Sunday, April 29, 2012

Pruning - painful, but with purpose

overgrown grapes
When we bought this farm we discovered new things every day. As we mowed down the high weeds we discovered a crop of scrap metal in every hedgerow, a gift to us and the recycling yard where we cashed it in. :) Piles of old windows that became garden cold frames. And to my great joy, a grape-vine, overgrown and neglected. The first year we picked a few grapes and marveled at it. The next year we picked even less, and I knew it was time I gave it more attention than I had previously. When a brush fire killed half of it, I almost gave up... but last spring, I decided I needed to figure out how to nurture this lovely thing.

budding in abundance, spring 2011
I worried that, in pruning, I'd cut off to much; give up a part I really wanted. I felt unskilled and unprepared for the process. Thanks to a handy gardening book, I had a diagram. So one day in the early spring, before the leaf buds began to burst, I went to work. Carefully removing all the dead vines, then the "sucker" vines, and soon training what was left to fill in the empty places the fire had left. I truly hoped that it would just produce what it had before the fire, to repair the damage.

I wonder if that is how I am with my Christian walk. Am I only trying to be as productive as I've always been, using my faith to repair the holes in my soul, not expecting more than to be "fixed." Not looking beyond... to what is "fruitful."

Spring 2011 - Pruned
When I was done the vine looked barren, but lovely all tied up. Trained in a way I could see room for growth. Then the hot humid summer came. And the grapes set on. And on. And on! The abundance was awesome. Instead of reeling from the pruning, the vine bore heavily; unencumbered by the extra growth, it put all it's energy into fruit. We proceeded to have our best crop ever, and put up lots of grape jellies.

The pruning I dreaded, was the salvation of the harvest. When I see God pruning an area of my life, I often focus on the loss, and rearrange my vines to cover the gap. Do I not see how He was removing the excess weight so I can focus my energy where He wants me? Laying aside the myriad of desires and dreams that are mere distractions, so I can follow the few strong branches I'm trimmed to. To bear fruit on them heavily...

Do you ever think a vine mourns the loss of branches? I would say from the celebration of fruit, that the answer is "no."

2012 Spring Buds
John 15:1-8 “I am the real vine, my Father is the vine-dresser. He removes any of my branches which are not bearing fruit and he prunes every branch that does bear fruit to increase its yield. Now, you have already been pruned by my words. You must go on growing in me and I will grow in you. For just as the branch cannot bear any fruit unless it shares the life of the vine, so you can produce nothing unless you go on growing in me. I am the vine itself, you are the branches. It is the man who shares my life and whose life I share who proves fruitful. For the plain fact is that apart from me you can do nothing at all. The man who does not share my life is like a branch that is broken off and withers away. He becomes just like the dry sticks that men pick up and use for the firewood. But if you live your life in me, and my words live in your hearts, you can ask for whatever you like and it will come true for you. This is how my Father will be glorified—in your becoming fruitful and being my disciples.
Related Posts:
2011 Garden Overview 
2011 Cucumbers
2011 Spring Garden: Lettuce, Spinach, Onions, and Peas
2011 Green Beans

Also shared at:

On In Around button
Counting my blessings:
#94 Pruning
#95 a Master Gardener who knows what's best
#96 painful experiences given purpose
#97 opportunities to be fruitful, to be found faithful
#98 abundance
#99 new spring budding, hope for future harvests
#100 new perspective
#101 a friend's new baby, and the reminder of the beautiful gift of motherhood.
#102 Him being enough, when I'm not
#103 how my cup can be dumped out, empty and bone-dry, and then over refilled to over-flowing the next moment.


  1. Oh, how I hate/love the process of being pruned! I really enjoyed your writing style--I am not a gardener, but I found myself reading with interest. :)

  2. We don't like the way it feels to be pruned. In fact, we mourn our losses and often forget to look for what might be future gains. Yet He has promised to make all things beautiful in His time.

    God bless you today, and may you see the results, the fruit, of his pruning!


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