A friend of mine came over and cut down the old weeping cherry tree today. Something that I have dreaded for a very long time. I have put it off for over a year as I grieved, hoped and prayed it would come back to life. In November of last year I realised it wasn’t coming back to life. But I didn’t want to watch it be removed, nor did I have the emotional or mental time/energy to work out how to get it to be removed.
Last month I was weeding my garden getting it ready for the children’s Easter hunt, I started to dream about renewing the garden. I started to design it in my mind. I spent many hours researching it on the computer, looking at images and ideas. I watched garden shows as people transformed their garden over a period of months. I even went to a garden opening to just see ideas. Then I started to draw sketches and concepts of these ideas. As these ideas formed, I brought some of the changes to the garden. I became excited as I realised it’s possibility. However, there was a limit to what I could do, I couldn’t get around the fact that none of it could happen unless I got rid of the old pool and the dead weeping cherry tree. Two things we have held onto in the hope that we could some how fix it, despite them being obviously dead. Inspired by my dream in my mind I started to try work out how I could remove the weeping cherry tree myself. Being taller than my height and having a very thick trunk, I wasn’t sure if a little pruning saw would get through it. I sat in the garden resigned and overwhelmed at the huge task of removing the tree. I am not the sort of girl that picks up a chain saw. I realised that I just couldn’t do it and I needed to ask someone to help me. Today I asked my friend, a professional who works in this industry, if he could help. Which, he generously did.
I knew I had to watch, there was significance for me to see this… strange, I know. As I watched my friend cut down the tree, the wind was blowing this swirling wind and sawdust was going everywhere. Then a very strange thing happened, a moment that was a bit like watching a scene from a Hollywood movie, everything slowed down as I watched the tree come down. The chainsaw became back ground noise and I heard the wind swirl around me. Instead of feeling sadness, I finally understood. Joy rose up and there was a huge prophetic God moment. God was showing me something. There was significance in the wind, there was significance in the chain saw, there was significance in my friend chopping down the tree. All of those times I would hear God say, go outside and put your hand on the cherry tree and speak life into the tree finally made sense. Even though I felt stupid I would go out to the tree and do what God asked. I fully expected new life to come forth from the tree, but every time it remained lifeless and no resurrection power came into it. When He kept asking me to go out and pray resurrection life (even commanding it in His name), I started to feel beyond nuts, like I was hearing God wrong. Who does this? How nuts am I placing my hand on a dead tree and praying prophetically life into it and it remaining dead? However, since no-one was around, I figured there was no harm in believing and praying. So I did it every time God asked. Today as I stood and watched the tree come down I realised why God asked me to speak life into it. For in it’s death and removal, then the new life could come forth from the very spot that it stood. It wasn’t the tree that was going to burst into new life. No! It was the ground it stood on! It’s removal was going to open up opportunity. Make way for new life to come from the soil that its dead branches covered like prison bars. This dead tree was stopping new life; it was preventing future; it was in the way of the new; it was preventing the artist from creating beauty. This lifeless tree stood tall in the middle of the garden bed and as a result, nothing could grow. Every day it haunted me with its death and every day I grieved for the beautiful old weeping cherry tree that I had lost. I grieved the loss of the seasons that it displayed so well. I grieve it’s blossoms. I grieved how the children use to build cubbies under its branches and dream they were princesses at a picnic. Because it stood there I could not see the possibility of what could birth forth from its removal. I held onto it, hoping daily that it would come to life, but it never did no matter how hard I prayed. The only way that life could come forth from it, was by me being willing to let it go.
So today instead of sadness, I felt a burden rise off of me and the opportunity for new life to come forth from this death. As the wind swept around me, I heard God speak in the wind, “See I am doing a new thing, don’t you see it. I am doing a new thing, don’t you see it. I am doing a new thing.” It was then as I listened to Him speak boldly with so much hope in His voice, that I understood the need to let the dead things remain dead and let Him remove it. In that moment of watching this tree being cut down, in the noise of the wind and the chainsaw, I had a vision of a seed in the ground. I watched the seed shrivel and die until it was no more. As it was dying something started to come forth from what once was the seed. I saw new life burst forth. Finally I heard Him say, “Cheryl let me remove what is dead, as in it’s place I will bring forth new life.”
Just as I could not cut down that tree, I realise now that I can not remove this death in my heart. I need to let go of the former seasons. The beautiful blossoms that once bloomed, those now distance memories; even though they were good, they are no more. I had to release them to the one who new exactly what to do with this death. My role this whole time in this long journey of death has been to speak life over what God asked me to. How God chose to use His resurrection power wasn’t my decision, I could not make Him do my choosing. All I could do was prophesy His words and invite Him to remove what is dead. I have to let go of the former things and embrace the new that will come forth from this desert ground. For in this letting go, the new ground can finally be made ready for life.
God is inviting us to join Him in the new, but to receive the new we need to invite Him to remove what is dead.