Made Things

God’s Classroom–my Garden

There are times in the dead of winter that I have a hard time imagining ANYTHING will every be growing or blooming in my flower beds.
Then Spring and Summer come and it’s an 
EXPLOSION of color that can’t be contained.
Somewhere in the middle of all that green there are plants vying for sunlight and air, wishing for water to nourish their leaves and roots.
They all manage to grow with what they’ve got, but many, many times
there are mint plants next to the carnations that I really didn’t plant there.
Or Columbine seeds in between the peonies, escapees from last year’s burst flower pods.

The unwanted Columbine is lovely to look at and the catmint has an herba-luscious smell,
but they’re both in the way of the growth of the flowers I really want there.
There are too many of them, too close together,
crowding out the air and groundspace, limiting the growth and overshadowing the leaves.

As I have been meditating on John Chapter 15 (and memorizing with the online group at Do Not Depart) I was stopped by Jesus’ words about pruning:

“2 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.”

I’ve always thought about pruning as something painful….like the process of cutting back my lilacs in the summer or the way my husband wantonly hacks back the wayward branches on our Susan Magnolia.

Words like ‘ouch!’ usually come to mind.

But the other day as I dug out the roots of the mint plant (the runners were everywhere) I heard the Holy Spirit say, “This is how I prune you, reminding you about the ‘too much’ and the ‘too close together’ growth you have in your life.  You need to go after things by the roots, dig between the plants and pull out the extra growth that’s not from Me.”

I realized there are many good things I give my time to but they’re not all God things. (Often times they’re Jody Things.) (Funny, Ann Voskamp wrote just the other day about the power of our ‘yeses’ and our ‘no’s, what we keep and what we prune.)

If I want fruit in my life–and I do!–fruit that will remain
 I want to hear the Holy Spirit speaking when it’s time to rip out what’s not from God
no matter how fragrant or beautiful it is. 
I want to bear fruit that God has produced, 
fruit like joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness
all those Jesus-like qualities that will make my Saviour’s beauty shine through.
Like the petals in my favorite flower.

How about you?
Linking with Lyli for Thought Provoking Thursday

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  • Jody Lee Collins

    Nancy, I'm meditating on that phrase about how the fruit of the Spirit grows….powerful! You are one wise lady.


    Your “too much and too close together” comment brought to mind the abundance of input we are privileged to enjoy, especially in America: powerful Christian reading in books, magazines and online, Bible studies, radio programming, worship opportunities, etc. But the fruit of the Spirit often grows from output rather than input–serving, listening, sharing, and giving. Sometimes we have to prune away some of the former in order to make room for the latter. Thank you, Jody, for sharing the beauty of your garden and the lessons you're learning there!

  • Kristin Taylor

    I'm so not a gardener, but I love thinking about the contrast of dead, wintry flower beds and the beautiful colors in the spring and summer. Your pictures capture that concept so well. I'm glad I linked up next to you at Lyli's place.

  • Jody Lee Collins

    Elizabeth, when I wrote these notes in my journal about pruning then 'just happened' to read Ann's post, it was a confirmation for me, too. 🙂

  • Jody Lee Collins

    Glynn, we have bee balm (monarda), too and besides it's lovely, bright red it is a wonderful place for the bees. And oh, they do want to take over…..
    Thanks for reading!

  • Glynn

    Two years ago, I planted a couple of small plants of Monarda, native to Missouri, at the urging of a beekeeping friend who said bees need nutrition, too.Those two plants now occupy a four-foot by three-foot space, and when it blooms (like right now), it looks like a bee convention — bumblebees, miniature bees, and honey bees. I can just stand there and watch God's creation at work.

  • elizabeth

    I just read both your post and Ann's about pruning. Confirmation about some things in my life. Thank you, friend.

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