I come from a long line of green thumbs. 

My grandmother is a legit gardener yielding homegrown vegetables all year round, my mother keeps up the most jaw-dropping rose garden and yard you’ve ever seen—and then there’s me… I realize I’m dropping the ball on this legacy—but for the stage of life I’m in, I’m embracing that I am a master gardener of house plants (the ones impossible to kill, I might add). 

For years, I ignored my sweet mother’s offer to “help” in my yard. Were things growing? Yes (oh yes!) but none of it looked that great. My rose bushes wouldn’t bloom, I had vines taking over trees (I thought it was pretty!?), and my bushes were taking over my house.

Then one day this Spring, my sweet, Southern gardener-of-a-mama came hauling up my driveway with a mission. She’d held off as long as she could—so with a smile on her face and her faithful hedge trimmers in hand, she kindly insisted,

“Honey, its time to clean up your yard…” 

And she was right. She knew how it all worked—she knew my beautiful, baby maple was going to die if I didn’t cut back a portion that was dead. She knew my overgrown rose bushes were never going to bloom if they weren’t cut way back, and my shrubs growing as high as my house just looked terrible.

That day she taught this black-thumbed girl a few things about pruning

  • That even good growth has to go sometimes, so more good growth can occur.  
  • Overgrown fruit bushes aren’t as sweet because nutrients are spread too thin.
  • Pruning allows more light to come in, necessary for growth.
  • Cutting off branches is necessary to keep plant/tree structurally sound and strong.
  • Pruning must take place on a regular basis.

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.

John 15:2 

Recently, I asked The LORD, “Show me where you want me to be, show me what you want me to say yes to.” Instead, I felt like He showed me the things He wanted me to say no to first—so I could fully say yes to things He had for me.

He slowly started revealing the branches that needed to be cut back or cut off altogether…things I’d agreed to do for selfish reasons, things that seemed like a good idea but were sucking the life out of me, and seemingly benign habits stealing time and energy from things that mattered most. 

His heart for us is that we’d be strong, thriving “branches” abiding and attached to The Vine (Jesus), producing good fruit (right living, loving people, bringing people to know Christ)—ALL for His glory and our good! 

Thing About it: Ask God to show you areas in your life that need to be pruned or areas that are not producing fruit. Are there broken branches or sin in your life you know He’s trying to prune, but you’re gripping tightly? Confess, repent and lay them before The Lord today. He is able to do so much more than we could ever ask or imagine by HIS power at work within us (Ephesians 3:20).

Pray: Father God, thank you that you are the attentive Gardener (John 15:1)—that you know exactly what I need to grow and thrive. Help me ABIDE in Jesus today, staying near The Vine as I allow you to “take away” and “prune” the things in my life that need to go, so that you can do even more in me and through me.