Now here we are, in the middle of August, and the tree is green instead of white. It's still pretty. See?
Speaking of 'pretty', here is some pretty Musica to listen to as you read on.
As my husband and I were looking at it, he noticed the bare branches where the harsh winter had taken its toll. He also noticed that the other branches were not symmetrical, but growing out a little wildly. He pointed out the suckers at the base of the tree. He wanted to trim the entire tree. I, on the other hand, wanted to remove the dead portion and the suckers and leave the rest of the tree alone.
We've watched that tree grow in splendor during the 8+ years we've lived here. It holds a lot of sentimental value to me. The Lord has taught me a few lessons as He has spoken to me through the process of watching that little tree. Some of you may think - "How can God speak lessons through a tree?". Hang in there with me - I'll explain.
The tree has held its own through drought, severe storms, ice, harsh winters and ideal weather. We've not given it any special attention. No water, fertilizer, or extensive trimming. Without any extra special care from us, the little tree has endured. It's only by the grace of God that it's still standing.
That tree reminds me of my own life. I've been through drought, storms, harsh times and ideal times. Through it all, the Lord has provided His tender loving care, and sent others along the way to help. When He chose not to send others, HE was there, and by His grace I'm still standing.
Like my husband and I did with our little Dogwood tree, I took time to reflect on my life. I do this continually, and it's a process that gets easier the more often it happens. With the Lord's prompting and guidance, I have to take the steps necessary to 'prune'.
Like our little tree, when there is a branch (relationship, circumstance, or situation) that dies (no longer beneficial to my life and/or causes more harm than good) I needed to get rid of it. That is something that can be difficult, but it is vital to creating the beautiful tree (life) God wants for all of us.
We always agree that the little 'suckers' need to go at the bottom of the tree. And the sooner the better. Why? They grow at the bottom of the tree instead of at the top, where branches are beneficial and help create the beauty we see. They suck all the energy from the tree so it doesn't get the nutrients to the main branches that need it. And left to themselves, they create a mess that is a chaotic and takes even more time to set right. Over the years I've learned that the 'suckers' (people, situations, circumstances) in my life need to be removed for the very same reason we remove them from the tree. And the sooner the better.
As for the wildly growing branches, they aren't too out of control and add some character to the tree. And they remind me of my own personality. Sometimes I'm a little wild, perhaps at times a little out of control - but never too much - yet still effective where God has placed me.
So with just enough attention, that little Dogwood Tree stands beautiful in our yard. And with just enough attention to my own life (spiritually, mentally, physically) I can stand beautiful in God's yard (our world). That's my lesson from God this week. Taught through our little tree.
While not perfect, the tree is still lovely in my eyes. While I'm not perfect, I'm still lovely in God's eyes.
Now - time to get back to the Dogwood Tree and do some pruning.
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