Each morning during this past Lent, I started my day with coffee and the rosary in my favorite love seat facing my sliding glass doors going out to my patio.
When I began the rosary, it was dark and you could not see anything, but as I continued to pray, the rays of the sun slowly started to creep into my patio garden space. There was not much growing out there. Lots of pots ready to be filled, but waiting until the weather got a bit warmer and more agreeable.
There were two plants, though, that were still going.
They are miniature rose bushes that I “rescued” from Kroger a few years back. When I got them, they were sickly looking but I knew roses were resilient when properly cared for.
To nurse them back to help, I actually had to prune them almost down to the soil. To those who don’t garden, that seems very counter-intuitive. How does cutting back a plant help it grow? You want more stems and leaves, not less, right? Yes, but by keeping those unhealthy parts of the plant, the energy the plant takes in from the soil is wasted on parts that will never thrive.
You have to help the plant direct that energy in the right direction by taking away those dead or diseased parts.
Over time, through pruning and lots of care, my roses thrived and started putting out beautiful yellow and pink roses. Now each year, I still have to prune my roses, but not to take away dead parts, but to encourage new growth and even more blooms the next year. I cannot wait to see what this year will bring for my roses after pruning them again.
God does the same thing and I’ve encountered that pruning from time to time.
Sometimes because there are unhealthy parts of my life that needs to be cut away and sometimes because God wants to encourage new growth in my life. As much as it hurts, with just a little time and faith, I always come back stronger.
God has led me to different places throughout my life, from California to East Texas to West Texas to Florida and now to Arkansas. Each time, He pruned parts of my life to stay behind but then cared for me to grow stronger and able to bear more fruit.
The most recent was the pruning away of a beloved young adult group that drew me to Little Rock over six years ago.
That group helped me grow in my faith and created the best circle of friends I could ask for. God had (and has) other plans for me and our group. He took it out of my life and though I have not seen the final fruits from that pruning, I can see them starting to form. By pruning this one parish group out of my life, He has been growing a much large effort for our entire diocese. I’m still discerning where I fit into this amazing new ministry, but God is feeding my new growth to help His young adults here and I’m excited!
So remember, yes, it hurts to be pruned, but God knows what He’s doing and has much bigger plans for you than you could ever imagine.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit. You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.” -John 15:1-3