Beneath the Shears

Friday, March 18, 2016

As you may remember from my earlier post “Branch Upon Branch”, I’ve been working on a remodeling project in our back yard. We have had three areas where some ancient junipers had grown into huge behemoths that were an incredible eyesore. Their original purpose was to protect our yard from incoming golf balls. However, prior to us moving in, they had been allowed to grow to mammoth sizes, their practical use far outweighed by the “ugly-factor”. So, I began a project to prune the underbelly of the beasts, so to speak, to shape them into Cypress-type trees.

The bushes to the east of our yard turned out beautifully! I love the effect of the gently draping branches falling over the twisted and beautifully gnarled trunks. The claustrophobic feeling in that part of the yard has been removed and light reaches all the way through the branches to the earth below. They have become a playground for birds that are a joy to watch! Plus, we can actually see the golf course through them now!

Because I had such success with those bushes, I was excited to begin on the group of three plants to the west of our yard. It was slow going, but as I clipped and pruned, their hidden shape began to form. Soon, however, it was obvious that more drastic cuts needed to be made. There were far too many tangled branches to save and, the deeper I went into the bushes, the more dead and diseased wood I discovered. So, yesterday, I got out my saw and one of the trio came down! (All that is left at this moment is a nice stump for my husband to dig out this weekend!) But, now that the branches have been cut out and the sun has reached the long hidden ground, I can see it is the perfect spot for new growth. English lavender will soon be in that space, bringing a sweet scent to the garden.

One thing I have learned through this process is that pruning is hard - very hard. I have discovered pain in muscles that I didn’t even know I had! And, the most difficult cuts, the ones that opened up the area to new growth, were the hardest.

Is there something in your life that God wants to cut out? Is there an area that should be pruned in order for you to grow spiritually?

I have been going through the pruning process lately. God has been removing dead wood from my life in order for new life to spring up. And you know what? Even though this process has been difficult and at times, painful, I am excited! I can sense God’s leading as I continue to stay near to Him.

“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

Abiding. Growing. New life. These are beautiful things I am discovering as I submit to His shears. In Bruce Wilkinson’s book, Secrets of the Vine, he shares that when going through the pruning process, “God isn’t trying to just take away; He’s faithfully at work to make room to add strength, productivity, and spiritual power in your life.”


Today, I am energized as I look forward to what God will produce in me! I am excited for this new growth emerging from my pruned branches and am joyfully welcoming the fruit He longs to produce.


Abiding in Him, Joan

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10 comments

  1. You're right: it can be so very painful, but thereafter so very freeing. I've been through a lot of pruning in my life lately, but it's made such a difference, removing walls that were stopping His Love from reaching me. There's more to come, for sure.

    Love how you share it in reference to your gardening experience: it makes for a vivid image of the process. Thank you for your encouragement here. (Visiting from Barbie's).

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    1. I think that is what I am experiencing right now...the freeing experience after the pruning. It is actually a very exciting time and I am looking forward to what God has in store! Thanks for stopping by from Barbie's Whispers of Grace!

      Blessings, Joan

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  2. Joan, I love your gardening analogy. We did some heavy pruning a year ago, now plants that before were small and insignificant - have grown - newly enabled to grow strong by the light and space that opened up around them. So, the pruning works on the whole garden to refresh. Visiting from Faith'nFriends.

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    1. What a gift it is that we are under the care of the Master Gardener! I'm excited for the growth that is being produced!

      Blessings, Joan

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  3. Valerie RichardsonMarch 20, 2016 at 6:11 AM

    Thank you for this lovely and fun reminder that something beautiful is in store for us after the painful process of being pruned. There's nothing like a well kept garden!

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    1. Thanks, Valerie! Yes, we can always count on beautiful things after God has been busy tending us! (And you, btw, have a beautiful garden!)

      Blessings, Joan

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  4. I'm so enjoying your insights and analogies from the work you are continuing to do in your yard.

    I liked the way Bruce Wilkinson framed pruning in the quote you shared, "“God isn’t trying to just take away; He’s faithfully at work to make room to add strength, productivity, and spiritual power in your life.” Such in encouragement in these words.

    I'm so glad I stopped by! :-)

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    1. Thanks, Karen! I hear we're supposed to write what we know...and right now its our juniper bushes! LOL Yes, I love the quote as well. Have you read his little book "Secrets of the Vine"? It can be read in only a couple of hours, but it is packed with incredible insights and depth. I've read it many times :) Have a blessed Holy week!

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  5. I just spent yesterday afternoon pruning both my raspberry bushes and my lilac bushes. It was so rewarding, other than the obvious physical exertion, the way it takes your mind and allows you to be thinking only of what you are doing so you can dwell on other things gives us the grace to rest in our working and let God lead us in all things. Working outside always does that for me. And the best part, I was able to bring the extra pieces of the lilac bushes in to put in a vase and force the blooms inside. So I will still enjoy them and the outside bushes will flourish because they have space and more light. :)

    Great reminder of the power of pruning and so timely for me.
    Thanks for linking up at #GraceMoments this week!
    Blessings,
    Dawn

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    1. Hi Dawn! It is so important for plants to receive light. When they do, they flourish! We can say the same thing for us...when Christ's Light reaches us, we will flourish, too! I'm glad you were encouraged today! Blessings, Joan

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