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.

Share

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

If you'd like your own pic by your comment, go to Gravatar.com. Click the first button "Get your gravatar today ->", and it will walk you through a simple process to select a picture.

Comments:

  1. 51
    Warm in Alaska says:

    You’re so right, Beth. Fruit over fun. ‘Course, I’m always up for fun, but you’re right (and God’s right), it’s the fruit that counts. Thank You, Jesus.

  2. 52
    Ashley says:

    W. E. L. C. O. M. E. H. O. M. E.

    You were SO missed. The post and the pictures are beautiful.

    Thank you, Siesta Momma.

    I can’t wait to curl up and read this one again…

  3. 53
    Kendra says:

    Thanks Beth, for blessing us this day by using your God given gift of putting pen to paper and letting it speak lessons in Jesus’ name and for His glory!

  4. 54
    Brittany says:

    Wow. This is powerful and so fitting. I have some dead limbs and it’s time to cut them off

  5. 55
    Dawn says:

    This is an awesome blog. Well worth the time it take to read.

  6. 56
    Monica Blankenship says:

    I have no words to express how fitting this is in my life and so many lives of people I love. I shared!!!!

  7. 57
    HalofromSUE says:

    Hello Dear Sister Beth,

    This is my first post to you. I just finished reading your WONDERFUL book “So long Insecurity” and it has transformed my life forever! Thank you! If you’d like, someday I’ll sit and type to you what really happened to me from reading your book. Life changing to say the least 😉

    Also, thank you for this wonderful blog.

    I remember many years ago thinking of the scripture in the bible that tells us to rejoice in the midst of trials.(Romans 5:3 is one of them)
    I asked the Lord, “how can I be happy in the midst of such hard trials?” He replied to me, “Sue, if you’re bearing fruit, I’m purging you, and THAT should bring you joy. The fact that you’re bearing fruit that caught My eye and caused me to want to purge you so you can bear even MORE fruit.” Well, that really blessed me. I’d never seen or heard it like that before. When things in our lives are tough, and we feel like Gods ripping and tearing off so much garbage, we can be happy because apparently, He sees us as worth taking the time to do that. So now, I try and remind myself that if He sees me worth purging, He’s going to do it, and I’m gonna be happy through it all cause I’m gonna be even more beautiful and better than I was before!!

    Bless you dear Heart. I appreciate you more than you’ll ever know!
    In Christ,
    Sue

  8. 58
    Ta'mi says:

    Dear Beth,
    Thanks for my personal letter, for I read it as though it was written just to me. That’s how God works sometimes, hmmm? 2/3/12 I had a 3 level spinal fusion. neuro-surgeon said it to have been one of the more difficult ones he has been a part of. Today I was in for my 8 week check-up. I asked about going back to work, when could I? I’ve spent far too much time on my couch. My pain is still very real and my xrays tell the real truth. He told me I could possibly go back in 6 months but I needed to realize that I may never do bedside nursing again. I teared up and told him, “that was all I know” and at 49 “I wasn’t interested in a new career”. Came home, had my pity party with an Arby’s meal deal, shed a few tears. Then I read your blog. I could hear the buzzes and the thuds of heavy lumber falling in my own spirit as I read. In BSF, we have studied Acts this year and oh how I’ve prayed for God to move in my life. “Empower me towards a life truly unhindered,” has been my repeat ASK. So, now, I’m seeing God’s pruning, chain-sawing in my own life. God’s love pouring, redirecting. Weeping has been set aside and I’m listening for chirping. Thanks Beth!

    • 58.1
      Sarah S. says:

      Tami — I’m so sorry for your physical pain and for the pruning taking place in your life. I pray that God is leading you to an amazing work that you will enjoy.

    • 58.2
      Becky says:

      Tami I’m also a nurse that had 4 different back surgery’s and I am again able to do bedside nursing even with rods and bolts. I thought all my days of Hospice nursing were over but God decided something different than Dr’s or even myself. I have some limits that I don’t exceed but God is Good and wonderful and allows me to work full time. You can’t limit his AWESOME ability to work when man can’t!! GOD IS GOD and he makes the final decision. I will be praying for you.

      • Tami says:

        Thank you Becky. you are right! I’m totally yielded and wherever He directs I’ll go. I’m still healing now and being quiet.

    • 58.3
      Casey says:

      So sorry for all you are going through. God will use you in a mighty way!! I’ll pray that he comforts and guides you!

    • 58.4
      Melissa Ford says:

      Thank you for sharing. I love that you read it as your “personal letter”…the way we need to read the Bible, right?
      I am praying for your healing and for inner healing too 🙂 I have recently met someone who had to walk away 10 years ago from a very hands-on and child-centered career b/c of a fusion and even had to be put into a halo for some time…she is now serving kids and their families in a new way but she is serving and doing what she loves. I am praying the Lord gives you wisdom to know how long you need to “rest in Him” and rest physically and that you hear and see clearly the new direction the Lord has for you. Praise you Lord!

  9. 59
    Tami says:

    ahh don’t know where that apostrophy came from. just plain ole Tami

  10. 60
    Sally says:

    Dear Beth,
    what a beautiful post…it is a keeper.Right now we are going through some things that look as if they have no good answer; things may need to be cut in order for things to live.
    thank you so much for your insight and encouragement.
    God Bless

  11. 61
    ForeverHis says:

    You never cease to amaze me with the way you can take everyday life and present us with the most wonderful lesson from God. Thank you. The timing was perfect for me. We are having such a horrible time in our church and I have felt so dry. So sad. So angry. I know God is working and I know He has a plan so it was nice to be reminded. Pray for our church body that we will all hang in there together with God and watch what He has planned for our little body. Thank you for what you do. I love you.

    Lawan
    Phil 4:8

  12. 62
    Tami says:

    Thank you for sharing…need this in this season of my life. Such a blessing and a timely reminder!

  13. 63
    Heather says:

    I absolutely love, love trees (Tree Geek for sure!) so THANK YOU so much for bringing LIFE, HOPE, and TRUTH through the Lord’s beautiful creation. So grateful for your gift of teaching ~ May Jesus bless you and your dear family! =)

    Isaiah 55:11-13

  14. 64
    Sarah S. says:

    Oh, Mama Beth — ordained words from you. So much dead in me, around me. I am fighting, raging against it. God says… “Be still.” I am learning to be at peace in the waiting as He prunes. My word for this year is “hope” — and this post gives me such hope. That those little buds that weren’t there yesterday may sprout overnight. That what looks like dormant ground — in my heart, in my life — may actually be rich soil on the verge of springing forth new life from the Master Gardener. Thank you so much for sharing your tooth-rattling experience of yesterday!

    • 64.1
      Sarah S. says:

      P.S. — I laughed out loud at Keith: “If that tree doesn’t move you, then you’re an idiot.” Oh, he and my Texas man are of the same spirit. Love it.

  15. 65
    Anne says:

    Beth,
    Loved the post. I live in Upstate SC and we have had drought for several years just not quite as severe as yours. I’ve lived in my house 31 years and 2 massive oaks died last year and had to be removed. Tree experts say there is a canker disease affecting stressed red and white oaks. My yard is full of massive ones and I notice by their bark they have it also. Like you praying for a wet year but we are having a hot dry spring. I am so loving all the beauty God is bringing forth! It has been so summer-like that we have camellias, dogwoods, azaleas, roses, vibernam, irises, petunias, and Lady Banks all blooming at the same time! Never have I seen so much in bloom all at once. God is showing off his majesty and it is exquisite!! I believe He is reminding us that He and only He is in control!

  16. 66
    lindsey says:

    Beth,

    wow, it’s almost like God told you to write this post specifically for me. After, what has seemed like the hardest 1 1/2 years of my entire life, it seems as though God is doing a New thing! Isaiah 43:18 And I praise Him for that. In the midst of trial, hardship, drought and longing, He taught me things, I probably would not have learned, had I not experienced them. Being pressed upon caused me to press into the Lord, in a way, I hadn’t before. Thank you for sharing this. It’s my prayer, that He’s making me an oak of righteousness for the display of His splendor. The work that’s He’s doing in me.

  17. 67
    Beverley says:

    Just came home from watching session 7 of James study. Oh how this fits nicely with today’s video….”Between the Rains” Thank you Beth

  18. 68
    Lisa says:

    Jeremiah 17:7-8 are the verses we chose for my son’s (now 2 years old) baby dedication. Thank you for sharing this with us. There is a mourning when a season of life ends; even when you are so certain it is God’s will. I find myself there now. Trying to let go. Even though I know where I am going is so much better…it’s still hard. I happen to also be doing Breaking Free. God is so good to bring things together the way he does.

  19. 69
    Becky says:

    Beth thank you for your ability to write and minister to us through words, these were needed in my life today!

  20. 70
    Lisa Curtis says:

    Dear Siesta mama, You never cease to amaze me. God truly speaks to you in mighty ways and I am so glad you choose to share it with us. I am going to use the Jeremiah scripture for my Moms In Touch prayer time on Friday. Thank you. Also, I feel like I am in a drought because I tried to repeat my 24 verses this week that I knew like my own name only 3 months ago and could not for the life of me get the first one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I must go get a long spiritual drink and see what happens. Thanks again. I’m glad you are back in the US and with your family. I am also eagerly awaiting news on Nehemiah for the summer. Already have a few signed up. Lisa C., Jackson, MO

  21. 71
    Kayla Moore says:

    Thank you for sharing!

  22. 72
    sweet anonymous says:

    Dear Beth,
    Thank you for the post. What I hear God saying to me loud and clear thru a very timely word is it is time to let go of my past. Especially the things that have hurt me. I’m wondering is God saying to me hanging on to these things is sucking the life out of me? That it’t time to let Him prune them? My past has always defined me. If I let them go, who am I?

  23. 73
    Gay says:

    Hey You! — I was so pleased to see your post out here this afternoon that my heart sped up a bit much to my delight. I started laughing right off the bat with God’s manicuring of lawns, His weed-eating skills, and then I started to cry for reasons unknown. Reading through the entire post, even had it not been you (I mean that!), was water to my soul. I went through a very long drought and it was NOT FUN but it will bear much fruit!! I think I know now why I cried. I cry a lot these days. I also cried because I’ve missed you so much, my beautiful Skizzie. I’m oh so happy that you’re back.

    Onward to the finish line,
    Gay

    • 73.1

      I’m not sure what happened to my comment. If I messed up and didn’t post it correctly or if u just couldn’t put it on here. I’m sorry. I’m detoxing right now, so I’m not sure what I said or if I said something wrong or what.

      • Gay says:

        Shellie — My prayers are with you, Sista. The very best thing about detoxing is that you NEVER have to do it again. Praise Jesus, Lord of Heaven and Earth!!! Hang in there! Its worth it. You’re worth it. HE’S WORTH IT!!

        Together with you on the journey,
        Gay

    • 73.2
      Lisa Firebaugh says:

      Gay, after praying for you for the last 7 years, but not knowing it was you I was praying for, I love “seeing” you flesh the thing out even on the blog, because it encourages me that God still answers not just Bethie’s prayers, but mine. I love you dearly for being brave enough to be out there.
      On a totally different note, can you say why Beth’s nickname is Skizzie? (I love this,and if you can’t answer, I understand….it’s just so cute. You definitely won’t be calling her Mama Beth now, will you? (smile))

      • Gay says:

        Lisa — Beth and I have called each other that for so long that I don’t really know where it came from. I’m pretty sure it started as Sissy and somehow we got a “K” in there. We were so goofy as kids like all young sisters who are close in age. Sometimes we STILL ARE!! She tickles me like no other, just like she tickles you girls. She shows us that its just a plain BLAST loving the Lord. Agreed!!!

        Thanks so much for your sweet comment. I love being out here and love being alive!

        Loved you are,
        Gay

  24. 74
    Kristine says:

    So beautiful. You are such a talented writer. Thanks for sharing.

  25. 75
    Eva says:

    This is a powerful post and one I will reread and digest slowly in days ahead. Have been feeling like some of the stuff I do as a SAHM is just “dead stuff” in my life because they are just day to day time wasters that do have to get done. I have learned to just make time for blog writing, creating a shade garden outside, walking regularly, etc. because I feel like they contribute to or are fruit in my life. I love your explanations and verses with each point you made. And yes, fruit over fun is so key. Maybe we just need to swing from the branches that are alive more,ha! Missed u.

  26. 76
    Sondra says:

    Hello dear Beth,
    It’s wonderful to have you safely home. And, to know that your long journey did not effect your beautiful writing skills. Thanks so much for sharing your “tree” experience. I, too, have dead ones that need to go and, I have held on way to long. God Bless you and yours

  27. 77
    Angie says:

    I can’t even find words for how timely this post is for me. Tears are streaming… Thank you, Father. Thank you, Beth. Glad you’re back home.

  28. 78
    Molly says:

    Well this would be some Holy Spirit wisdom right here!

  29. 79

    Siesta Mama! Glad to have you back 🙂
    Such a profound and wonderfully refreshing post. Like rain! 🙂 Our family has been in a significant financial drought the last 2 years and then experienced a deep loss a month ago when my sweet Dad went to be with the Lord. Such a time of pressing in, pruning, believing, hoping…
    Thanks for the sweet reminder today. Bless you and love you dearly 🙂
    Nicole Graves

  30. 80

    I know something of droughts. I know something of chirping birds. Grace lives and breathes in them both.

    Thank God! Really, thank God!!!

    peace~elaine

  31. 81
    Tamara says:

    Timely reminder for me today. My church is in a pruning time and it’s a hard. But, this post pointed to the good that can come out of this. Thanks.

  32. 82

    Awesome-awesome! This was JUST what I needed to read today! Encouragement to keep on going when the going is not much “fun” and courage to bury that which is already “dead” and move on!

    Thank you so much! I can’t explain how very much I needed this right now!

    Marilyn…in Mississippi

  33. 83
    Amy says:

    Thank you Mama Beth for that beautiful post. I need it right now while I’m sitting in this coffee shop wondering when I will get a job. I have to admit, I’ve been going back and forth with so many questions that I wish I could just get quick answers to and be on my way to doing what God has called me to do, but then again I can’t read God’s lips if I’m not looking at His mouth. His mouthpiece is His Word and I am working on studying it and praying up a storm! This post has encouraged me during this “dry season”, if you will. Praise God I will find His next step for me and I will get some answers soon! In the meantime I choose to praise! Love you!

  34. 84
    Georgia Boone says:

    Wow what a post!! A couple of years ago I was told (by God)(no not an audible voice, but it may as well have been) to memorize the scripture about pruning the vines and also that I am only the branch on the vine and IF I stay connected I will bear much fruit. I see that all over and in your post!
    We had a terrible snowstorm here the first weekend of March…24″ of wet “gorgeous” whitestuff. With that whitestuff came no electricity (some people were without for 7 days)remember now, our temps were in the 30’s and more branches and trees taken down than I care to imagine. Once people were able to get out, (which took awhile because of the heavy whitestuff) you could hear multiple chainsaws running everyday!! SO, I know how you feel. God’s creative hand is wonderful, and I know He will replace all those wonderful trees!!!
    Blessings

  35. 85
    Jenn says:

    Thank you so much for the scripture from Jeremiah. Life has been hitting me pretty hard lately and it was a good reminder where I need to go to be rejuvenated. Thank you so much for your words of encouragement.

  36. 86
    Anita says:

    Beth, You have NO IDEA how your post spoke to me today. As I clicked on your page link in my “favorites” list, I whispered a quick prayer, “Lord, I need to hear a word from you.” He cam ethrough, BIG TIME through your words!
    I feel like I’m walking through a drought and maybe it is time to move on. Cutting out deadwood can be so painful, though. I have been a teacher for 23 years. Our school district is going through HUGE changes in philosophy and teaching methods. I question if this is in the best interest of my students, to the point of feeling physically ill over all the changes. I am praying desperately for God’s wisdom if I can continue to do this job. I am so passionate about teaching and working with children. That desire is still there, but the constraints of my “job” are completely sucking out the joy. I would appreciate your prayers for wisdom and the courage to move in the direction God wants me to go. Thank you! God bless as you step into new directions for you and your family.

  37. 87
    Zenobia Wise says:

    Wow! What a post … so much to absorb, so much that is spot on in my life right now … don’t know where to start. So, I’ll just quick share three parts:
    ‘The cutting away is painful but …Sometimes knowing for certain what is dead is better than wondering.’ The wondering can be paralyzing … good to be able to move forward, even if it hurts.

    ‘Bare ground is not necessarily barren ground. Maybe it’s time to plant something brand new.’ Frightening at times, but I know He has not given me a spirit of fear.

    Lastly, I love the photo of the sunshine beaming down, over the empty space in the center of what has been cut down. Provides hope and reassurance that He is indeed at work right in the center of it all.

    Thank you so much … you are a true blessing!

  38. 88
    Jen says:

    What a blessing this post is! My husband and I and our 3 children are in the process of adopting a baby girl from China and we have been in a beautiful season of the Lord pruning us. This is great encouragement as we are “Between the Rains” (just did that session in the James Bible Study last week) and we are PRAISING HIM for all that is ahead! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  39. 89
    Linda says:

    Welcome back! The flights a killer isn’t?? Hope you got to try the TamTam’s.
    Was so glad to see your post. Checked this morning and was bummed that there was not a new post. Heading to session 7 of James tonight. Hate to see it end.
    Hope God blesses you with some rain.
    Linda

  40. 90
    Roxanne says:

    I live in the fire zone of the Riley Road fire at the juncture of Waller/Grimes/Montgomery counties. Each day as my husband and kids drove through the blackened after-math to school–and each Sunday as I joined them in the journey on the way to church, we would see the charred trunks–the cindered toothpicks of once mighty pines. Then the cutting crews came in, and the place looked bald. But the rains came too. The green, baby grass is growing between burned trunks of trees that are budding in their branches letting us know that years from now, this will just be an oddly colored ring buried deep inside that still-growing tree. The wildflower roots were insulated deeply in the soil and did not burn–so all the loveliness of Texas spring is like a rainbow amidst what was ashes. Your article was beautiful. It touched me because of it’s beauty–but I will remember it because I have lived the drought–both in location and in spirit–and spring is such a blessing.

  41. 91
    Peggy says:

    It’s so good to hear from you again. What a remarkable post and so relevant. I love trees and am blessed to have an abundance in my yard and surroundings. God has done alot of pruning in my families life during the past couple of years but I can see the new growth coming. Praise the Lord for his faithfulness.

  42. 92
    Carolyn says:

    We missed you! So glad God brought you home safely. And I’m sure your four-legged fury friend was thrilled to see you. I say that from one dog lover to another. This post has made me realize I keep watering some things that have already died, things God wants me to bury, not relationships or marriage as you said, but dreams and plans. Time to turn those things over to Him and say good-bye. What an inspiring and thought provoking post. Thanks.

  43. 93
    all shall be well says:

    Wow, I will never look at trees the same way again! thank you so much for sharing this, I am always amazed at how God speaks through you, in the big and the little things of this life……..He is always here, isn’t He?

    I got to go to Florida to visit a friend with a friend, and I was praying for you in Australia. 🙂
    karen

  44. 94

    Do I even dare mention what the drought can do to our foundations? That can be a whole other blog post…

    This is amazing. The post is meaningful to us in North Texas. Our drought became most severe. For the time being our Spring rains has spared us an extended season of drought, but oh the dry season we’ve had has been hard on the land, hard on the trees and hard on everything by my beautiful rose bushes and our live oak tree. They are both still remarkably green. OH, and that horrible… Uh, I mean, delightful Cypress Tree that sheds it’s rusty colored frock all over the yard from December to January.

    It would not have hurt my feelings to lose the Cypress, but the Live Oak. I prefer the Live Oak. 🙂

    Okay… I’m rambling and tired after a long day in the halls of Pastoral Care. Four weeks and counting Mama Siesta until you grace the halls of our Gateway Church. Can’t wait to hear what God has laid on your heart for Pink Impact.

    Your friend, Priscilla, spoke at the ARC conference there today. Hope you are recovering from your trip around the world. One of our pastors who attended the first week of Colour said she had not caught up even several days after she arrived home. Bless you, sweet sister. Bless you always.

  45. 95
    Sheri Fobare says:

    oooohhh…. this is a good one. It’s a keeper. I’m putting it in my pocket and taking it with me.

  46. 96
    Julie says:

    Oh, Beth. Breathtaking and couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m printing this out right now for my man who just called to tell me his position was elimated. We both thank God for the time in that job and what we know He’s going to do in our future. He sees the big picture and we know there’s an exciting adventure ahead! I’m so grateful for this post – thank you! I love you!!

  47. 97
    Laura says:

    We serve an awesome God!!!!! I’m so thankful He has blessed Siestaville with a mama who can paint a picture with words….His words!

    Thank you for spending the day with us. We can all remove the dead, regardless of our season in life. Like others, I’m in need of some serious pruning. The drought has been difficult and satan works overtime keeping me from the Word, but He will not let me go. A special hug and thanks for being the Lord’s messenger against satan…again.

  48. 98
    Mari Marks says:

    Thank you, a million times thank you for these words tonight. I’ve been struggling with the finalization of my mom and dad’s divorce (after 34 years of marriage). It hurts badly. Your description is exactly how I feel, the mighty trees that sheltered, protected and nurtured me my whole life now seem to have given in to the drought. But your words, and the reminder of our Lord’s words, were exactly the balm I needed tonight. Thank you.

  49. 99

    Thank you so much for writing this, Beth. I want to go back and read again and again to digest. I could picture this so well. We had a horrible snowstorm up here back in October and so many branches snapped. I keep looking out into my backyard and wondering how many will survive. There are so many lessons to be learned if I look out there with spiritual eyes.

  50. 100
    Michelle says:

    Very moving. I love the photos of the trees because it reminded me of my dad. He passed away Apr. 7th of last year and was a great hunter all his life. He owns a cabin which is a long drive over rocky roads and we wanted to visit the place he loved so much. My brother wanted to have my dad cremated so we did. We had plans to bury his ashes underneath his tree stand which is what we did. It was along hike and up to the top of the mountain and there it was the most beautiful I have ever seen. We all stood in amazement looking at the tree which still had the boards my dad had hammered in to use for steps. After we finished we took tons of pictures. To anyone else it just looked like all the other trees in the woods but to us it was so beautiful. After we got home we were going through my dad’s things and we found a 5Wishes paper. It tells family 5 wishes he would like us to carry out. #1 I would like my ashes buried under my tree stand at the cabin. How amazing that was to us to realize that we never knew he wanted to be buried by his tree stand but my brother just kept saying Pa needs his ashes at the cabin below his tree stand. I understand Keith’s fascination with trees. I share my dad’s love of that land and when I saw you trees it made me smile. God Bless You Beth you have helped me more then you will ever know. Michelle

Leave a Reply

To receive a daily digest of comments on this post, enter your email address below: