Friday, August 22, 2008

How often do you prune?

I have been seriously neglecting my garden, in more ways than one. During today’s preparations, outdoors, to get ready for the arrival of tropical storm Fay, I decided to put off overlooking the garden.
I am no seasoned gardener so the small plot of earth I have, in raised beds my husband made for me, I have done the best I can with the small amounts of knowledge I learn through trial and error. The hot summers of Florida have only allowed me to grow tomatoes, successfully. But for some reason, this year, even my tomato production has been very poor. I was puzzled about the lack of production when I checked in on them this morning because the bushes are surprisingly lush and hearty looking. I did remember reading in a book of mine called “The Vegetable Gardeners Bible” that tomato plants need to be pruned. With that information, last year, I kept up on the pruning of my tomato bushes and had an abundance of tomatoes. This year I have not kept up on the pruning and have been left with these un producing plants.
So, I went in the house and brought back some pruning shears to get to work. My daughter, almost 4, eager to do what mommy does joined in right along with me. I gave her a dull pair of scissors to use to cut away “just like mommy”.
While simply and quietly cutting away all the excess branches, God revealed something magnificently wonderful as well as quite disheartening. As lush and hearty as these tomato plants seem to be there was no production, yet lots of extra “fluff”. In further research I came to find out the importance of pruning tomato bushes. All the extra branches actually use up, valuable, energy of the plants producing qualities on nothing more than a pretty accessory. To get a fair amount of delightfully plump tomatoes the branches must be pruned back to leave a, rather, bare looking trunk. Needless to say my tomato plants actually look more miserable now than with all the “fluff” with no fruit.
It was then that I saw the importance in allowing God to prune all the “fluff” from our heats and desires. It’s hard to come to that place where we allow God to cut us down to nothing while at the same time keeping our complete trust in him that the “pruning” will bring forth more production than not. This is why it was disheartening. I have been filling my heart and desires with “fluff” and it left me feeling rather convicted. I saw amongst all my own “fluff” I have reached a place stagnation in my relationship with my husband. Lately I have felt “why can’t he just give me a break” besides “I always do”, not entirely true. Marriage seems to be a lifelong battle of give and take. When one is, most likely, taking more than the other. But if I had been concerning myself with allowing the Lord to prune my righteous fluff, He would have filled my heart with love and a desire to serve and not with this spirit of contention that am I struggling with now.
While we are busy concerning ourselves with what the outside looks and feels like we can’t allow God to deal with the inside. Besides, why should we? We look so hearty and healthy. But if you look close enough you will see no growth and even worse, no production. Just like with my tomatoes, the bush has reached a pretty place of stagnation. Although it looks great, it’s of no use to me while it’s not producing fruit to fill my family’s bellies. While we to are no use to God while we fester on getting what’s ours and not sharing what’s His.
The second part to what God showed me was for mothers especially. Remember how I mentioned earlier that my daughter couldn’t wait to follow my lead. As great as that made me feel that I just may be doing something right because she actually wants to be around me; God showed me something. She has no idea why we are pruning these bushes. And you know what; she won’t for a long time. She will probably understand the practical reason before the spiritual reason. But as long as your are teaching your children Gods ways, bit by bit, they will one day come to a place of understanding to allow God to prune their own hearts. That’s the purpose isn’t it? To raise children that choose to one day serve and love God on their own? That is my greatest desire!


Anonymous said...

Looks like you learned a valuable lesson with your garden AND how it translates to your own life. Some of my favorite portions of the scriptures are those that deal with aspects of horticulture because I am amazed at the parallels to our own lives. I have been walking in similar shoes lately, trying to look at my life and the things I need to prune away for the sake of me and my family. Great post!

Landra Lynn said...

This looks like a great lesson with Mother Nature and life in general.

Great post!

Sygnet Creations said...

I tagged you on my looky =)