When we first moved to our current house, there was a tree in the back yard that was a bit of a mystery. You could barely tell it was a tree as vines had grown up and covered it over. Some dead fruit on the ground suggested that it was probably a fruit tree, but that was the only clue I had - it was that unrecognizable. So I chopped away at the vines and uprooted them so they wouldn't come back at the tree. When the tree was visible again, it was a strange sight - bent, gnarled, growing at odd and unsustainable angles as it had been forced to do under the weight and covering of the vines. I had to prune off a good third of the tree just to get it back to viable. Truthfully, I wasn't sure it would survive what I had to do to it. But it did. And more than survive, the tree began to thrive, to be tremendously fruitful, and to grow to its new shape. This year it is covered in (I estimate) about 1500 pears - so many that the limbs are breaking (literally!) with the fruitfulness.
Often times, life, circumstances and even our own choices come at us like the vines - covering and weighing us down to the point where we are unrecognizable, even to ourselves. We lose our shape, our fruitfulness, and all we can do is simply fight in whatever ways our souls can muster, to find the light of day. And we wonder - am I too far gone? Is my soul too gnarled, too bent? Has too much damage been done? And could I ever survive what might be necessary for my healing and restoration. And God replies: you are not too far gone. You are not beyond restoring. You've not been lost forever under the weight of life and stress and loss and pain. You're still in there, I'm still for you, and i will make a way to bring you back to yourself, back to the truth of you written in Me. I will bring you back to my good plans and purposes for your life. You will always have a place in my heart, in my house, in my kingdom.
I invite you to hope today. To believe that the vines weighing down your soul can be broken off. To believe that the pain inherent in the process of restoration will be worth it. Working together, we can find you again and help you back to life and fruitfulness.