Losing branches

Ever taken a few steps forward and then gotten slammed back down again?

Ever felt like you have worked so hard at something and ..it didn’t even matter?

Ever felt like you believed God for something and saw the beginnings of fruitfulness and then it was cut off?

I’ve been walking this lately…. I have always been super open on my blog about my struggle with health and auto immune disease. About two years ago I had a beautiful glimmer of hope for the first time in almost 4 years of sickness. I had surrendered it to God saying “Thy will be done”. I believed even though he was using the struggle to change me and to allow me to have great empathy for those who suffer in anything I also believed He could heal me if He chose. I did experience healing…for a little while at least.

I’m a writer. I see life and I pay attention to it. I share. I encourage. It’s who I am, so naturally I couldn’t keep it to myself. I had to share my story because I knew there were so many others out there just like me suffering at home with no options, no direction, completely bewildered about how to heal. So I began HippyHappiness.net . I shared my story, encouragement along with others on the bodies ability to heal, about Gods healing power and His ability to heal THROUGH people.

I knew it could go away. I knew at some point..any point my body could turn on me again and yet I still wanted to live in the moment and be a source of encouragement for those in the middle of the valley. This beautiful time of healing lasted 10 months. To some 10 months might seem like nothing but when you’ve been sick for 4 years, well, 10 months of feeling ‘normal’ can feel like an eternity.

Well i was right…it went away. Life got in the way, stressful situations came about with two of our kids and my body fell apart again. I felt so many emotions. Was my healing not real? Did God not WANT to heal me? Was there something I did or didn’t do to deserve it to stay? Was it irresponsible to share my journey if it wasn’t going to “stick”? Is this me forever? How can others have hope for themselves if it isn’t real for me?

I felt those things.

I felt frustrated, confused, irritated, hopeless…and very tired.

I stopped writing. I stopped sharing. I stopped hoping. I just… stopped.

Then I realized something.

This IS life. This IS something to share.
Ups and downs. Its not perfect and its not suppose to be.
We aren’t home yet. We just aren’t.

Instead of me seeing it as a complete loss…or a hopeless battle I have begun to see it for what it really is.
It humbles me and acquaints me in a very small way with the Saviors suffering.

It teaches me that suffering in any form is redemptive.

Period.

Nothing else has the ability to change us the way that loss does.

Nothing else has the ability to join us with the Savior the way that suffering does.

Nothing else has the ability to make us new the way that crucifying the flesh does.

It looks different for everyone.

For some it is physical pain, for some it is emotional anguish, for some it is financial struggle, for some it is relational.

Maybe you are single ….and tired of it.

Maybe you are married…and its not working.

Maybe you have a child who has gone astray.

Maybe you are struggling with infertility…

Maybe your body..or mind feels like a prison…

Maybe you feel lost…tired of

Waiting.

Going through.

Jesus waited
in the garden He lamented through the waiting of what was about to take place…He knew God could and would rescue and yet also knew He must go through it.

Jesus went through..
the suffering, the anguish, the loss of crucifying His flesh.

Redemption took place AFTER the waiting..AFTER the going through.

Its interesting because Merriam-Webster defines Redemption as “making something better than it was”, “the process of redeeming” and “saving from something”

Wow..

I mean do you SEE that? Something (in this case its US) is being made better through a process…the act of redemption is a saving act but heres the thing = so often we only see the side of redemption that saves us FROM sin…but we forget that redemption saves us FOR something… that we might be sons and daughters who are partakers of the divine nature .

and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. Romans 8:17

We are saved, set apart, set aside FOR the glorious riches which are IN and THROUGH Christ Jesus. To be made a part of Christ Jesus we suffer with and in Him. Its not that His suffering wasn’t enough – it is! His suffering invites us in and His suffering allows us to be made like Him through the process of working out our salvation with trembling and fear and often that trembling and fear is through the trials and fire of life here on earth. To be made like Him through the fire of earthly suffering allows us to see Him as He is – We cannot see Him as He is unless we see through a different lens and suffering often is the chosen lens because it forces us to see differently removing the things that blind us, distract us or hinder us from “seeing”. Struggling, wrestling, suffering alters our vision and is redemptive IF we allow it to be.

The redemptive qualities that suffering brings do not just happen because we live in a fallen world but it’s to prepare us for the next. Don’t forget this part because it’s beautiful…God in His most abundant love saves, perfects and gives new life through crucifying the things that are not eternal.

The soul is eternal – the flesh is not.

Suffering changes the soul.

We are reminded of this every time we “lose” control over something that is not eternal. Relationships, money, health etc.

We are stripped of earthly attachments and temporal things that we may be reminded of the eternal things and therefore we are joined and aligned with ONE spirit not a divided heart.

Oh how our hearts hurt when we lose things that we are attached to. A tree that loses its dry branches must weep and yet the fruit that it bears from being pruned becomes far more abundant than hanging onto that dying branch could ever be.

I’m losing branches folks.

Dead ones.

Lifeless ones.

Non-eternal ones.

But I’m making room for life giving leaves and fruit..You are too….He prunes us for the sake of love. He prunes us to bear new fruit. He prunes us FOR us.

So I truly encourage you…if you are waiting, if you’re in the valley, in the going through know this – This pruning comes with a fire that brings about good things…it won’t last forever and it certainly isn’t wasted – He removes the dead things to bring life – This is part of it.

Losing branches…always bears new fruit.

He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. John 15:2

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
2 Corinthians 4:17