Monday, July 4, 2011


I’m in my backyard, but I’m viewing a brand new scene.  This feels so odd and more than a little a little uncomfortable.

This is going to take some major getting used to.

Fifteen years ago, we planted a row of saplings along the one leg of our corner lot. They quickly grew into a soaring Leyland cypress wall, enclosing my backyard in a verdant lair. The street lay just on the other side of the goliath hedge, but I had complete privacy.

For years, my back yard had been my refuge. My sanctuary. My quiet place. I could sit on my back deck in my jammies and drink coffee. I could sun and swim and not worry about being seen in my bikini.

But our ignorance of the proper care of the cypress tree was their literal downfall.

We didn’t know cypress trees required regular trimming and pruning. They became shaggy and overgrown, and started dying from the inside out. When we finally checked into it (this month,) we discovered we had waited too long.

They had to go.

And now I sit in my swing, completely exposed, my back yard bared to all who drive down the street or walk past. And that’s quite a few people for such a small neighborhood. I feel like my life is open book.

It’s kinda like exposing yourself to God, opening yourself to His scrutiny when you come to Him broken and repentant and say, “I’m sorry, please forgive me.”

But there’s a barrier that separates you from God. Sin. That ugly wall has to go! And the only one worthy to be the lumberjack is the Carpenter, God’s Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus takes your heart in His hands and says, “Okay, let’s see what you’ve got.” And He gets to work on the hedge.

When He starts hacking down that sin-barrier, all of the rotten, ugly things inside you are laid bare by the Holy Spirit. 

You see them, and you know He sees them.

Suddenly your soul is naked, your every thought and emotion completely exposed to His view.

And it’s a more than little uncomfortable.

But He isn’t done with His work yet. See, that’sjust the dying part.

He doesn’t merely cut down the hedge; He chips, mulches, burns, and buries your sins. Poof! They’re gone! Then you are reborn into new life. And being exposed, wide open to God's view starts to feel more comfortable. It’s actually freeing!

That thick privacy hedge protected me from the scrutiny of others, but it also kept me hemmed in and blinded, like an ostrich with her head in the sand. They couldn’t see in, and I couldn’t see out, and I liked it like that.

But you know what? I’m liking this even better. Who knew? I’m amazed at how wide and far and freeing is the view from my “new” life.

But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 
for it is light that makes everything visible. 
This is why it is said: "Wake up, O sleeper
rise from the dead and Christ will shine on you."
Ephesians 5:13-14

Catrina Bradley

"God rewrote the text of my life when 
I opened the book of my heart to his eyes."
Psalm 18:24 (Msg)


  1. Great analogy. It is nice sometimes to hide behind the trees, to keep our secrets. But all is and will be exposed with him. Better to clear it out of our own accord!

  2. Interesting....and so true! I think sometimes we even hide our sins from ourselves, until God pulls them out the hidden spots.

  3. I was up at daylight this morning and actually made it outside while it was still cool enough to water my tired little garden area. I had to ask God to forgive me for neglecting the things He has given me. Guess that falls in to the sin of "omission" which is a wall in itself. Great post and (BTW)beautiful yard :)

  4. Love the application of your experience to sin and our lives. I could picture you so easily in the before image, but wondered if you (or I) could possibly feel comfortable in the "after" one. But you did--and that's what makes this piece so powerful.

  5. OH, what a fantabulous analogy, Cat! Gonna remember this one. Gotta get that hedge down!

  6. Great analogy, Cat. And here's a comparison that came to me. We planted some Leyland Cypress at the top of the hill behind our townhouse. The woods behind them have kept them from the sunlight, causing them to grow at a slow pace and not reach their full potential. I don't want to be a "scrawny" Christian, allowing other things to shade me from the sunlight of God's grace.

  7. Great analogy, Cat! I agree, I don't want to be a "scrawny" Christian! Hugs!

  8. I like both feelings: I love my privacy, esp. with regards to my garden haven and field...but I love openness, too. When it comes to the Lord, though, we all must be open and honest before Him.
    Loved the analogy and you sharing your experience, Cat...and I love you!!

  9. Thank you, Ladies! I couldn't quite get into words all of the feelings I had, and it took a turn somewhere from where I originally started. Nancy and Verna, I love your messages from God, too. Thanks for sharing! Love you all. Happy 4th of July!



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