Monday Motivation: Pine

Friends

Are there hurts that are heavy on your heart this morning? Give them to God and let His healing presence restore you once more.

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My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.

Psalm 51:17 – NIV

Well, if you have been following my blog for awhile, you have no doubt figured out that I am a porch sitting kind of girl. I adore my front porch. Greeting the morning in my glider is my favorite way to wake up to the day.

My porch is a part sun, part shade space in the morning, the shade coming from a towering pine tree that graces our front yard. I have no idea how old the tree is, but it’s trunk is enormous, its branches far reaching.

A few years ago, a terrible ice storm played havoc with this beautiful tree. A huge branch located mid-way up the left side broke under the weight of the ice, it’s massive bulk crashing to the ground taking out other smaller branches in its fall. The sound was so intense that we could hear it from inside the house.

The broken branch left a gaping hole in its wake. The once symmetrical tree now appeared off balance, its shape distorted. It hurt my heart to survey the damage. I just knew that my beautiful tree would never be the same. I was certain that the damage was so devastating that healing could never occur.

I was wrong. Yes, there was a huge hole where shade had once prevailed. Yes, the nub of the original branch still protrudes from the trunk, its presence a vivid reminder of the ravages of the storm. But the story doesn’t end with broken. The story doesn’t end in pain.

Instead of untimely endings, there are new beginnings. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, my view from the porch has started to change. Clumps of thick green pine needles now block the harsh rays of sunlight that once poured through the hole. The neighboring branches above and below are coming to the rescue, doing what they can to heal the hurt caused by the storm.

The old tree was battered and bruised from the icy insult, but it didn’t give up. New branches are gradually reaching out, filling in, transforming the broken into beautiful once more.

I thought the ice storm had ruined my tree, that it would never come back, never be what it once was. But it has. It’s not the same, but with time and effort, it is recapturing its lost shape. Its branches are once again offering shade to my porch.

Hard things happen in this life. How we handle them makes all the difference. Tragedy rips us apart. Trials tear away at our resolve. The bitter winds of suffering toss us to and fro, leaving us battered, beaten, broken. All seems lost.

To each of us, there comes a decision point, a moment when we have to choose. Will we give up or go on? Will we stretch toward the sunshine of God’s amazing love for us? Will we reach for His promises and stand firm in our faith? Will we trust that in all things, God will work for our good, that He can and He will bring good out of this very hard thing? Will we believe that our good and gracious God can bring beauty out of ashes?

The choice is ours. God will not choose for us. He waits for our decision. Will we reach out in faith? Will we keep going and growing? Will we let Him have His way with us, transforming our battered branches into works of beauty?

I pray that both you and me answer “Yes!”

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and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.

Isaiah 61:3 – NIV

PRAYER

O Lord, how merciful is Your heart for us, how great is Your compassion. You love us with an unfailing love. You meet us in our brokenness and restore us to beauty. You take the hard things of this life and work them for good. You bring beauty out of the ashes of suffering and loss. O Lord, help us place our trust in You always, remembering Your faithfulness and abiding in Your grace.

In the Merciful Name of Jesus, we pray,

Amen

Blessings,

Anita

-APS 10/12/2020

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