In life it's always nice to see the before and after of things. We can sometimes appreciate things more if we could just see how it looked before.
This was the photo of the natural ditch with a little waterfall before.
It was an ugly mess.
This is the natural ditch now after hard work. It still has a lot of work yet to be done, but the clean up is nice.
This is a side view, not quite before because a lot of clean up had already taken place before we shot the photo, but you can see some of the progress in the after shot below.
The side view after we removed the fallen tree. The ground is cleaner and the ditch is visible.
This is a before photo of the tree that we really want to get to on this side of the property. It is a gorgeous tree, no telling how old or how many people have sat under it or the stories that have been told underneath it. Children have probably played near it and problems have been solved sitting there thinking under it.
This is the tree after. We can walk up to it. It still needs some clearing, but you can tell it's a tree. I think trees are beautiful. I'm not a tree hugger by any means & I even joked during all of the burning that we had to make sure we did our part to contribute to the media-hype of global warming, but I do love a beautiful tree. And this my friends is a beautiful tree!
As we were removing fallen limbs, logs & cutting the briers that had engulfed, entangled, and smothered the tree, God brought to mind our lives and how that sometimes we have clutter in our lives or our worlds are entangled by briers and thorns that keep people out or from reaching us or that keep us from reaching out to others. How often do we ignore & allow a small entanglement, a small offense, a small hurt, a small snare to grow a little too long only to realize it a little to late, and we can't get out. Not on our own anyway.
Fortunately, God will either help us directly, or He'll send someone on our way to help us out...If we'll listen. Removing the clutter...It won't be easy. It won't be fun. We might get hurt. Those helping us might get hurt. I have scratches & puncture wounds all over my arms, legs, and a few on my sides as a result of my efforts to free the tree. Tom has sore arms & got cramps in his hands from cutting the thick briers for so long. Yes, we might get hurt, those helping us might get hurt for it is a battle you see. A battle for our very freedom. A battle for our souls. A battle that we can be free and our beauty that has been hidden behind thick cover for so long can be seen to those who will see it.
As I worked I prayed for myself that I might not be ensnared & that I would recognize anything that might be waiting to trap me, and I prayed for those around me for the same. We must remember that the enemy of our souls is 'more subtle and crafty than any of the creatures God created' (Gen 3:1) and that he wants us trapped and weak so that we cannot be effective for God. Be on guard because your enemy will continually try to trap you where ever he can. Watch, pray, and depend on God, be on guard so that you are not trapped and ensnared! Keep the downed limbs, briers, and rotting debris from your life so that your beauty can shine & glorify God just as my special tree does!