Pruning

“Pruning hurts like hell, I’m not gonna lie. If you wanna bear fruit in your marriage, in your life- you’re going to have to be pruned.”

-Mark Driscoll

I bought a plant.

Then, I lost it.

But in the time before, in between, and after those two events- this is what happened:

Before: 

  • I burnt chicken noodle soup.

(Yes, it’s possible. I was attempting to make it homemade, so that counts for something right?)

I was staying at a friend’s house, so I then had to clean the pan and stove.

I was super tired and really looking forward to a nap, so I was really unhappy. I wish I could say these situations didn’t occur on a semi-regular basis. My usual thought process proceeded: “Seriously? Why is this my life? …… Lord, really? Why? Why?

  • I was struck by Pastor Mark’s reference to John 15—

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” -Jesus, John 15:1-4

  • I was preparing for a talk at UW-L Cru. 
  • I googled “What is pruning?” 
  • I thought the answers provided in “A Guide to Pruning” were super profound when thought of in the context of John 15 and why God prunes us. For example: 

“Pruning is a regular part of plant maintenance involving the selective removal of specific plant parts.

Pruning wounds plants, but plants respond differently to wounding than do animals. In plants, damaged areas are covered by callus tissue to close wounds. Simply put: animal wounds heal, plant wounds seal. Plants also wall off, or compartmentalize, wounds, which limits any decay that results from wounding, or from the natural death of branches.

Why Prune?

1) To improve the appearance or health of a plant. Prompt removal of diseased, damaged, or dead plant parts speeds the formation of callus tissue, and sometimes limits the spread of harmful insects and disease.

2) To control the size of a plant. Pruning reduces the size of a plant so that it remains in better proportion with your landscape. Pruning can also decrease shade, prevent interference with utility lines and allow better access for pest control.

3) To prevent personal injury or property damage. Remove dead or hazardously low limbs to make underlying areas safer. Corrective pruning also reduces wind resistance in trees. Prune shrubs with thorny branches back from walkways and other well-traveled areas.

4) To train young plants. Train main scaffold branches (those that form the structure of the canopy) to produce stronger and more vigorous trees. You’ll find it easier to shape branches with hand pruners when a plant is young than to prune larger branches later. Pruning often begins with young plants for bonsai, topiary, espalier or other types of special plant training.

5) To influence fruiting and flowering. Proper pruning of flower buds encourages early vegetative growth. You can also use selective pruning to stimulate flowering in some species, and to help produce larger (though fewer) fruits in others.

6) To rejuvenate old trees and shrubs. As trees and shrubs mature, their forms may become unattractive. Pruning can restore vigor, and enhance the appearance of these plants.”

 —>Seriously? Are you guys seeing this? Wow. 

Those were my initial thoughts, and still my thoughts now…Huge lightbulb moment—> That is why God allows us to go through hard situations. He’s lovingly pruning us. 

(I’m not gonna lie, “pruning” is a weird word that I don’t love—but I’m going to keep using it because it’s the best descriptor of what’s going on– and if the word itself feels awkward and uncomfortable, no wonder the process is too.)

  • So, I went to Home Depot to buy a plant. I thought I would be super cool and have a sweet prop for my talk. I found one with two quarter size roses budding. The dark purple rose fell off on my way out of Home Depot. 

In between:

  • I brought the plant to Cru. It sat on the stage next to me. I read John 15 and referenced the plant at the end of my talk. It didn’t really fit with anything I was saying. I hoped no one would ask me why I was carrying a potted plant around.
  • I went to the student union after Cru to answer questions and just hang out. 
  • Afterwards, I walked to my car. I lugged all my bags into the backseat. I sat in the driver’s seat. –and realized, 

I left my plant.

After: 

  • I was confused and bummed. I had really grown to like that plant with it’s one light pink rose and theological significance. 
  • I’m still confused as to what the point was of all of it- the plant, the cool new understanding of pruning and why God does it, and the loss of the plant– all within the span of 9 hours.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” -Jesus, John 15:5-11

rose

P.S. If you found my plant, I hope you love it too.

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