Ed and I are taking care of our 23 acres, and we are loving it here. We are possessing this land one room, and one tree at a time. There is a lot to do to bring everything back into good shape. Now that Fall is here, and the lush greenery is going into winter hibernation, we are trimming and pruning everything back. Ed & I were working on a Tulip Tree, which had lots of overgrowth, and a lot of damage. It had not been tended to for several years. Ed took a saw and cut huge pieces off of the tree. I had long cutters, and I was cutting back the smaller branches. And then I would switch to the hand cutters. It seemed like we cut off as much as we left. I’ve trimmed a lot of trees in my life. When you first start, you don’t really know what to do. But after you do it for a while, it becomes much easier to see what a plant or tree needs.
- At first we cut all of the obvious shoots and branches that were outside the tree, which took us a while to get through.
- Then we looked for the branches that were tangled inside the tree, that were growing into the other branches the wrong direction.
- After that, we looked for the branches that we wanted to grow strong in the future, and removed everything that would interfere with what we wanted.
- I like to prune the trees so that when you stand inside the center, it looks like there would be enough room to get a foothold, and climb up into the tree. So the center has the main branches, and you don’t see many small branches, until you look further out on the limbs. It’s delightful to walk or sit under a tree that is taken care of.
Here’s a scripture that Ed and I love, in it God talks about us being like a tree.
Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.
The ungodly are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the ungodly shall perish.
I had to learn to be a good caretaker, just as I have learned to be a good teacher, wife, and mother. But God has always been a good caretaker, it is part of His nature to take care of us. When you prune a tree back, it makes the tree strong. It will no longer waste energy growing shoots and wild branches. But it will focus all of it’s energy, on growing into what the caretaker has trained it to be. He has seen which branches will grow the wrong direction, and keep the important branches from reaching their full potential. He has carefully planned what is to stay, and what needs to be removed. So it is with us.
God will remove everything from our lives, that will keep us from growing the right way. He requires us to submit to Him, and to lay down our lives, so that He can shape our lives according to His will. If we devote our energy to the wrong things, He will remove those things, so that we can put our energy into what is right, and fill the spaces with what makes us strong and healthy. When He prunes us, sometimes we hurt for a bit. And if He takes His saw and removes strongholds in our lives, there may even be a wounding for a season, while we are in the healing process. Sometimes we are wounded by an event or some experience, and as we go through it, we don’t know if we will be forgiven or if God will help us. He always forgives us and helps us, when we submit to Him and obey what He tells us to do. He applies the salve of the Holy Spirit, and he will cover us with His love, if we will let Him.
I stood back and looked at our beautiful Tulip Tree. I wish that I could have always seen myself in this light, realizing God as the caretaker, will be vigilant in healing and nurturing, in trimming and pruning, and in loving and disciplining, and being delighted in us. There have been times in my life, when I walked through difficult situations, and sometimes I was deeply wounded. I have at times felt overwhelmed, and downtrodden, overcome with sorrow and grief, at times remorseful and repentant, not knowing how to make my way through. I wondered what did God see? What must He think? And now I can see that God has not been caught off guard. He has a good plan for us, no matter what damages we may suffer. If God disciplines us, or we need to walk through something when we have made a mistake, God wants to restore us and make us whole again. If the storms come and break us in some way, He wants us to be whole.
We are His, and He is ours. He knows the way of the righteous, and that we are flawed and not perfect. He knows that at times we fail. And it is His job to be our loving Father, Caretaker and Friend. It is our job to be like a tree planted by the streams of water, growing leaves that won’t wither, and producing fruit in due season. God is preparing us for Life, to prosper us, and to walk in righteousness. He is removing every obstacle that will interfere with our success. He has planted us, where we can grow deep roots, to be watered by Him. He constructs us to be strong, so that we will survive every storm. Blessed is the man or woman, who is like a tree planted, by the rivers of water, nurtured and shaped by the very hand of God, ready to be conformed into all He wants us to be!