With spring around the corner, numerous yardwork projects have been calling our name. As proud new home owners, we couldn’t bear the idea of someone else doing our yardwork, so we proceeded to Lowe’s to purchase what seemed like every landscaping tool invented. On the ride to the store, Caleb soaked in YouTube videos, learning how to avoid “crape murder.” When pruning a crape myrtle, the goal is to cut off anything that is dead or dying. Then you cut off any irregular branch growth that unintentionally takes away from the desired ‘V shape’. The exhausting work results in a beautifully blossoming tree a few months later.
30 minutes in, Caleb and I were practically pros. That is until I managed to twist my ankle. Caleb gave me a bag of ice and continued to hack away. My ice bag and I sat on the sidewalk in defeat, watching Caleb trim the rest of the trees. And of course, God couldn’t resist the opportunity to teach me a lesson.
Over the past few months, I have experienced significant change: new house, new work roles, and new family members just to name a few. New branches are forming in my life, and rather than allowing God to help me process these things, I have taken life into my own hands. My unintentionality has resulted in life’s branches being mangled together. No ‘V shape’ here! Branches that once flourished now dangle broken and withering. Rather than letting God transform me, I transplanted myself and ran from His process.
If I were to be honest, the past few months I have played the role of gardener, refusing to let God prune my heart. If I were to be gut-wrenchingly honest, I have done so because I fear being on the sidelines. Because when God is in control, His pruning forces me to release something, to experience loss. Sometimes I can view God more as a lumberjack than a gardener. When God forces us to sit on the sideline, we can easily feel robbed of importance, abandoned by loved ones, and even at times forgotten by God Himself as He walks away, taking pieces of us. But what we don’t realize is that as He removes a branch, a healthier branch grows back in its place. A branch more beautiful than before.
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
So return your yardwork loppers to God and let Him finish the pruning process. Allow God to cut off dead, old and withering branches that no longer add beauty or fullness to your life. As you open up your hands and your heart in surrender to God, He will replace those fears with His favor. You will continue to flourish into the complete, breath-taking godly woman God desires for you to be.