Decide in This Season for the Next
—Grace & Truth Linkup

Cut Down the Tree?

I didn’t want the tree cut down, of course. I never do.

But last fall when I finally understood the damage the tree’s roots could cause, I agreed. [The story is here: When It’s More Than an Empty Hole.]

And now that it’s spring, I’m glad we made the decision.

The daylilies that had previously been under the tree’s shade have bloomed more this year than they have in years. One clump bloomed for the first time in ages. The marigolds we planted are actually looking healthy and thriving when in years past they would quickly wilt and die there.

The flowers no longer have to compete with the roots of the water oak tree.

They no longer are in the shade.

They’re getting full light again.

We All Need Light

Sometimes I feel like too many needs are competing for my limited resources, too. Occasionally in my mental and spiritual life I need to get rid of a harmful tree that is sucking the life out of everything around it.

Sometimes projects and even relationships have served their purpose in this season. And while they may not have to be totally cut down and taken away, they can be gently pruned back and given less attention, so that other priorities may be given more attention. 

I don’t thrive in the dark. I need to be able to spread out in the light for optimum growth.

I’ve had a decision to make the past few months to either accept a difficult circumstance in the light, or try to distract myself from it and shove my feelings about it into the dark.

Every morning I have to decide anew: face it. Every morning I say to myself, This is really happening. Even though it eats up a lot of my emotional reserves to confront it, it would eat up more to ignore it. 

Because I know this: the decisions I make today can affect the outcomes I’ll face tomorrow.

Uncomfortable feelings don’t need to stay hidden in the dark.

Even sadness and pain deserve an audience in the light.

Grief Work Is Sacred

Our grief work is sacred. I’m trying to tend to mine with the compassion that God shows to each daylily and marigold in my front yard that no longer have to fight the thirsty tree for the resources they need.

I am allowed to feel what I feel without trying to ignore it, beat it into submission, or distract myself from it. God gave me emotions for a reason.

And I’m trusting God to give me wisdom to learn from my emotions and to make the right decisions, one day at a time.

Working through my pain instead of trying to skirt around it is a daily decision. I don’t always handle it properly.

But the more I practice making this decision, the easier it should become.

Just like our decision to cut down the water oak last fall paid off this spring, my prayer is that the decisions I make in this season will pay off for good in another season down the road.

Featured Post

Lois Flowers had a gardening decision to make, too. In our featured post, she reminds us of this truth:

“The decisions we make today affect what things will look like in five or 10 years. This applies to life in general, as well as to gardening.”

Read all of Lois’s beautiful post here at her blog, then add your own links below.


Are you facing a tough decision in this season, too? Share your thoughts in the comments.

I’m linking at these blog parties

1. Share 1 or 2 of your most recent CHRISTIAN LIVING posts. (No DIY, crafts, recipes, or inappropriate articles.) All links are randomly sorted.

2. Comment on 1 or 2 other links. Grace & Truth linkup encourages community.   

3. Every host features one entry from the previous week. To be featured, include this button or link back here on your post (mandatory to be featured, but not to participate).

Grace and Truth_Meet Hosts

We encourage you to follow our hosts on their blogs or social media.

MAREE DEE – Embracing the Unexpected
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LISA BURGESS – Lisa notes
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TAMMY KENNINGTON – Restoring hope. Pursuing peace.
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15 thoughts on “Decide in This Season for the Next
—Grace & Truth Linkup

  1. Linda Stoll

    Dear Lisa …

    So often we have no wisdom to offer when we are in the valley. We’re just trying to survive. But you’re showing us it can be done, we can continue living, and pretending is not a friend.

  2. Joanne Viola

    Lisa, I so remember that we both cut down trees at the same time in the fall. At the time, we were told we would be pleasantly surprised at how our trees would pop come the spring. We waited and just this week, I commented that indeed our tree has a beautiful shape now. Praying you will see the fruit that comes from the decisions you have made.

  3. Pam Ecrement

    We had a similar tree removal story from a few years ago. Several trees were so large their roots were trying to erode our home’s foundation and also posed a risk if there was a storm that toppled them as they were very near our house. It’s amazing how much we can have to work to let go of or remove something and trust for the better than comes afterward.

    Taking time to grieve is vital to our trust in Him and our well-being, my friend.

  4. Donna

    Lisa, love your vulnerability in this post. God gives us the perfect illustration from creation for letting go and pruning, as you saw with your tree removal, yet we always struggle letting go.
    The hardest part of grief recovery is the release. We truly begin to heal when we come to terms with the loss and release it completely into Jesus’ hands. And whatever we give to Him, is never truly lost.
    Praying for you dear friend.

  5. Alicia

    Sometimes you don’t realize the significance of “that tree”. Until you uproot it or cut it down. It had an important purpose in your life and you realize it when it’s too late No one likes the darkness we all turn toward the light. Trees give us shade and comfort and shelter at times. All of us have a purpose in this life. We should make the most of it
    Importance Of Friendship
    The Importance of Friendship in our Lives [15 Reasons]
    March 13, 2019 Admin
    Friendship actually doesn’t fit into any definition. It’s a relationship that cannot be described with words.

    Friends are those who make you feel good about yourself, who will laugh at the most embarrassing moment of your life to make you feel lighter. They are the ones who will be there for you during happiness and at times when you need them most.

    When the world turns back at you they will be there right by your side. The importance of friendship in our life is beyond any description.

    The basic foundation of every relationship is friendship. Whether it’s a relationship with your spouse, children, coworker, or your neighbor, the friendship will form the base of the relationship. Without friends, life would be dull and meaningless.

    Here are 15 reasons why friendship is so important.

    Table of Contents
    1. Supports us in bad times
    2. Improves the quality of life
    3. Keeps us active
    4. Share secrets
    5. Boosts self-confidence
    6. Comfort zone
    7. Reality check
    8. Unconditional love
    9. Lots of fun
    10. Makes relationships stronger
    11. Mental Growth
    12. Stress Control
    13. Physical Growth
    14. Social Improvement
    15. Giving the ‘Push’
    Final Thoughts
    1. Supports us in bad times
    Everybody goes through some difficult phases in life. During those times you need a shoulder to cry on. Friends can give exactly that. They will be there to listen to your nonsense talks and still acknowledge whatever you are saying to lighten your heart.

    They will be there to give you advice on how to pull through the difficult time you are passing. They will show you the kindness that you need when you are in trouble. They are the ones who understand you and no matter what the situation is will give you positive energy.

    Importance Of Friendship In Our Life

    2. Improves the quality of life
    Just imagine how life would be without friends. There will be no one to cheer with you for your favorite team, you won’t have anyone to hang out with when you have nothing to do. They make our boring days full of fun.

    Overall, they add meaning to your life. With friends, you laugh out loud which makes you energetic and healthy. It can help you to overcome depression and so helps in improving your mental health as well.

    Importance of friendship essay

    3. Keeps us active
    Friends will be up to anything at any time. They can take you on an adventure ride or to someplace that’s beautiful. When you don’t have any friends, you will probably spend time alone in the house playing video games or watching TV. But with friends, you are likely to go out and play or visit clubs and other places.

    Friends will always keep you on your toes and so you will be active all day. This will help you to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

    importance of friendship day

    4. Share secrets
    We all have some dark secrets in life and friends are like secret banks where your secrets are absolutely safe. You can talk about your silly mistakes, family problems, etc. with your friends. You can simply pour your heart out with your friends.

    what is the importance of friendship

    5. Boosts self-confidence
    Sometimes we are in doubt about our abilities and decisions. But friends will never doubt you. They will be there to encourage you to move forward in life. No matter how difficult a task may be to achieve, they will push you to overcome all the obstacles and accomplish that task.

    They will help to make your dreams and goals come true by cheering you from the sidelines. They believe in you and that’s the most important driving force you need to go ahead in life.

    the importance of friendship article

    6. Comfort zone
    You can be by yourself when you are with your friends. Whether you are in pajamas, drooling face, or without makeup, they simply don’t care. They love you just the way you are. They have seen you in the ugliest appearances and worst situations in life. They know you inside out.

    They know your weaknesses, flaws, dark past, everything and still, they are by your side. There is no need to pretend in front of them. So, you are in your comfort zone when you are with your friends.

    importance of friendship for children

    7. Reality check
    Friends have the ability to predict situations that we can’t. For example, they will know if your boyfriend or girlfriend is cheating on you; or they will tell you whether your outfit looks good or outrageous.

    They will bring the harsh truth in front of you without making you feel down. Friends will always bring you back to reality when you are roaming around the 7th heaven.

    essay the importance of friendship

    8. Unconditional love
    Our family loves us because we share blood. But friends love us without any such condition. They give us unconditional love without expecting anything in return. Whenever you need them they will be beside you no matter what the situation is. They will be always there to support you.

    You will only get this type of love from your family. We share the most amazing relationship with our friends and the times spent with them become the most memorable ones in our lives.

    importance of friendship

    9. Lots of fun
    You will never hear the most hilarious jokes unless you are with your friends. Gossiping about others, talking about the new movie or song releases, going to concerts and clubs, all these happen when you are with your friends. Those long hours of gossiping over the phone or in-person will enlighten your heart forever. Being with friends is an instant mood booster. We spend the most joyous and exciting times of our lives with friends.

    the importance of friendship for children

    10. Makes relationships stronger
    A long-term relationship will only work if there is friendship. If there is no friendship there won’t be the trust, love, and support that you need. So, friendship is actually the core of every relationship.

    Makes relationships stronger

    11. Mental Growth
    Friendships help the mind blossom into a healthy garden and protect it from withering away. Friends help you overcome gloomy thoughts of your mind. They help you focus on important things in life. They can refresh your thoughts with humor and fun activities.

    Friendship trains your mind to leave negative thoughts behind. Negative thoughts can infest your mind. They eat away the happiness of a person. It becomes hard for the person to focus on positive things in life. Friends are one of the best cures for this problem. Friends can pull you out of bad mental situations. They help us see things with more clarity. They show us the brighter side of our problems. By focusing on the positive side, one can overcome these problems. When you are alone, it is not possible to face your problems alone, all the time.

    We need someone to share our problems with. Someone who can hear your problems without judging you. Friends try their level best to help you beat ill thoughts and move toward a more positive approach to life. Friendships help your mental health from getting destroyed and disturbed. Friends are the gardeners of a person’s mentality.

    importance of good friends

    12. Stress Control
    Having friends can be stress relieving. Friends get your mind to get off the boring routines or the stressful problems in your life. They are there when your life seems a mess. Friends make you see your mistakes in a constructive way. You can improve your ways of doing things.

    Friends know how to make you realize your faults. They do not make you ashamed or embarrassed in front of other people. They mend our ways and bring out the best versions of ourselves.

    When you are stuck in the grinding routines of academic classes or work at the office, friends are there to make you feel better. Friendships help you release your stress from such monotonous routines. Friends engage in meaningful conversations with you. While living one’s life, there are many times when one needs guidance and advice.

    At times, we act stubborn or inclined toward doing things without thinking through. The mind goes blind during that time and does not think of consequences. Friends are there to talk sense to you so you can see the error of your ways. They prevent us from making mistakes which we might regret later in our life. These mistakes might also cause harm to other people, as well as the person himself.

    stress control

    13. Physical Growth
    Not only mental, but physical health is also improved along with friends. As friends participate in different physical activities, they convince you to participate too. Sports and games help you gain a healthy and sound body. Playing sports increases the capacity of both the mind and the body. Playing with friends becomes even more healthy, as they teach you along. If you can’t do a certain thing, they will help you achieve that through different techniques.

    Friends do not mock you for your physical health or appearance. They try to improve you along with themselves. They invest time and effort in you to make you a better person.

    Both physical and mental health are complements for each other. A person who is mentally healthy will be more inclined to physical activities. Hence, it will make his physique better.

    The involvement of friends boosts both, mental and physical health. Friends keep your spirits high during sports. They congratulate you when you win and encourage you to try harder when you fail. They do not make you feel weak or incompetent. Acknowledgment from friends builds confidence in an individual. This confidence helps that person break out of an unhealthy routine. The individual tends to indulge himself in more fruitful and healthy activities.

    14. Social Improvement
    Friends are good for Social company. As people move into society, it would not be possible for people to completely alone. People need company and friends are the best company one can have. Friends are considerate towards what you like and dislike. Friends help you become more socially active and smart. By staying with good friends, one learns manners and attitude one should have in social gatherings.

    Some people can make you socially anxious and insecure. One needs to learn how to deal with such situations and people. Friends prove to be of great value in such scenarios. They try to prevent such situations from occurring. If somehow, these situations do occur, they stick up for you. Gradually, the individual becomes adept at the skill of interaction and communication.

    15. Giving the ‘Push’
    Friends are one of the valuable assets of life. Friendship helps you build one another and can aid you in overcoming your fears and achieving the goals of your life. Many times, in life, there are some fears that stop people from striving for what they desire. Friends push you out of your comfort zone so you can learn new things. They make you realize that the fear is only a voice in our head. This voice keeps feeding negativity to the mind. This negativity creates barriers in way of healthy thinking.

    Overcoming fear makes it easier to do things. Like if you want to do a certain task. Friends will help you by teaching and making you understand that it is not hard to do. They will appreciate your effort, even when you feel like quitting. At times, they will add humor to the situation, to make you feel less discouraged at your failures. They will keep you at it and after some time you will get better at that thing. Without friends, it would be very difficult. Friends make achieving your goals easier.

    Friendship fills your life with meaning
    A person who stays lonely and does not have friends will find it hard to live with people. They have trouble in determining what to do. Friendships add purpose to life, as friends encourage you to achieve things that you want. They help you move through life with a more determined and focused approach. Good friends are hard to find, one must invest time and effort into people in making friends.

    Friends stick with you through the harsh and worst times of your life. When one feels completely lost and broken, friends come to aid. Friends see through your smiles and know when you are hurt. They know you better than other people. Not everyone understands the intent and purpose of your action and words. Friends respect your ideas and thoughts.

    We, as humans, have the desire to be understood. Friends fulfill this desire and help you contain your mind and thoughts. They understand and know about what you really are. As it rightly said, ‘One of the most beautiful qualities of friendship is to understand and to be understood.’

    As the saying goes, “Anything is possible if you have the right people beside you”. It means when you have good friends in your life, the goals of your life become easier to achieve. Friends are an important part of one’s life, as they are there for you in your problems and hard times. Life without friends, will not be an easy one.

    Final Thoughts
    Unless you are suffering from social anxiety disorder (SAD), there is no reason why you shouldn’t have friends. Only people with this syndrome tend to avoid friendships altogether.

    The reasons just mentioned here are enough to understand the importance of friendship. You shouldn’t miss the chance of making new friends. You should always appreciate the love and care they give you.

    After school and college days you will be heading in different directions in life. But if your friendship is strong then you will always find them beside you when you need them even after years of separation. Friends are someone who is not related to you by blood, but sometimes they are closer to you than your own relatives.

  6. Alicia

    Friendship improves happiness and abates misery, by the doubling of our joy and the dividing of our grief.

    by Philosiblog on 28 March 2013 in compassion, friendship, happiness, inspire, struggle, understanding
    Friendship improves happiness and abates misery, by the doubling of our joy and the dividing of our grief. – Cicero

    Having a friend around when grieving can be an immense help.
    Having a friend around when grieving can be an immense help.
    What does that mean?
    This quote is attributed both to Cicero and as a Swedish Proverb. Not sure how those go together, but I have to agree with the idea. Having friends, and having them with me when I was in an intense emotional state has always been a help to me.

    The quote talks about improving happiness by doubling our joy. When you do things which make you happy or joyful, do you usually want to be alone, or with others? Doesn’t the sharing of the joy make it that much better? And you can always talk with them again, afterwards, reliving the joy, which doubles it again, right?

    The quote also talks about abating misery by dividing our grief. When you are stricken with grief, we usually want someone around to comfort us. Yes, sometimes we wish solitude for a time, but we usually go back to our friends, and divide the grief by supporting each-other. At least that has been my experience, does your differ appreciably?

    Why is having friends while grieving important?
    While sometimes grief has no silver lining, there is usually some joy to be remembered, usually connected with the past. Having others around who also remember those days can help you multiply your remembrance of joy. They can also contribute their joyful moments as well. Even if no one else knew of a particular story, you can relive it in the telling, and include them in the joy of the moment.

    Similarly, having friends around allows you to divide the sorrows and the grief. Mutual support in trying times allows each to take a turn at being the strong one, and helping the others. Conversely, it allows each to take a turn completely releasing their grief, knowing someone is there to help you back up if you should fall. It allows the natural ebb and flow of grief to occur, and the group to help hold it together.

    The other thing that having others around helps with is the releasing of the grief. Grief shared tends to move forward with the grieving process. Grief kept within rarely progresses, and ends up festering deep within a person. Only by releasing the grief can the healing begin. At least that’s how it has worked for me.

    Where can I apply this in my life?
    This can, and I believe should be, done anytime you are deeply in sorrow or in grief. That could include any sort of loss, from the death of a pet to a stolen car. Obviously the death of a friend would qualify, and I believe the loss of a job would qualify as well, especially one you thought was a good fit for you.

    Not that I’m trying to say that losing a job is the same as a friend dying. However, while the intensity may be at a different level, the basic process is the same. One of the more popular models is the Kübler Ross model. [][Five Stages of Grief] and at that link, you can find information on other models. See what works best for you, in your experience.

    The Wikipedia page is a place to start looking at how it works, and local book stores will have plenty of ideas on how to handle grief. If you are away from your friends, you can probably find a support group in your area if you look around. Failing that, the phone, the internet, and other modern communication methods are a close second.

    Using whatever method you can to connect to supportive friends in a time of great sadness or grief really helps. Think of the times you have grieved in the past, and how having friends around helped, compared to times when you either did not seek them out, or they were otherwise absent. Note that I said supportive friends, so don’t count the times when your friends weren’t supportive.

    If you are like the people I have discussed this with, you can see where having others around to support you is a helpful thing in a trying time. In today’s world, even something as simple as texting some one some words of encouragement or support can make a difference. Sometimes, just the knowledge that someone else is supporting you, can really be helpful.

    As life goes on, grief will find you. As will joy. Treat them the same way, and share them with your friends. I hope your experience is similar to mine, and the author of the quote, and that your joys multiply and your grief is divided.

    Remember, grieving is a process, not a permanent state. Don’t let it freeze you in one place, and don’t try to hold it all in. Not for the big things, and especially not for the little things, for they will build up within you if you are not careful.

  7. Tea With Jennifer

    Lisa your following statement is very poignant;
    “my prayer is that the decisions I make in this season will pay off for good in another season down the road.” My prayer too & yes grieving is healthy.

  8. Lynn

    From all my research on trees, I have learned that they are very much in tune with the environment around them, and will help out all they can to make sure others are nourished. Even a stump’s roots are still fed by the roots of other trees around them. It reminds me that sometimes there are things in life that are now in a season of pruning, yet never is the past wasted. It is the ebb and flow of life. Your flowers are blossoming in the light. Resisting the light would ’cause them not to blossom. Resisting our emotions could also cause us not to blossom into the fullness that God wants us to be. Gosh, it is hard though, and we’d rather only turn away from hardship than face-on. May God keep you turned to His light as you walk this path.

  9. David

    Dear Lisa, such a heartfelt post — you are working hard! Pulling these monsters into the light is difficult, it is exhausting. Like those trees, the monsters bring up their roots and all kinds of baggage and questions from the past. Our emotions and our reason accompany our faith — I especially see that three part harmony in your writing so often. Emotion is often a surer guide than reason. I pray the Lord hears your song, and I pray for the truth of Matthew 5:4.

  10. Lois Flowers

    Lisa, I’m glad you are happy about your decision to cut down that tree! And amen to your words about feeling the feelings, taking all aspects of grief one day at a time, trusting God to give us wisdom regarding it all. I think you are on to something—believing that the hard work you are doing now will pay off down the road. Perhaps not exactly how you envision (is it ever?), but somehow, some way. Praying for you, friend. (P.S. Thanks for sharing my post—that was a fun surprise to see!)

  11. Amy Jung

    I remember your post about that tree! Lisa–I do think you’re very wise to care for your season of grief. Blessings to you as you turn to the Lord and allow yourself space to do that.

  12. Karen Friday

    Beautiful post, Lisa. I get attached to trees and such, too. This is my favorite line, so powerful, “the decisions I make today can affect the outcomes I’ll face tomorrow.”

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