Dead Inside by Julie Arduini

That’s quite the cheery title, am I right? Thankfully it isn’t completely how I feel, although my patience for this most unpredictable of years is running thin.

There’s been the quarantine, the election, I had to go back to my hometown for a bit, my garage door opener broke and started to plummet as I was driving in, our furnace died, and then this.

That’s our willow tree after a recent NE Ohio windstorm. The winds were so loud we didn’t even hear the tree fall. Crazy.

The praise is it did not hit the house or anyone. Although the trampoline is a goner, that wasn’t new and didn’t see a ton of use. We have a memorial garden and a fire pit that the tree missed. So if it had to fall, it did fall in the best way. I’m not excited about the $500 deductible when we’ve already had the garage door and furnace to deal with, but that’s another post for another day.

As my son and I went out to look at the damage, he noted the tree’s condition. He said, “No wonder it fell. It’s dead inside.” Rotted. No support.

I thought back over the summer. It was a quick observation as my husband and I worked on other outdoor things. He noticed that willow tree wasn’t producing any leaves. Had we taken the time to think about it, we would have realized something was signficantly wrong with the tree. When in good health, the tree had deep roots, strong support, and abundant life with all the leaves.

So many leaves and branches, that wilow tree.

Yet, I missed the sign. It was standing tall and didn’t seem to be crying out for help.

And now it’s horizontal across our back yard.

The scene reminds me of what backsliding looks like.

If the term is unfamiliar to you, it’s when a believer in Christ slowly steps away from obedience. I’ve never seen it happen in a spontaneous event, rather a small burn of little triggers.

That accidental pop-up that we look at that has no business being in front of our eyes.

Then we click on the site once.

Then daily.

Then it feeds our soul day in, day out.

To look on the outside, there’s little to see at first that something might be wrong. We’re still smiling. Probably even going to church and volunteering. But the inside is rotting because we’ve backed off from Bible reading and prayer.

Backsliding can be with any choice that takes us away from Christ, I just used an example that is so rampant, especially for believers in Christ. The results, no matter what our sin, if unchecked and unconfessed, look a lot like my back yard.

A lot of damage.

2020 has been hard. I’ve only highlighted some issues our family has dealt with, but if I truly expanded on some of it, the grief I would share would be deep. I’m confused by a lot of things and sometimes more afraid that I want to admit. But to not confess it starts a slide I don’t want to be a part of.

If this year has you moving your boundaries and making choices you’ve justified or you flat out know is wrong, you don’t have to live like my willow tree, or die like it. You are so valuable and important that God is a Master at forgiving us, helping us, and putting us on a path where our core is strong and we produce life and hope along the way.

Here’s a sample prayer:

Heavenly Father, I ask in the name of Jesus that You give me the strength to admit that I am missing the mark. I’m making choices that grieve You, and I’m sorry. Will you forgive me for (name your sin/s.) Thank You for that, and for restoring me. Please send divine connections who can encourage me and keep me accountable. Fill me with hunger for Your Word and a thirst to spend my day with You. Thank You for loving me. For Your glory and honor, Amen and Amen.

About juliearduini

Julie Arduini loves to encourage readers to find freedom in Christ by surrendering the good, the bad, and ---maybe one day---the chocolate. She’s the author of the new contemporary romance series SURRENDERING HEARTS (Anchored Hearts, Repairing Hearts, +four more.) Her other romance series is SURRENDERING TIME (Entrusted, Entangled, Engaged.) She also co-wrote a YA series with her daughter, SURRENDERING STINKIN’ THINKIN’ (You’re Beautiful, You’re Amazing, You’re Brilliant.) Her stand-alone romances include MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN and RESTORING CHRISTMAS. Julie maintains a blog at and participates in the team blog Christians Read. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Learn more by visiting her at
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5 Responses to Dead Inside by Julie Arduini

  1. Nancy J. Farrier says:

    What a good reminder to take care of the inside and not neglect our relationship with Jesus. Thank you, Julie.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful. I love that you mentioned you noticed something was off with the tree but did not dig deep to find out what it was because it still looked strong. Some brother’s and sister’s in the faith do not have accountability partners or like accountability. But thanks be to God for His comforting Spirit. 2020 has been a challenge for me. Slaying dragons, and breaking strongholds. To YHWH alone be the glory. Blessings and increase to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • juliearduini says:

      Until that tree fell I never thought about how much we can liken the dead tree with our walk in faith when we’re struggling. Accountability partners are so important. Believe that breakthrough is near for all of us, as you write, for His glory alone! Thanks so much for reading and leaving a comment. Blessings to you, Julie

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are most welcome Ms. Julie. Your words are so encouraging. May our Abba, have His way in our lives more and more. May we give Him our whole hearts and seek Him while He can be found, so we can be well in every area of our lives. May we decrease that He may increase. : )

        Liked by 1 person

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