Life isn't always a beach~

 Sometimes it's a swamp or a fire.....

You've heard the saying I'm sure, "Life's a Beach!". Well, I am here to tell you, that's not always true. And coming from someone who lives near the beach, you should listen to me. I know this from experience. Sometimes life is a swamp. A wetland of wild things that will eat and destroy you if you aren't careful. Don't get me wrong, I  love the swamp, and in real life you can often find me there. Something about the cycle of life there, and the creatures in it mesmerize me.  Surrounding these swamps sometimes are wildlife management areas.  Driving thru one for my first time, I saw areas with trees blackened from the ground up, with charred ground and little brush around them and thought, "Oh no! There was a fire here!". Well, I was correct, there had been a fire, but it was a "controlled burn". 

Controlled burns (also known as prescribed burning), are used in forestry management. YOu can read more about them here. From Forestry management uses these for various reasons and you can read about it here.  But a few of the reasons behind these burns struck me as I drove through this past weekend and noticed areas in varying degrees of growth.  The burns help get rid of fuel buildup to avoid hotter fires (dead trees and brush), they can also be used to stimulate growth in the forest.
Our lives have burns in them. Sometimes they aren't controlled, and they burn way too much of our lives and hearts. Sometimes that heat touches everyone in our path, sometimes we put it out before anyone notices it. But our healing and re-growth is similar to that of the forests. Sometimes we look like this.

But when the healing is beginning, the new life and hope can be seen, just barely, but it's there.

Then new life and hope REALLY begin to take hold! And it starts bursting up with tons of color!

Until finally, hardly any evidence of the burn remains at all, on the outside that is. On the inside, if one could see, they would notice the difference. They would notice that someone they thought was strong-is charred but healing, and getting stronger than anyone knew could be possible. They would notice the life and hope-once almost extinguished, is now growing more than ever. 

I've recently looked back over many encounters in my life, and new friendships, and seen that even through the burning in my life, God has never let that burn get too far out of control. Just when I always thought I would perish in the fire, He was there to calm the flames and put the fire out.  I strive everyday to continue the growth of hope and new life. Some days the winds fan the flames.  Some days there's rain to save me from the burning. But there is always life, and hope. I'm going to continue to welcome the fire, because I know that something good will come out of it. I used to wonder why there were so many fires in my life at times-the a good friend told me this~
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 
3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
NIV, James 1:2-3

Here are some other swampy and woodsy pics you might enjoy. 
Love you all~


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