Complete Surrender…

It’s that time of the year again and I’m down in my trees wrestling with brambles and vines, climbing into the boughs on a long ladder to allow me to reach the dead wood that hangs high off the ground, detritus from my efforts of a couple of years ago.

Happily, most of the trees I’d worked on are still clear of the choking, thorny, ivy that rapidly takes hold.   Difficult and breath-taking as the job is it only needs to be done once as long as Hubs coaxes his John Deere through the woodlands regularly to keep the stranglers from seizing the day.

For the last two weeks I’ve been in the acreage at the front of our property tackling the Juniper and Bois d’Arc.  The undergrowth is very thick in some places totally shrouding the trees so I’ve been ducking into copses and crouching low to snip off the bright green thorny vines as close to the ground as possible.

Snip, snip, snip.

I go for as many as I can see and step back, satisfied that I’ve made a clean sweep.

Then, reaching up to grab a gloved handful of the hanging vines, and feeling like a campanologist with my rhythmic up and down motion to loosen the deadwood, I half expect a peal of bells to ring out from above.

Dead branches caught in the vines tumble down and I avert my gaze to protect my face from getting scratched and disfigured by the avalanche.

Eventually the familiar shape of a Bois D’Arc appears,


as a cascade of twisted brambles land at my feet looking for all the world like an oversized crown of thorns.

Holy Week is rapidly approaching and The Passion is on my mind.

As I begin to manhandle the pile to my heap of a truck named Uriah, I’m checked by a live bramble anchoring the thorny bundle to the ground. I must have missed it in the snip, snip, snipping.

I peer into the shadows of the closely clumped trees to locate the rogue and there it is, a tendril, deeply rooted and impossible to dislodge by hand,


Thwarter of my efforts.

I grab my clippers, abandoned on the ground, and snip the remnant only to discover others I’ve missed on the other side of the copse.  I huff frustratedly and tramp through the undergrowth,

and snip, snip, snip again, and again!

Back to the manhandling and finally the tangled mass of stranglers pulls free,


and I can load it to be taken to the burn pile.

Behind me a stand of trees, freed of their bondage, are ready to bloom and grow.

Holy Week with its theme of death and resurrection, surrender and salvation are at the forefront of my mind.

Is handing over almost my whole life to God similar to the stubborn ivy impeding my clearing efforts?

Are there live tendrils of my human-ness rooted in my heart, refusing to budge, keeping me from completely surrendering to my Lord?

If so, what am I keeping from God?  What thwarters of His peace am I harboring? What is standing between me and the Kingdom?

Is it wealth like the rich young man? (Matthew 19:16-22)

Is it control?

Is it doubt that if I let go God will drop the ball?

Is it uncertainty that handing everything over to Him is the right thing to do?

I look down in my mind’s eye at my tangled mass of stranglers lying at my feet anchoring me to an earthly world and know,

beyond a doubt,

that if I snip, snip, snip completely,

and give away what is closest to my heart,

I’d be released from bondage like all the trees on my property and stand ready to bloom and grow to the glory of God in His everlasting peace…



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