That’s quite the cheery title, am I right? Thankfully it isn’t completely how I feel, although my patience for this most unpredictable of years is running thin.
There’s been the quarantine, the election, I had to go back to my hometown for a bit, my garage door opener broke and started to plummet as I was driving in, our furnace died, and then this.
That’s our willow tree after a recent NE Ohio windstorm. The winds were so loud we didn’t even hear the tree fall. Crazy.
The praise is it did not hit the house or anyone. Although the trampoline is a goner, that wasn’t new and didn’t see a ton of use. We have a memorial garden and a fire pit that the tree missed. So if it had to fall, it did fall in the best way. I’m not excited about the $500 deductible when we’ve already had the garage door and furnace to deal with, but that’s another post for another day.
As my son and I went out to look at the damage, he noted the tree’s condition. He said, “No wonder it fell. It’s dead inside.” Rotted. No support.
I thought back over the summer. It was a quick observation as my husband and I worked on other outdoor things. He noticed that willow tree wasn’t producing any leaves. Had we taken the time to think about it, we would have realized something was signficantly wrong with the tree. When in good health, the tree had deep roots, strong support, and abundant life with all the leaves.
So many leaves and branches, that wilow tree.
Yet, I missed the sign. It was standing tall and didn’t seem to be crying out for help.
And now it’s horizontal across our back yard.
The scene reminds me of what backsliding looks like.
If the term is unfamiliar to you, it’s when a believer in Christ slowly steps away from obedience. I’ve never seen it happen in a spontaneous event, rather a small burn of little triggers.
That accidental pop-up that we look at that has no business being in front of our eyes.
Then we click on the site once.
Then it feeds our soul day in, day out.
To look on the outside, there’s little to see at first that something might be wrong. We’re still smiling. Probably even going to church and volunteering. But the inside is rotting because we’ve backed off from Bible reading and prayer.
Backsliding can be with any choice that takes us away from Christ, I just used an example that is so rampant, especially for believers in Christ. The results, no matter what our sin, if unchecked and unconfessed, look a lot like my back yard.
A lot of damage.
2020 has been hard. I’ve only highlighted some issues our family has dealt with, but if I truly expanded on some of it, the grief I would share would be deep. I’m confused by a lot of things and sometimes more afraid that I want to admit. But to not confess it starts a slide I don’t want to be a part of.
If this year has you moving your boundaries and making choices you’ve justified or you flat out know is wrong, you don’t have to live like my willow tree, or die like it. You are so valuable and important that God is a Master at forgiving us, helping us, and putting us on a path where our core is strong and we produce life and hope along the way.
Here’s a sample prayer:
Heavenly Father, I ask in the name of Jesus that You give me the strength to admit that I am missing the mark. I’m making choices that grieve You, and I’m sorry. Will you forgive me for (name your sin/s.) Thank You for that, and for restoring me. Please send divine connections who can encourage me and keep me accountable. Fill me with hunger for Your Word and a thirst to spend my day with You. Thank You for loving me. For Your glory and honor, Amen and Amen.