He brought home a hanging planter with light pink petunias at my brother’s urging. He was going to get me some cut flowers, but Jacob reminded him I’d appreciate a new plant more; they last longer. He hung them on a hook around the edge of the porch, but I had him take them down soon after because we were to have high winds. Then it got unseasonably cold and I didn’t want them to freeze, so I brought them in at night, which meant we didn’t hang them up again since I am too short to get them down with ease.
After some time, the pretty blossoms faded away, causing the plant to just look sad. I managed to forget to water it after it was warm enough to let it outside. The other day, I noticed some of the leaves were turning yellow. I took the time to water it thoroughly and came back to it a day or two later. I spent the better part of a half an hour removing all the dead blossoms and leaves and watered it well again. Yesterday I noticed new blossoms were starting to show. This morning I saw the first one had opened up, showing an even brighter color than the plant had before.
One of the hardest things about taking care of plants is knowing what needs to be pruned off and what can stay there. I tend to want to let it there as long as I can, but sometimes it is better for the whole plant if you remove that dead or dying leaf or flower so it can use that energy elsewhere to grow more.
Isn’t that true about our lives, too? We want to do so many things or keep so many relationships, but what if that is actually taking away the energy and nutrition we need to grow elsewhere? A relationship that is dying that nothing we’ve tried to do has brought it back to life…perhaps it needs to be pruned off. The thing that takes up time in your schedule that you really enjoyed for a season, but now you dread the thought of it…maybe that branch needs to be removed.
We humans aren’t always the greatest at doing this ourselves. How often does God do it for us, trims that branch we had kept clinging to, to draw us closer to what really matters? We may never know, but we can understand every branch that gets trimmed off is for the better. It was useful in its season, maybe it even bore fruit, but nothing lasts forever.
Growing up, we had a compost pile, a burn pile, and a chipper shredder. As we’d clean up the garden and the yard, anything that could be composted would go in that pile to be used later in the garden so plants would grow better in the future. Anything that wouldn’t be good in the compost pile (our tomatoes liked to get blight, so we wouldn’t want to spread that around the next year) went on the burn pile to dry out. Eventually, we would have a lovely fire lit. Branches could be put in the chipper-shredder to be made into mulch to keep weeds at bay. Even that which is cut off can be useful in different ways. Perhaps the experience can help us grow in an area, what we learned from one relationship can be used to better nourish the next one, and so on.
God isn’t in the habit of letting things go to waste. We can learn from every branch, every leaf, every blossom we have to prune away. It’s uncomfortable at times, but in the end, it can help us grow.
I encourage you to seek guidance from our Father and prune wisely today!
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