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What Do You See?

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I snapped a photo in the moment, as the beauty of the forest overwhelmed my senses.  I looked at the photo afterward and immediately noticed the dead trees stood out like ogres. I questioned whether I should post the photo on Facebook or if I should delete the picture permanently.  As I stared at the photo on my smart phone, God began to speak to my heart.

“Life is full of beauty and “dead trees” are a part of everyone’s story!  Are you going to focus on the two dead trees and fail to see the beauty of the forest in it’s entirety?”  

With tears in my eyes, I thanked God for the beauty of the forest!  

I didn’t stop there…

I thanked God for the beautiful day, a day at home with my family, for dear friends, the amazing weather, for the gift of life, and for gentle life lessons!  As I looked at the forest and thanked God for the blessings in my life, my heart grew peaceful and joy filled the deepest recesses of my spirit.

Suddenly: The forest came alive and the beautiful colors “popped“! I encountered a divine moment there in the woods; A priceless and unexpected gift!  The Holy Spirit’s presence,  whispered to my soul!  I was in awe! Wow!  God is good, ya’ll!

As I encountered God’s presence and spirit in the woods…

I thanked God for the dead trees!

The lesson God taught me through the dead trees, was nothing short of profound!  Without the dead trees, I would have missed an important life lesson and a precious moment with my Savior!

The lesson:

Never miss the beauty of life, due to a couple of dead trees!  Life, like the forest, is full of living, vibrant, colorful, and wonderful gifts and scenery!  We will experience pain and hardship in this journey of life!  There will be “dead trees” along the journey!  We get to choose, whether we allow God to use the dead trees in our lives for His glory.  Or do we needlessly “fight” the pain, brokenness, and trials; And fail to experience the life-breathing lessons these trees produce.

The strangest thing happened in the midst of this God-ordained life lesson. The dead trees, were now at the top of my ‘thankful” list!  Without the “dead trees” the moment wouldn’t have been near as powerful, beautiful, or life-changing!  Without the “dead trees” along our life’s journey, we will never fully be able to appreciate the gift(s) of life!  Without the dead trees along life’s journey, we will never be able to experience the power of redemption, forgiveness, & unconditional love of our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ.  In fact, our Lord & Savior, died on “a dead tree” to give us eternal hope, power over death, and purpose & meaning in this life!

James 1:2-8 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.  Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.”

John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full!”

Friends, May I ask you…

What are the dead trees along your life’s journey today?  

Are you experiencing difficulty, pain, confusion, brokenness, trials, or hardship?  Have you lost your job?  Do you have a broken relationship?  Are your children walking away from the Lord?  Is your marriage filled with pain and loneliness?  Are you struggling to make ends meet every month?  Have you lost a loved one?  Are you struggling with anxiety/depression/trauama?

God desires to use these “dead trees” in your life to draw you closer to himself!  He longs to turn the brokenness in your life into beauty, purpose, & meaning!  In order for God to turn our greatest trials and heartaches into beautiful life lessons… We MUST first surrender our hearts, our lives, and our struggles over to Him!

What are the “dead trees” causing pain in your life today?  How can I pray for you?  Please comment below and I will add you to my prayer list!

Blessings, Crystal