Spring is in full bloom here in Hummelstown, PA, so last week I decided to start working in my flower garden to clean up all of the dead branches, leaves, and debris, including the shrubs and perennials that come back every spring. I neglected to prune them back in the fall. Like the leaves that shriveled and dropped, I left my rose bushes, peonies, and the branches of my Hydrangeas (pictured above) to dry up. The little dried puffs swayed all winter long, light and airy on frigid days.
As Easter approached, I set about plucking the dead branches off, and discarding the dead puffs. Even though it was no longer bearing fruit from the past season, I felt a sadness as I broke off what once was, to make room for the new, Within one week's time, however, my bush budded new shoots. It was simply waiting for me to take care of the the leftover dead weight from the past.
Spiritually, God tells us that we should go through the same process. Jesus shared the following verses with his disciples during the Passover meal the night He was betrayed and before He was handed over to be crucified.
“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
I am learning to trust that God's pruning is a good process to go through. But early on in my relationship with Him, I did not like the process. It felt painful and discouraging. I did not like to think I had failed in a situation or in a relationship. But His gentle guidance told me otherwise--He was teaching me how to become more. His pruning thins out all the stagnant spiritual growth in my heart in order to make room for more of Him and His purpose in my life.
I believe I am entering into a pruning process once again. But this time, I am (hopefully) ready for it. I will be 50 years old in a week, so I am reflecting on my new year that is ahead. In the Bible the 49th and 50th years are special to God. I'll share more about the Year of Jubilee in my next blog, but for now, I am holding on for the ride and trusting the process, to see what new growth He has for me!
Where is the Lord showing up in your life this season? How do you respond when He challenges you to grow! Please share your comments below!
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