My favorite part of spring is planting big flower pots that I scatter around the deck and yard. I love mixing all sorts of annual flowers, grasses, and greenery in each pot so it looks sort of like it all just happily and accidentally ended up together in one big bunch! Here’s a little sample of what I’m talking about:
Beautiful, right?! After seeing that, you probably think I’m an excellent gardner. Sadly, you’d be mistaken! Give me a cool, clay pot and some annuals, I’m good to go. Give me a perennial, however, and I will go running in the other direction.
I LOVE the way they look in other people’s yards and I wish I had the knowledge and courage to grow them. The thing is, they scare the buh-geezes out of me. Once they start to grow, you can’t just simply let them do their own thing like you do with annuals. With annuals, you just water them, maybe cut a few for a pretty little bud vase in your kitchen, douse them with miracle grow every now and again, and then in the heat and dryness of September when they are all stringing or dried out, you pull them out and replace them with mums that you pull out and toss at the end of November (at least that’s what I do here in the Midwest…)!
But perennials…oh sisters. These are things that LIVE ON, even through floods, tornadoes, droughts, and seasons. Year after year, these amazing plants can flourish and bring beauty to the world if cared for properly. But the very thing they need in order to bloom and grow in their appointed time and way is the VERY THING I am so afraid to do to them – PRUNE.
What if I lop off something I wasn’t supposed to? What if I cut too much off and stunt its growth? What if I don’t prune enough and that keeps it from blooming next year? WHAT IF IT HURT IT SOMEHOW?!? It’s too much pressure for this uneducated sister gardener to handle! Lord have mercy on my gardening skills!
John 15:1-2 tells us that WE, my dear friends, are God’s perennials, connected to the very source of our life – Jesus Christ. And THANK GOD He is the gardener who does our pruning because we surely would not want a gardener the likes of me getting a hold of those divine pruning shears, believe you me.
I am the True Vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser. Any branch in Me that does not bear fruit [that stops bearing] He cuts away (trims off, takes away); and He cleanses and repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit, to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit. John 15:1-2, AMP
Last week we talked a lot about letting God chisel. I still believe and support that statement whole heartedly. We gotta let Him break down the walls we build up to uncover the masterpiece within. But after thinking about it, chiseling feels like a one-time event, at least to me. A piece of stone is chiseled away to reveal the beauty inside. And then what? Nothing. But pruning? WOW. Pruning is a continual and ON GOING process that ensures the growth and renewal of the creation! Lord, I want to be PRUNED!
And then I’m brought back to my frightened, misguided gardening self, imagining the pain, injury, or mistakes pruning might very well inflict on the creation being pruned. What if letting God prune ME hurts?
“Let me prune,” He commands.
In my mind’s eye, I picture Him calling to me so I approach the gates of His Holy potting shed to inquire if this will hurt; to see if He really knows what He is doing. I’m greeted by the image of a stunning rose bush, full of gorgeous multicolored blooms. I reach out to draw one to my nose to smell and I’m immediately pricked by a sharp thorn on the stem. I withdraw my hand in pain and He appears at the door of the shed and I imagine what He would say:
“Yes, Wendie. It may hurt a little when I remove the excess in your life so that you can bear the rich fruit I intend you to bear. You can make the choice to grow wild and free away from my tending. But just like this rose, no matter how beautiful you may appear on the outside, without some pruning, you will inevitably pierce someone along the way and create a hurt that was unnecessary and would not have happened if you had just let me remove your thorns.”
Alright, Lord. Go for it.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. John 15:5-7, NIV.
Let God prune and see what beauty He creates from your tangled branches and thorns! I cannot wait to witness it!
Up Later this week: Tending Your Garden