Branch Upon Branch

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

We have several 50-year-old junipers in our yard. You know the type… Thick greenery way too many years overgrown with huge ugly branches reaching 10 feet in the air. Originally, I’m sure the bushes were cute little things decoratively spaced several feet apart and designed to add a touch of green to the landscape. However, over the decades they have grown into huge behemoths creating an overwhelmingly claustrophobic effect in our yard. When we first moved in my thought was to simply yank them all out. (I use the word “simply” very lightly here!) But, to do that would entail hiring someone with a Bobcat tractor to pull out all the huge twisted stumps. So, for the past 6 months, my husband and I have been staring at them with frustration, trying to figure out what to do.

Well, last weekend we decided to see if we could do something to save them. Trimming them all around wasn’t an option because they had experienced way too many years of neglect and were far too large. But, we had another idea - Carmel. Yes, picture the beautifully twisted Cypress trees that bless the rocky cliffs of the California coast. It was worth a try…and what could it hurt? The plants were already incredibly ugly and we figured hacking away at them couldn’t make them any worse. If our experiment failed, well then, there was always the tractor option.

So, we dug in. My husband made some choice cuts with the clippers and his handsaw. Then, I climbed underneath the bush and kept at it. I kept at it for four days to be exact.

As I clipped and sawed away at the base of the bush, slowly making progress, a new beautiful tree emerged. With each clip of dead wood, more of the beauty of the plant appeared. Occasionally I cut a live branch away to allow the sun to penetrate the canopy of the juniper. This enabled bright streams of light to illuminate the twisted red and artistically gnarled trunk. What an incredible surprise it was to discover all this beauty beneath those ancient overgrown branches!

Right now, as I sit exhausted at my computer, with my muscles complaining at the work, my heart is feeling nothing but satisfaction!

We can look like those bushes, can’t we? We can become overgrown with years of unnecessary or unhealthy behaviors and habits. Sin enters our life, branch upon branch, until the beauty in our heart is completely covered up. If left unattended we become a tangle of dead wood blocking out the Light that once penetrated our hearts. But no matter how overgrown with sin we have allowed ourselves to become, Christ can and will transform us into new beautiful creations!



“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. 
The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (1 Corinthians 5:17 NLT)

By turning to God, placing our lives and our sins in His hands, He will lovingly prune away the dead wood to reveal the true beauty of our hearts. No life is beyond repair. No sin is too great. No matter our pasts, God will always accept us when we surrender our lives to Him.

And when we do, He will breathe new life into our tangled limbs enabling His Light to shine right into our hearts.


Transformed by Him,
Joan

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32 comments

  1. Such a great analogy. I think I need to trim the overgrowth around my base as well.

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    1. Thanks, Barbie! We can all benefit from God's transforming sheers in our lives, can't we? Blessings, Joan

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  2. Yep...I remember those giant junipers when we visited you. They definitely were taking up a good part of your yard. It can be difficult to trim the dead overgrowth away - not knowing what we will find or if the change won't be what we like. But once it's done, both your trees and our hearts become like a new tree/life. God can do amazing things through us when our hearts are clean.

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    1. The result is so much better! We still have one more huge bush to trim (the one near the patio) but at least I don't have to go to the gym for a while! LOL Yes, it is amazing how God cleanses us and gives us new life when we turn to Him!

      Blessings, Joan

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  3. Joan, motivated to grab my shovel and start digging. There are definitely some roots in this girl that need to go.
    Blessings to you!

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    1. LOL! What is a blessing is that God will do the hardest work! No pruning is too difficult when we are in God's hands!

      Blessings, Joan

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  4. The hard work and sore muscles usually seem much better in the rearview mirror. A good analogy here.

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    1. Hi Traci!

      I often say that hindsight is 20/20! It isn't necessarily enjoyable when going through pruning, but the result is beautiful!

      Blessings, Joan

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  5. Joan, this is a great analogy! A good reminder to continue to go to God with our all. Visiting today from Thankful Thursday!

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    1. Thanks, Lisa! Yes, I'm so grateful for His transforming hand on my life!

      Blessings, Joan

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  6. Hi Joan! Love this analogy and you are so right! When you started to describe the trees, it reminded me of what we faced a few years ago with several maple trees that were large and beautiful close to our home. There were several problems, however. The first was that each had a trunk that had been splitting that would cause the tree to land on our rough in a high wind situation. The second was the expansive root system had grown into and through our septic lines which happened to cause a major issue on Christmas Eve with a house full of company. We had no choice but to pay for the repairs and the very costly removal of the trees. We learned the troublesome roots, however, would not die off for another two years and were too tightly interlaced to be cut or dug out due to the distance they ran. It gave me a whole new understanding about the significance of a root system including our own.

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    1. Oh wow! On Christmas Eve... What an adventure that must have been! But yes...roots go down deep. It is good to be rooted in Jesus Christ, though, isn't it?

      Blessings, Joan

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  7. What a beautiful story, Joan. I'll bet those trees are beautiful now that they've been cared for and pruned.

    Yes to this: " No life is beyond repair. No sin is too great." Amen!

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    1. Hi Betsy! Yes, the trees look great now! What was previously a huge bush is now three separate "trees"! We love the look so much that we are going to prune another mass of junipers on another side of our yard! We just need to get rid of all the branches we've cut off first! I think we need a truck as our "green waste" only gets picked up once a week where we live. But, I'm excited to start working on it!

      So often people think their sins are too awful for God to forgive them. But, He will always accept us when our hearts are surrendered to Him -- Praise God!

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  8. Love this. So much truth and a reminder, too, that Jesus sees the beauty in me when all I see is the ugliness.

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    1. Thanks, Debbie! Yes, I love that Jesus sees the beauty in me! Sometimes, all I can see is the "dead wood", but He makes all things new!

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  9. Joan, What a beautiful post with such a perfect analogy! I love a picture that brings God's Words to life! Thank you so much for mining hard for four days so that we could all reap the reward of the great treasure of wisdom you found beneath that old juniper in your yard.

    Blessings.

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    1. Hi Karen! I'm glad you were encouraged :) God has a way of giving us wonderful messages and teaching us through the simple things around us! I wonder what I'll learn when I "attack" the next bush in my yard!!

      Blessings, Joan

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  10. I love your tree illustration. This is so beautifully put and so very true. Thanks so much for sharing with TGI Saturdays. Blessings to you.

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    1. Thanks, Latisha! I hope you are enjoying a wonderful weekend! Thanks for hosting TGI Saturdays!

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  11. I love this, Joan. Isn't it amazing what a "little" pruning can do? This is a beautiful reminder that we all can use a little pruning in our lives. Thank you for sharing with Thankful Thursdays.

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    1. Oh yes! The results can be amazing! I'm so thankful to be in God's hands!

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  12. This is a great analogy! It reminds me that sometimes I need to stop and think about confessing my sins and allowing God to prune my heart and make it clean. Thank you for sharing this great post on #100HappyDays!

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    1. Hi Valerie! Yes, God will always make our hearts new when we willingly come to Him!

      Blessings, Joan

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  13. Beautiful Junipers - and simply wonderful analogy! The trimming and shaping is hard work - but so very worth it!

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    1. Oh yes, so worth it! Your'e right, hard work brings beautiful results. I am so thankful!

      Blessings, Joan

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  14. So true - all the years of disobedience certainly covered over my hardened heart. Our Master Gardener sees the potential in all of us! Terrific post! Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Hi Carrie! I love how lovingly God softens our hearts and reveals new beauty when we turn to Him! Blessings, Joan

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  15. What a lovely analogy. Trusting God in the trimming!

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    1. Thanks, Helene! I'm trusting God as well!

      Blessings, Joan

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