Pruning

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When God prunes something or even someone from our lives, it hurts. We may wonder where we went wrong or why He’s doing it. We may try to ignore it and keep pushing forward with our own agendas or what others have told us. We may think we’re misunderstanding what’s happening, that God would never prune that so there must be something else going on.

I’ve been struggling lately with a lot of things He’s been pruning, wondering if there is going to be anything left of me when He’s done. I’ve cried out to the Holy Spirit for wisdom and discernment, knowing He is the only One who can really help me to understand what’s happening.

I’m learning through my own experiences the two reasons why God prunes things from my life:

Growth.

Protection.

Maybe this seems obvious to you, but I’m a little slow and sometimes I need God to teach me something more than once so I can “get it.” (I’m so thankful He’s patient!)

I find myself begging God to leave certain things and crying when He gently makes a few snips and cuts here and there as those things fall away.

To my human eye, I can’t see the reasoning behind it.

But I know better than to trust my own reasoning. (The mess I would be in today if I trusted me instead of Him! The very thought makes me cringe.)

Here’s an example: I thought I was supposed to start a business last year designing graphic art to inspire and encourage others. So I did.

But God trimmed that right out of my life not long after it was up and running.

Today, I am thankful. I have more time to do what He’s called me to do: take care of my family and write.

But when He first did it, I didn’t understand. The designs I created were encouraging people to turn to Him. How could that be bad?

I realized if it’s not God’s will for my life, then I shouldn’t be doing it because it takes the nourishment and sunlight away from what He is trying to grow in my life. No matter how those grapes might appear to me on the branch, if it isn’t what He has in mind, He’s going to snip it.

IF I surrender those pruning shears to Him.

Oh sure, I could have been stubborn and kept going with that little business. But I know it would have put a strain on my family and my writing.

And ultimately my relationship with God would have suffered because I would have pulled away from Him as I hid those shears in my hands.

Instead, I allowed Him to trim that business away just as I’m allowing Him to trim things from my life today.

Does it hurt? It sure does.

But the best way to grow closer to Him is to allow Him to clear away those excess things, those distractions, those toxic relationships, and anything that will harm us. Anything that hinders our growth.

And He will snip at those things we were not created to do. (Me? It’s cooking for large crowds. Oh, I get by for our little family, but it’s not pretty!)

When we allow God to prune those things out of our lives, we are allowing more of Him, more of His light to flood into our lives to produce the fruit He intended all along.

God-honoring fruit that will last.

“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'” (Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV.)

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5 NIV.)

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last.” (John 15:16a NIV.)

“Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” (Psalm 9:10 NIV.)

 

 

 

Shifting Seasons

shifting seasons

Last year, I prayed about a writing opportunity. It seemed right. It seemed to fit with what God was calling me to do. But then as things started to move forward, I lost all peace.

Something shifted.

I didn’t understand it at the time. I just know I had NO peace. I mean, it was so bad I couldn’t sleep and found myself deeply uncomfortable in my spirit. I wondered if I’d done something wrong; did I not hear God right? Why would He lead me to an exciting path in the woods and then, when I’m only a few feet into the journey, would He stop me and tell me to turn around?

Undercurrents.

God knows all about those hidden things in every situation you and I face. He sees through the flattering and deceit. He is aware of the backbiting and hears the gossiping. He knows the ins and outs of everyone’s plans and whether there are secret agendas or selfish ambitions waiting to surface. He knows the hearts of all involved. He knows the big picture from every angle. And He can see way into tomorrow and to the very end of the path.

Sometimes God will allow us to see a fraction of those nasty undercurrents, and we can experience a moment of clarity and deep gratitude for His guidance to avoid that rocky terrain on the path we were on that was leading us to a cliff in the middle of the night.

But there are other times when we will never know why there was a shift but simply must trust the protection and guidance of our Father. We have to remember how deeply He loves us and wants us to follow Him, our Shepherd, to safety.

And yet there are other times when we’re smack dab in the middle of doing exactly what God called us to do; we’re experiencing such joy and excitement like the Holy Spirit is whispering within how important this moment is, not only to us, but to the Kingdom. We feel honored and humbled and thrilled and well, maybe a little set in our way thinking this is going to go on forever.

But then we experience the shift.

We lose all peace. We get a bad taste in our mouths like someone dumped salt instead of sugar in our lemonade. Honestly, it can be discouraging if we focus on it for too long. But when we remember God is the One who brought us here, then we know where He’s taking us next is probably going to be even better!

We have to be willing to surrender all of our plans to God, especially those that began with Him.

He is, after all, the One who causes the seasons to shift, bringing new growth through the death of winter in the form of a beautiful spring.

If you’re experiencing a shift, I’m there with you, my friend. I wonder what new growth is about to bloom in us? I’m excited to find out! 🙂

“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future.” (John 16: 13 NLT.)

 “I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.” (Philippians 1:9 NLT.)