Amy, a friend from college days is a vibrant, creative, and thoughtful woman who encouraged me quietly in so many ways. It is my pleasure to introduce her today,, as she blooms where God planted her.
By Amy Malcomb
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 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 15:1-2).
I am a middle-aged wife and mother who loves to play in the dirt. Whether it is building a sandcastle at the beach or planting bulbs in a flower bed; there is something about letting the soft gritty soil run through my fingers that soothes my Irish soul. Maybe that is not a big confession, but guess who else loves to play in the dirt? God.
He formed Adam from the earth, and when Jesus died on the cross, he piled the dirt (sin) of the world onto his shoulders. God sits down in the middle of the craziness of our lives, the joys, the failures, the insecurities, the hopes and dreams, the disappointments (the metaphorical dirt) and be a part of it all.
Last week my friend asked me to meditate on John 15. She also encouraged me to go outside and enjoy the sunshine more often. Neither easy to accomplish with small kids. For a few minutes a day though, I managed to go outside and sit on my front porch and enjoy the sunshine which brought my attention back to the potted plant I had bought a few months before.
Though I love gardening, we haven’t lived anywhere that I could garden for the last few years. My current residence has a backyard and a small flowerbed in the front. So, of course, I started planting things right away. Between my kids and the crazy Florida weather, my endeavors were not going well.
My petunia with beautiful pink and white blossoms and a blueberry bush survived for more than a few weeks. Then Florida was hit by heavy rain. Pretty soon my pretty pink flower looked sick and I worried that it might not make it. Likewise, my blueberry bush was not doing well. It started turning brown all over. I thought the blueberry bush was not that bad though, so I left it alone.
The petunia looked even worse after a few more days, so I made one last-ditch effort to save it. I plucked dead blossoms, and broke off the dead branches and stems. I kept hoping that I wasn’t doing more harm than good. The flower was about 1/3 the size it started with. Did I help or hurt my lovely flower?
Fast forward to about a week later; the blueberry bush died, and I threw it away. My pretty pink petunia lived and flourished. I am a lot like that flower. God is the Master Gardener. He knows exactly what the unhealthy (sinful) parts are. Thankfully he does not guess at what works. He knows exactly what to do about them. He sees a beautiful flower beneath what needs to be removed. He trims away laziness, selfishness, and pride. He knows the circumstances and people that will prune the sinful parts. It can be very unpleasant, even painful at times. I know He is doing it for my good. I know if I submit to His gardening, I will bear more fruit for Him.
Hebrews 12:11 says that “No discipline seems pleasant at the time but painful. Later, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” So, the next time you are feeling frustrated and questioning your circumstances, remember stay close to the Father. He is the Master Gardener. The pruning process may not be much fun, but rest assured He is creating something magnificent. Happy Gardening!