The beauty in burnt branches



So, I took my girls hiking yesterday. It was glorious… not just the view, but the fact that my two girls (10 and 13)  passed four adults who had to stop and take a break because this was a killer incline.  Girls,  you know your mama will love you no matter what, but can I just tell you how proud I am of you that you knocked the snot out of this trail. (wiping the imaginary tear)… so proud.

My Brooke had been wanting to hike up to the Hollywood sign so off we went. We took the difficult way up because God forbid we do anything easy.  Oh no, we just aren’t that family.  We headed straight up, scaling rocks at some points.

After checking out the Wisdom Tree and stacking rocks, the girls and I sauntered over the mountain tops as we made our way to the Hollywood sign which sat a few peaks away. I lagged in the rear, as I took in the breathtaking views from every angle,  stumbling over my feet every so often when my gaze hung too long.

Griffith Observatory- Hollywood- Downtown LA- the beach- the San Gabriel mountains- Forest Lawn.

And as stunning as these images were, it was not these sights that captured my attention. It was burnt branches.

Burnt branches.


Burnt branches sticking up through green lush brush.

I had read that in 2007 there had been a fire in these hills that had devastated much of its covering but had never noticed these branches before.

Lord, what is it about these branches? Why do they seem to draw me into them? 

Ahhh…. and just as when the fog begins to lift, bringing with it new understanding, these branches came to life. The message was so incredibly clear.

If those branches weren’t there I would have forgotten about the fire, the devastation that had taken place. I would not have remembered what had happened. And yet…

the landscaped appeared even more stunning because of their presence.

Burnt branches in the midst of greenery- new growth- new life.

You see where I am going, dear sisters? My prayer for you this new year is for new growth. New blessings. New life. New richness. New healing. Newness

But even more so, dear sisters, in the midst of that which is thriving and full of life may we see the beauty of that which made us who we are.

Reminders of what we have been through.

What we have endured.

What we have suffered, for that suffering has brought strength- compassion-  depth.

And that, dear sisters, is beautiful.

As life begins to grow up and around these burnt branches, may we have eyes to see, the beauty in where we have come from in the midst of where we are.

May we praise the one who still gives us life, who heals the broken-hearted, who restores what was broken and taken from us, who redeems, who heals, who loves…. who loves us, sisters.

May we see Him in the midst of our landscape, among the greenery, among the burnt branches.

May we see Him in the midst of it all.


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