many of Jesus’ parables. I always admire my guys optimisim for the next year being great after a hail storm has pounded every fragment of life outta the crop of great promise. It takes great faith to believe that God will provide when the crop has withered away and you have land payments to make and nothing to sell. I see grown men crying like babies when the best ole cow dog we ever had dies and we need to dig a grave. I cried like a baby when my best mare foaled and the foal died. Afew hours later when I left her out of her stall she reached back and licked my hand something she never has done before. She was thanking me for the many sleepless hours I spent trying to get the foal to eat. Then she took out of the barn with her tail high and the most beautiful lofty trot I ever saw. There is much beauty inspite of the harshness in life and you have described it well Dear Beth. From what I know and love of you this country living will do you right well. Love always and welcome back I have missed you alot! Betty

  19. 19
    Ashley Mays says:

    I love this and definitely needed to hear it today! Have a question, though. How do you really know if it’s dead or just looking dead? How do you know when to back off?

    For example, I’ve been writing for the last ten years or so working towards publication. But I feel like I’m hitting a wall right now, and have been for some time. How do I know I’m not just fighting for my own dreams when I should really let go?

  20. 20
    Patty says:

    This has to be one of my favorite posts you have ever written. It spoke to my heart in so many ways. Right now or since this month began, life ceased at being fun. We almost lost both parents and trying to care for them in the present and long term has drained us.Many other losses in our family this month that seemed to come out of nowhere yet we have seen the hand of God and His goodness. I am thankful that when life ceases to be fun, or for this season God chooses a drought, that we can still bear fruit. Thank you Jesus. Thank you for taking us with you as you wrote this post. Love you!

  21. 21
    Melissa Ford says:

    Thank you Beth. Glad you are back home safe and sound.

  22. 22
    Margot says:

    Thank you for this post, Beth! I needed to hear this today. Your points put words to what I’ve been feeling related to infertility. It’s time for me to really get busy memorizing scripture again! And about this spring… the winter rain has been so wonderful and the spring green is so refreshing!

  23. 23
    Dana says:

    How beautiful…I’m so glad you’re back. I’m sure the people in Australia were wonderfully fed by you, Siesta Mama, but it’s just time you’re back home with us siestas. I love Spring, too. I was in the mountains of East Tennessee this past weekend with a group of girls and ladies for a retreat and the fresh green grass and trees everywhere were so beautiful and dogwoods and redbuds were blooming in abundance. It was a most beautiful trip in so many ways.

    Thanks for sharing and welcome home!

  24. 24
    Wendy says:

    beautiful. thank you. 🙂

  25. 25
    Missy S says:

    Love this post, Beth! Like a breath of fresh air to my soul! I’ve been reading Mark Buchanan’s Spiritual Rhythm about the seasons we go through with God, and it just so happens that I’m in Spring. Last year was all winter and so I waited until I could see the first glimpses of Spring to read that part of his book.

    I tend to agree with Keith – I have never understood how anyone could look at the majesty of trees and not believe in Elohim. I told my husband just the other day, “The crookedness of tree branches is proof that the earth and everything in it was formed by a Creator God. You see, if I had been the one to create trees, all the branches would have been neat, uniform, and BORING. But, there’s beauty in the crookedness!” Isn’t He wonderful?!

  26. 26
    Patty says:

    Loved this post ~ I think the tree is beautiful!

  27. 27
    Redeemed says:

    I can hardly type for the tears in my eyes and the lump in my throat. My husband and I are smack dab in the middle of a spiritual drought (Between The Rains!!), having recently walked away from a ministry position that had beat the thunder out of us, shaken our faith in God’s people (they can be so MEAN-SPIRITED sometimes!) and left us mourning the loss of our purpose. Or so we thought……

    Thank you. I’m going to show this to my husband. It’s time for us to move on, let it go, and let God grow something new in us.

  28. 28
    rebecca says:

    beautiful post. thank you.

  29. 29
    Darcy says:

    Oh my. Tears. The drought has been so evident in my life of late, but the hope comes knowing Spring brings hope. Each one of your Spring voices spoke some much needed truths into my current drought. Time to plant something new. Thanks for your faithfulness to the One who is faithful to us all – bearing fruit. Much love to you and yours, Darcy

  30. 30
    Charity says:

    This might be one of my favorite posts you’ve ever written. Thank you. Although in some ways, it’s not super duper relevant at this point in my life, it definitely speaks to past things I’ve experienced. And not only that, I know without a doubt that it will be a life-line for me in the future, as I embark on a whole new journey of moving to Africa in a few months. I linked it on my blog just so I can remember these truths and have a link back to it in time of need!

  31. 31
    Meredith says:

    Thank you for this! It was a precious gift!

    I love you, too.

  32. 32
    Linda says:

    Welcome home, Beth. It’s so good to hear from you again. I’m sorry for the loss of your trees. The city took away our only huge 100+-yr tree this spring. I know I’ll miss its green, and its thick slanting trunk. I haven’t quite known how to feel about it, actually. A part of me wants to grieve; a part of me wants to honor its passing with dignity. At the risk of sounding trite, it reminds me a bit of reading of Moses’ death the other day. I’m sad all over again that he died, even though we all knew it was coming; yet at the very same time I teared up at God’s sweetness to him to the very end, and for the legacy he left. Dignity. Grace. A life well lived. And then there was Joshua…. Welcome to the Moore family, little Redbud!

  33. 33
    Chesney Crouch says:

    Read through this unto sobbing alone in my dorm room. Jesus really is calling out to us…and His words to me this morning have filled my treasuries (Proverbs 9). Shouts of joy are bursting forth from my heart this morning, for He who calls us to cut off whats dead, also leads us into abundance. All glory and praise is rightly His!

  34. 34
    Carole Dale says:

    Andrew Murray’s book “Abide in Christ” which is the book I’m currently reading, speaks strongly to and supports the thoughts you share in your blog. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on Spring & nature. Causes me to view the ocean which I am currently viewing from a beach chair as another testimony of God’s strength and beauty. I came to your blog for the first time to leave a message for Melissa. I am in the process of finishing James and have been so challenged and taught by her “next level” additions to the study. Thank you both for studying so diligently and challenging us to live our lives in His presence and in his Word. Melissa definitely has her Mother’s gift of teaching. I hope we hear regularly from her as well.
    May God bless & rest you both!!
    Carole Dale
    PS I am currently memorizing James. I took my cue from you, Beth. As I get ready for work each morning I memorize James while I also put on my make-up and do my low impact aerobics. It’s quite a sight…. =)

  35. 35
    Christy says:

    I can testify that I am at least one person that God wanted you to reach with this message. Poignant and beautifully written, but most importantly it’s filled with such scriptural truth. This will be one I save in my prayer journal and reflect back on often.

    Thanks Beth!

  36. 36
    Juli says:

    Perfect. Just what I needed to hear.

  37. 37
    Helen Wall says:

    Than you Beth for such a timely message! The Lord has been dealing with some dead branches and trees in my life and as I have surrendered He has been able to cut them away and release me to grow in other areas!! Blessings to you this spring! May life burst forth with many surprises!!

  38. 38
    Carole Dale says:

    Another PS: I slow the aerobics , (actually “Walk away the pounds”) way down when i am putting on my eye make-up.:0)

  39. 39
    Casey says:

    I have had a heck of a time in our yard after last summer too. I have been out there for days trying to salvage what I could. As I was pruning a tree that is really struggling to make it. I noticed the entire top of it was dead. I started pruning…and was reminded how badly it hurts, to be pruned. How each time God has pruned me I have bled and cried, and then grown. This post reminds me of so much of needing (like nothing else) to get rid of what is dead…and allowing growth. Many of those same verses rolled through my mind as snipped away. I am very aware I am in a stage of pruning (the James study a very large part of that) and while I know it hurts. I want it. I want the spring…Glory!

  40. 40
    Crystal says:

    Missed you and prayed for you Siesta Mama! Can’t even begin to describe the depths of this post touching my soul. May God bless you and may He make the Words come to life in my heart daily!

  41. 41
    Sandy Bowers says:

    Welcome home Siesta Mama! So happy your trip was so meaningful and that you and AmandaMoJo made it home safe and sound (!?) We missed you around Siestaville. Wanted to say that this post put me into thinking/pondering mode. You can tell Mr. M. for me that the Sycamore is gorgeous – even through the lens of an IPhone.
    I have to admit, though,that I was a little nervous when you started talking about the “cutting away of the dead” and “That was a good thing. And it had some good life. But now it is dead.” I was afraid maybe you were referring to the blog – YIKES – but after reading the entire post, I feel much better. And much reminded of what I need to do in my life (and my spiritual life) to keep things alive and thriving.
    Thank you, Mama Beth, again for being a ray of light in this sometimes, dry, dark and scary world. I love you sweet thing and hope to meet you one of these days. Blessings and hugs dear one.

  42. 42
    Katherine says:

    Thank you for this today. My daughter is about to “un-study” her way out of private school into public school, and her father and I are in the midst of this struggle. Is this circumstance dead wood, or does it just need pruning to still live? Are we continuing to water roots that are dead – should we plant her in another plot of land? I will be studying and praying over your post in the coming days to gain guidance and wisdom from the Father. Thanks again.

  43. 43
    oceanmommy says:

    I am going face to the floor with my iPad now. You have no idea how timely this post is. Just a few hours ago a phone call confirmed what I have suspected in a loved ones life for several years. Depression. It has been a long winter. I heard the relief in that precious voice just having an answer. We are fighting this battle on our knees, face in the Word and believe today is the beginning of a new season.
    This verse was what I was journaling about before I logged in to read your post.

    Song of Solomon 2:11-12 for behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth the time for singing has come…

    I love how faithful and tender our God is….

    Thank you for being His mouthpiece to me today!
    Stephanie

  44. 44
    Kim B. in Az says:

    Welcome home. Your words are so timely. The vine and the branches has been coming up in several places in my life. Along with studing James. So yep God is speaking to me. All of it, though, leave with one question. What? Not as in are you kidding kind of what but a wanting to know the subject of the thing. I know the how from the verses and all. Just not sure of the what. Not sure this makes sense to anyone but me. Sorry about that. I just don’t know how else to put it.

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    Tatia Cook says:

    Oh, how you were missed, Beth! So good to hear from you and to learn some life lessons from the trees in your yard 🙂 Hears hoping that the redbud thrives and blooms that beautiful purple color I see all over my home state of Virginia (of course…they’re eastern redbuds, but surely they can make it in Texas!) Welcome back!

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    Carol fromThe Woodlands says:

    As a fairly new resident of The Woodlands, TX, I can appreciate everything you’ve written about the drought and the awakening spring. Truly God is bringing beauty right before our eyes.

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    Andrea says:

    I cannot even begin to tell you how profoundly this affects me. ‘Sometimes knowing for certain what is dead is better than wondering.’ Amazing. Praying so desperately for hopeful eyes to see new life budding on the branches that remain…

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    “Though you thought less of it, look at its strength: it survived the worst drought in your history!”

    This sentence alone spoke volumes to me today. I can’t wait to share your post with my husband because it will speak to him too. Blessings, Beth…this is beautiful.

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    Barbara Schwarz says:

    My husband and I have been out this morning cutting down and piling wood. (I wish my 6 yr. old grandson had been here to see and hear the “big one” go down!) A few days ago I trimmed down our rose bushes, our crabapple is in full bloom, as are violets, daffodils and tulips. The problem – it’s still March in Wisconsin! This is typically still “winter” despite what the calendar says. So most of us worry about our next end of season winter blast and will it kill or damage what is prematurely blooming and budding. Time will tell but in the meantime the hint of green around us so early in the year is a welcome sight. “He hath made every thing beautiful in his time..” Eccl. 3:11a KJV Including us – Praise the Lord!

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    Susan Smith says:

    Beth. Last week, we acknowledged the first year anniversary of the sudden death of my 22 year old nephew. This last year has been hard. Through it all, praise Him, we have all clung to our faith and to our God. On the anniversary of Andy’s death, my friendship calendar for that day, March 21, read: “See! The winter is past, the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come.” (Song of Solomon 2:11-12 NIV)

    Now, I know you were not talking about the loss of a loved one in your post, but most things I read or hear this past year has, of course, made me reflect upon its connection to the death of my baby sister’s oldest child. And so did this post. Because in the midst of our suffering the past year, we all recognized some parts of us that needed pruning; received pruning; or just plain needed to die. My brother-in-law says he is a “kinder and gentler” man now; my sister says she is aware of everyone and everything around her now, and is so much more sensitive to the emotions and pain and joy she sees in them; of course we all cling more tightly to precious moments and precious people God has blessed us with; I had to let go of my need to control and focus more on what really matters.

    Last week, my sister and I discussed the “season of singing has come.” Not in those exact words, but certainly in the context of moving forward in figuring out how we were all going to live the rest of our lives without this incredible young man walking along with us. Spring seemed like the perfect time to begin to figure it out.

    Thanks, Beth. You are loved by us.

    Susan

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