I love to see the gardens of my friends in the North, they grow some beautiful things we don’t get here in Texas. A few years ago I was blessed to cross paths with Joan Gallagher, she is a fierce prayer warrior with a passion to mentor women. She even wrote a book on the subject! I am blessed to call her my friend and share her words with you here today, please take a second to visit her site, take a peek at her book and say hi, all the links are listed below!
Early Spring brings feelings of hope and new life. One of my favorite signs of that new life are the beautiful crab-apple trees that grow in our yard. The gorgeous pink and white blossoms are striking against the bright blue sky and luscious green grass. But this past Spring, things looked a little different. While I watched most of the trees come to life with leaves and flower buds popping out, I noticed one tree did not. It was dead.
My husband, Ed and I knew the tree was in trouble the last couple of years, and to be transparent, we did nothing. There are so many other beautiful trees that we just paid more attention to those, not noticing the ugly dead branches of this one tree.
Our lack of attention is without excuse. Ed works for a large landscape and tree company and the nature of the work tended to rub off on me over the years. It wasn’t that we didn’t know what to do, we just did nothing. Now it was time to cut down the lifeless tree with brittle branches that snapped as we touched them.
As Ed began the work of cutting it down I wondered why it died and the tree just a few feet away was big, healthy and beautiful. That night I asked Ed why it died:
“There can be many reasons why, but it usually starts deep inside when the root system, a tree’s foundation, is compromised. When that happens the tree as a whole is weaker and can’t fight off disease or insects. It also can’t get nutrients to the whole tree; so when you see branches at the very top of the tree that are dead it means the tree is in trouble.”
“But why?” I asked. “What causes that to happen with the roots?”
He answered, “Again there can be several reasons but it starts with the planting. Roots need room to spread out and dig into the soil to get nutrients and water. It’s important the ball of roots is broken up after it has been growing in a pot and before it’s planted in the ground. As it is planted, it should be given a boost of nutrients and insect control as the soil is pushed over the root system and the tree is put in place. If not there’s a chance that a girdled root will form. It happens when a root, and there can be more than one, wraps around the other roots and even the trunk itself; choking off nutrients and life. Once this happens, the tree becomes more susceptible to insect infestation and disease.”
That night, I couldn’t help but see the comparison of Ed’s explanation to our spiritual walk.
As believers, there are times when life just seems hard, doesn’t it? For some, we may have started off with a faith planted in good soil and have received God’s message whole heartedly. But somewhere along the line our root system has been compromised. Maybe we have had some hurtful church experiences or unhealthy relationships that like the girdled root have begun to choke off our spiritual life. For awhile we can keep hidden the disease of hurt and sin but eventually it begins to show at the surface, with a few dead branches here and there. Then we become susceptible to the infestations and diseases of this world: bitterness, anger, anxiety, addiction, struggle, and sin.
But our loving Horticulturalist, Jesus, has the remedy for our weakened state: As we let God’s word take deep root in our hearts we need to continue to give it the life giving nutrients of daily time with Him through prayer, continued study of His Word, and a life lived in service to Him. Jesus is ever watchful and loving in this process as our limbs and roots grow and reach outward. He tells us it will take “Patient dependability” in order to bear fruit by allowing His healing, bolstering nutrients to infiltrate us. It is a life-long process.
He knows disease and infestation are always looking for a way in to kill our hearts and souls; so there are times He must prune the dead ugly parts in order to insure the health and beauty of who he made us to be. Be ever watchful, don’t allow the infestation of this world into the roots of who you are: your heart and soul. It takes constant care but the Father is there to prune, protect and provide for you.
Joan Gallagher is a speaker and author of Hope Markers: How Hope Marks your Story and Changes the World (affiliate link). Her passion is mentoring and helping others embrace their story. She is based out of Northeast Ohio where she loves spending time with her family. Visit her at Women Mentoring Women – www.joangallagher.net, you can contact her there to book her for your next women’s event or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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