Barren

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Limbs straggle across sky. Barren arms reach from trunk into blue. Limbs stripped of their dress of leaves. Beauty of barren trees only seen if one takes the time to observe.

How easy it is to mourn the passing of autumn beauty as it gives way to winter. Roadsides clothed in deciduous glory. Colors brushed across landscapes. Winds blow and winter slowly marches in releasing them to their barrenness.

A gradual transformation appearing all too quickly. Empty branches and limbs feel bleak and weary.

My soul almost mourns the release of fall into winter. I have come to enjoy winter yet my spirit always loves autumn the most. My thoughts getting lost in the colors and sites of the season.

The sterility of winter gloom easily felt. I’ve come to see the beauty in this dreary season disguised though it may be.

We are often misguided into thinking life should be pleasant in all seasons. I wonder if not more so for Christ followers. How often is there a tendency to gloss over the difficult in the Christian faith? Perhaps unintentional, but it is there.

Barren seasons are often needed in life. We need branches stripped bare of all that hinders. New growth only appearing if old growth, even beautiful growth, diminishes.

Experiences causing us to wonder if God is even there. Circumstances where we fail within our own power. Disappointment overwhelming us so deeply and we realize how quickly life can change.

Emotionally life is high then blindsided we struggle to regain balance. Hurtful actions of others cause us to question our worth.

Or perhaps we cause pain. Forgiving ourselves often harder than forgiving others. How easily we forget that He gives grace. Forgetting there is no condemnation.

What if this is all necessary? What if only through our own barrenness can growth continue?

How do we learn to wait well during these seasons of barren? During these times when beauty can not be seen? Can we dig in, trust with faith, that He is working? Discouragement will be there to threaten. Days and days when rain never seems to end and it is all we can hear we have to remind ourselves that He is sufficient. He is sufficient even when it feels He is absent. When barren branches and limbs offer little hope of the beauty within He is faithful.

God cannot be anything but good. The times we struggle, those times when our branches are stripped bare, will often not make sense. We may wonder how we can be moving along so well and suddenly life seems grey and lifeless. Silent. His ways are not our ways.

There lies the beauty of barren limbs. Of branches void of signs of growth. The growth is there if we allow it to be.

The growth may be hidden. But is it absent? Not if we soften our spirits and believe that there is beauty in the barren.