Mercy in the Withering



At the back edge of my daughter’s yard there stands a gnarled, withered old apple tree. When I spent several days with her last week, I found myself drawn to this tree each morning.  It was the aging of the fruit scattered on the ground and the withering of the leaves that felt familiar to me somehow.


Have you ever looked around at days that feel wasted? Fruit that has gone past its prime?


As I stood staring at the tree, and as I sat on the deck pondering the picture, I heard a whisper calling me to look differently. Where I first was taken with the gnarled branches, the still small voice within me spoke,


“Where you see only waste, I see abundance. Where you see only withering, I see a solid trunk that continues to stretch Heavenward.”


And a small Haiku offering came bubbling to the surface of my heart:

Antique Apple Tree

Gnarled trunk stretches

Carries on with life even

When age withers leaf.


He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV


Nothing is ever wasted in God’s great Loving Timeline. He alone sets the days and the times for each of us, but as long as we have life there is fruit from the vine to be gained.


Over the past month of my blog break, the word “mercy” has taken on new meaning for me. In the past I could only tumble grace and mercy together in one large pot. Granted, they do fit together, but I believe there is a depth of mercy that can only be felt as we acknowledge the utter brokenness of our being.


Looking at my own withering has brought me to my knees. When GRACE feels like a gift too far above me, MERCY is something that I can cry out for. I know that I don’t deserve anything, and yet our God’s compassions are stirred when I look up and cry out for mercy from Him.


He meets me in the broken places and pours His mercy there. And my limbs stretch up towards Him, longing for more.


My daughter and I shared in God’s mercies as we lifted the hard trials that we each bore up to Him. And He met us with the gift of a song that expresses so clearly the words of our hearts:



When I returned home from my daughter’s house last week, I was so blessed at the words shared by my dear friend Joy Lenton over at her site Words of Joy.  Looking for moments of joy, she found God’s gifts scattered throughout her day.  On that very morning, His mercies were new for me also:





The day after I began yet another RA medication, this Morning Glory opened its glowing heart. As I heard God call me outside to rest with my coffee, there it lifted its radiant star next to me.


Radiant Mercy

Radiant life glows

New every morning with the

Mercies of my Lord.


Are you in a place that feels withered and wasted? Would you pray with me today?


Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for the gift of Your mercies. Thank You that You are not repelled by our brokenness, but that You are drawn by our cries for mercy.  And so we do cry out:  Lord, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Have mercy on me.  We feel so withered by the aging this world heaves upon us. We groan along with creation, awaiting our full redemption. Will You pour over us Your new mercies, here today?  Will You fill us with Your new life as we are waiting before You? We raise our arms before You here, looking up to Your great love.

In the name of Jesus we pray,



“It is of the Lord‘s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”     Lamentations 3:22-23 KJV



I am linking this week with:







29 thoughts on “Mercy in the Withering

  1. Bettie, gazing at the tree I stood beside you in my mind’s eye, soaking in your picturesque word flow of God’s blessing and exploring the depths of the personal meanings God passed on to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Linda, I am so thankful that you could join in with me here, by God’s Spirit connecting us! He does bring such deep personal thoughts to our hearts. What an amazing merciful Lord we have. His touch stirs up life within us. Hugs for you from afar! xo


  2. Your words also remind me that everything is mercy and grace, and when I don’t see it that way, it’s not because it isn’t so, but because my vision is so often not in line with God’s.
    Always blessed by you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bettie, this is so beautiful! I love your haiku and your words that ring with truth. “He meets me in the broken places and pours His mercy there. And my limbs stretch up towards Him, longing for more.” I’m so glad His mercy is everlasting and He pours it generously on us. Blessings, love and hugs to you, dear sister! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Gayl,
      Thank you so much for your sweet encouragement here! He is so generous with His mercy towards us, isn’t He? I want to keep my eyes open to see more of the ways that He pours His love over us. Even on those hard days, He is still so near to us! Blessings, love and hugs to you dear poet/sister/friend! xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, sweet friend! Withered and wasted ~ yes, I can surely relate to feeling that way. Sometimes, I cannot figure things out at all, and so much seems so mysterious. I know God is working behind the scenes and under the surface, and surely He is in control. It is just so hard to see any fruit sometimes, and I can surely see the lessons you saw and gleaned in that old tree. I hope your dear daughter is okay. I am praying for both of you and sending love and hugs to you both.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Cheryl,
      Thank you so much for your sweet prayers for myself and for my daughter too. You are such an encouragement to so many, and I see the beautiful fruit of the Lord in all that you share. But I surely understand and can agree with you that it’s hard to see that sometimes. His ways are mysterious to us aren’t they? That reminds me of the old hymn, “We’ll tallk It over, in the By-and-By.” Oh what a joyous time that will be! I loved hearing you sing your own song this week over at your site! What a blessing from the Lord. Hugs and Love to you!


  5. Bettie oh how I can relate to feeling withered and wasted. It’s times like this that I remember how much God loves me and takes care of me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Amen, Regina! He really does care of us through all of our days, even when we feel most withered. Thank you for your sweet words and visit here. Blessings to you!


  6. Beautiful post, Bettie! I love the analogy, and the way you brought mercy and grace to light in a new way. God’s mercies truly are new every morning, thank you for carrying on in His strength. Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by here today, and for your kind words! I am so grateful for His new mercies. I have been learning ever more deeply how much I dependent upon those mercies! New every morning, and so beautifully given by His hand. Blessings to you!


    1. Julie, I am so thankful that the Lord touched you here. His mercies truly are so deep for us, so much deeper than we realize. I appreciate your prayers and thoughts so much! Love and Blessings to you!!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Alyson, Oh thank you for the reminder of that precious verse. It is one of my favorites. I love the way that the Lord ties everything together through His Word to us. Blessings to you!


  7. Your post here is like a hug from God to me today, Bettie. “Where you see only waste, I see abundance. Where you see only withering, I see a solid trunk that continues to stretch Heavenward.” This whisper from God to your soul started me weeping. Satan has been shooting his “not enough” arrows into my mind, causing me to flounder a lot this summer. I get so weary of the battle sometimes. I thank God for you and your encouragement! Thank you for this hope-filled post! Love and hugs to you, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Dear Trudy, your words have brought tears to my eyes also today. Isn’t our Lord so precious to see just what we need? Those enemy arrows dart and pierce us in the most broken of places! But Jesus is so full of mercy to come running to our aid. You are in my prayers dear sister. Your words have meant so much to me through these years that the Lord connected us in this digital space. I pray that you will know how special you are to so many of us here. Love and hugs to you my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I am joining you in prayer. There is withering in my life but in contrast I see the abundance. I am so grateful for God’s new mercies. Knowing I can start each morning with a blank slate makes it easier to face the day. These words bless me and I love Audrey Assad’s song!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Mary,
      Oh yes, those fresh & clean mornings are such a gift. I am so thankful for your joined prayers here. It is hard to see our own withering, but that contrast is amazing when God shows it to us. And, I’m so glad you liked that song by Audrey Assad–she shares such heartfelt singing! Blessings to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I love that tree, I see beauty in a life that has weathered all the seasons but kept reaching for the light & still producing fruit in its old age, fruit to nourish both the palate & the surrounding earth for next seasons growth! Just like us! Praise God!
    Great post Bettie!


    1. Dear Jennifer,
      Thank you for adding your lovely words to the conversation here! I love this thought, “fruit to nourish both the palate & the surrounding earth for next seasons growth.” Amen. He is preparing the ground for the next season, even in the place where we might feel the most withered. What a precious place to be with HIM, right here in His garden. Blessings to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Bettie, this is such a beautiful and encouraging word that speaks to me on so many levels. How we need the reminder it’s our rootedness in Christ which counts the most, not our perceived vitality or strength! It’s such a balm for my wilted, weary soul. Praise God we can remain vigorous on the inside, even if our flesh ages and succumbs to illness. Your thoughts also reminded me of Psalm 92. These lines were a prompt for a recent poem as well:

    “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
     they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
    planted in the house of the Lord,
     they will flourish in the courts of our God.
    They will still bear fruit in old age,
     they will stay fresh and green”

    Thank you so much for seeing the inner liveliness hidden in what seems dead, for your thoughtful haiku and for the kind mention too. May you draw hope from considering how alive you are to God. A tree rests itself as it spreads its branches to become shelter for others. I believe you do that here, dear friend. Blessings and love. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Joy,
      It’s so lovely to find your comment here today! Your words are such an inspiration to me, and Psalm 92 fits so well with the whispers of the Lord to me. He somehow does allow us to bear fruit in our old age, causing us to stay fresh and green in HIM. And, yes, it is our rootedness in Him that counts the most, and joins us to His precious Life and vitality. I pray along with you that I would hold onto His hope that speaks His life to me, and that I could rest myself in Him right there, in His shelter. Blessings, love, and hugs to you my Dear Friend!

      Liked by 1 person

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