I’m done!” I fussed. “I refuse to plant something else in that hole!”
Those angry words, along with the memory of my husband and daughter chopping down my Japanese maple, were like television re-runs in my head a week after the fact (previous blog).
I’d confessed my sin before God and apologized to my family for my emotional outburst, but I’d rewind the tape, stuck in self condemnation.
I knew I was forgiven, but the weight of sin and my inability to walk in a manner worthy of Christ held me captive.
When I shared my sorrow with others, I was told to lighten up. “You’re justified in your anger. I’d be furious too.”
Perhaps, but God used that felled tree to prune my heart and rip out the root of bitterness that had been growing inside of me long before that autumn day.
And the process was painful.
Not unlike a broken bone whose fracture has to be re-aligned in order to heal properly.
The image of wearing sackcloth and covering my head in ashes as a sign of repentance became a Biblical truth that finally went from my head to my heart. And left me …
Which isn’t a spiritually bad place to be.
Because Psalm 51:17 says, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”
For that’s when spiritual transformation and healing begins.
Because the Lord “heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3).
Not unlike the sinful woman who brought an alabaster jar of perfume to a Pharisee’s house where Jesus was dining. “And she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them…Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” (Luke 7:36-50).
As God restored to me the joy of His salvation, I longed to be like that woman and show my adoration towards Christ who forgives sin and tells me to “go in peace.”
Instead of pouring perfume on His feet, I erased the tape of re-runs in my head.
And where the Japanese maple once stood in my yard, I ate my words and planted a fragrant Italian Cypress.
Ever green; ever a reminder that even in this situation,
Beauty can rise from ashes and mourning turn to joy
When Christ is allowed to be the Gardener of my soul.