Just a a little pruning, boys.

It’s finally warm enough in Houston to prune my climbing roses. I have three climbers, and they are a mess. Luckily, my boys are grounded from the Xbox, so they are officially enlisted to assist me with the big chop.
img_4003Some roses pretty much grow year round in Houston, though most still need an annual pruning to put on a good show in spring. Mine are in desperate need of attention. There is dead wood mixed in with new growth which prohibits airflow and can, and has, cause disease.

My roses have been through a lot this year. After all, they survived the pounding rain, forceful winds, and floods of hurricane Harvey. They also survived surprisingly below freezing temperatures seldom seen in this part of the country. They survived my boys nearly running them over with the mower and the trimmer. They survived our pug dog’s horrible choice of where to potty. And here, you see, they are still blooming. Somehow through all those tests and storms, I was able to cut a couple sad-looking blooms and place them in a vase.

These roses are a testimony to what is possible within our lives. Life brings heavy storms. And if we all knew what was coming, we would swear that we wouldn’t make it through. Yet, somehow we do. We pull through…just like my roses.

But…

If I leave these roses alone after this last year of trials, they may survive, but it won’t be pretty.

The harshest test of all for my roses will be my attempt to prune them. I’ll cut them back to nearly nothing. I may knick some good vines in the process. I will definitely cut off all the winter growth, and they won’t look like much after I put away my garden shears. To quote my youngest, “you always cut them down to nothing!”

God does this to me sometimes. He allows life to cut me to the quick. I don’t believe He wishes to bring me harm. I do believe he disciplines me so I know where to grow next.

God’s plan for our lives is to cut away whatever is no longer growing or serving His purpose. He knows that if we keep the old dead diseased aspects of our life, we won’t bloom into what He desires.

Pruning is one of most difficult lessons for a Christian to learn. Sometimes the direction we want to grown is not in our best interest nor does it fit into the Great Gardener’s plan. We must submit to the Gardener, though it hurts. We must submit to the Gardener’s plan even if our plan seems easier and painless.

If life has brought you pain this year, try to see it as pruning. If a prayer was answered with a ‘no’ from the Great Gardener, press on and pray that He leads you to where you can best grow.

Spring is coming and with the Great Gardener’s help, your new life lessons will make you unstoppable, healthy, and beautiful. After all, this life we live is His garden, not ours.

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 15:2

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