Tuesday, July 15, 2014


“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:1-2 (NIV)

It was a beautiful tree. It had big lush green leaves, a winding trunk, and big fuscia-pink flowers. It provided the perfect amount of privacy from my kitchen table to the front street. I loved to sit at the kitchen table of my old house and look out toward that tree and the beautiful landscaping around it. It was such a peaceful, quiet time spot for me. Well, one day the landscapers came to “spruce thing up” as they made their rounds through the neighborhood mowing loans, trimming hedges, and shaping trees. They usually did a good job, except they always cut the trees back too low…I thought they were just being careless and lazy…just making sure they didn’t have to trim the trees often.

On this particular day, I made a special note reminding myself to ask the landscaper to trim the tree slightly so it did not look haggard by the time he left. Well, I heard them coming as they were making their way from the neighbor’s yard to my yard. One guy was cutting the grass, so I figured I had a few minutes before I needed to make my way outside. I didn’t. I went to complete a task only to come back and find that another guy had come at the same time to trim the tree and the hedges.

Sticks were the only things left of this beautiful tree. It was beyond hideous! Not a single flower or green leaf was left. How could they call this landscaping?! I was mad. So mad that I let the landscaper know how frustrated I was that he had just butchered my tree. There was no more privacy. As I sat at the kitchen table for quiet time, my neighbors going on their morning walk would look toward my direction and wave. Ahhhhh! I was frustrated!

BUT the strangest thing happened: after a couple of weeks of sun and rain, that tree started to bloom from the inside out. Green leaves, buds, and flowers had sprouted up all over the barren branches. It turns out that even though that tree was bountiful on the outside, the inside was barren and needed some sun and rain. The inner branches had to be exposed in order to bear flowers.

Has there ever been a time in your life when you felt pruned to the max? Like God had given you too many burdens, too much pain? Have you ever felt barren or exposed or vulnerable? I have! I can name quite a few times: when my brother and dad died, when we miscarried our second child, when my husband disappointed me, when I felt like my kids were testing me to my limits, when we had to short sale our house.

BUT God was faithful through it all, and just like that tree, He produced fruit and spiritual muscles in my life that I did not have before. Some of those times of trial had produced an incredible surge in my spiritual growth. If you know someone who is going through a tough time, where they feel completely pruned, or if you are going through a tough time of pruning, I want to encourage you that God will transform the haggard brokenness into beauty.

Challenge: Do you know someone who is hurting? How can you better serve them? Remember that one of the best things you can do for them is to remember them in your prayers. Stand in the gap for them. Pray that God will shower them with his Son and the light that only He can give.

Heavenly Father, you love us so much. In fact your Word says that you are love. Yet you often allow seasons of pain and pruning in our lives that we don’t understand. Please hold us when we need it the most. Shower us with the love of your Son. Rain your Holy Spirit on us so that we may know that you are near. Help us to be soothing balm to those who are hurting and feeling exposed. Help us to not just pray for our own needs, but for the needs of others. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Further reading: John 15:1-17

***This is a repost of an earlier blog last April, but I am reposting it because rereading it has encouraged me greatly. Once again, my family and I are in a season of intense pruning. I do not like the process, but I find myself thanking God for the results. I have grown in so many ways, and I am so thankful that I am not the woman that I used to be. I pray that this blog post blesses you today.

In His love,

1 comment:

  1. "Jesus, please bless Teresa and her family as they go through this difficult time. I pray they would sense Your presence and protection as You stretch them and grow them. Help them to keep their eyes on You and what you want them to learn in the trail and not the trial itself. For Your glory, Abba!"