Saturday, January 02, 2010

The End of a Decade - 2009, The Pruning Process

It amazes me how fast time seems to fly past me. It also seems to be only yesterday that we moved from Nashville to Denver, yet it has been over a year. This year was not as easy as I wish it could have been. Dad fell ill in late May and after four weeks in ICU and multiple infections, went home to be with the Lord Jesus. A short 12 days later, his brother-in-law, my uncle, also passed from this life to the next. Shortly after that death, my dad's other brother-in-law passed away. Only 11 weeks total from the time Dad breathed his last. So my cousins and I have all endured significant life change, learning to live life without our fathers.

My dad considered so many different aspects of life, but in the last six years continued to decline. He was a generous man, yet conservative in almost all of life. After all, my mother and he were married just short of 57 years.

Before coming to Denver, we had to leave our apartment as well as our house in 2008. These changes were not easy for my children to walk through. I am still struggling with some of the ramifications of why we lost our houses, yet I know that each life challenge brings growth rings to our existence.

Have you ever looked at a tree when you cut it down? Each year, a ring grows around the trunk of the tree. Smaller rings represent lean years, and thick rings represent lush years. Now, I am one who doesn't really aspire to be a tree trunk, but the lesson of the tree I do understand, mainly that there are seasons in one's prosperity. There are years where there is a lot of pruning of overgrowth, or pruning of dead wood. Skilled pruners only prune during the late fall or early spring before the growing season begins. I believe these observations can be applied to the dead areas of our life that are not producing fruit. Every time a tree is pruned correctly, it produces a greater harvest not necessarily the very next year, but the year following. It obviously takes time to recover from the seasons of severe pruning.

Many Christians seem to think that every day of every part of their life should be a happy one, especially because we know that Christ lives within us. Yet, I truly believe that Christ wants to perfect in us true character that is free from dead wood. I think that it is important to welcome the pruning years. Without them, we would be living trees that are vulnerable to limb breakage, overcrowding, and non-productivity. This doesn't mean that the Gardener (Christ) abandons us in the midst of our pruning; rather, He watches carefully to make sure that the cuts are clean, appropriately placed and sealed so disease cannot permeate our being. In this way, the Lord Jesus skillfully and gently brings us forward in our unique placement in and amongst a very human society. There are attitudes, belief systems, and actions that all affect our ability to be light in dark places. When we submit to the skillful Gardener's hands, we, in essence, agree to the pruning process. If we agree to this process, we cannot then complain about it as we willfully agreed to be pruned. The hope is that by ridding our lives of negative attitudes, destructive beliefs, and reactions, we become bright, effectual life changers.

Therefore, when death knocks at your door or at the doors of your loved ones, be willing to look at the places that grief has a tendency to expose that are in need of pruning. Take the opportunity to consider where you have traveled, where you are traveling now and where you want to travel in the future. Your success depends on complete submission to the process of getting rid of the undesirable, yet instilling desirable qualities. As we walk forward into 2010, it is important to consider what goals are worthy of pursuing, how to develop the weak areas of our characters, so that they become strengths, and to take the time to renew our minds.

All in all, it is a good place to be... humble, honest, and honorable. Pruning teaches us to persevere, to produce, and to prepare ourselves for the greatest harvests of our lifetimes. I look forward to what the Lord Jesus Christ will produce in me. How about you?

Take care and have a safe New Year!

With Love,
RamyB

(C) 2009, Ramy Bakke, Bakke Music Group

4 comments:

theswain said...

Hey,

Wow...I had no idea so much was going on in your life. I'm so sorry to hear about your Dad and the reasons for your move.

I pray the New Year is a blessed one for you.

Natalie Foley said...

Ramy, what a beautifully written piece. And wise, too. It spoke right into my heart and the season the Lord has me in right now. Thank you for sharing this with me.

RamyB said...

Thanks Larry for your prayers... Natalie... you are right where Father wants you... trust the process!

RamyB

RennyBA's Terella said...

I'm here to return the favour of your visit and nice comment and of course; You're welcome to Norway any time.
If you decide to do it, let me know as it would have been nice to meet up :-)