While I would love a long soak in a bathtub, that's not what I mean. Since I am not nearly as good with words as my dear husband (I loved his last post!), this might meander a bit.
I enjoy gardening, but I am definitely an amateur at it. Around our yard we have several spots of wild blackberry bushes, a small strawberry bed, six blueberry bushes, as well as some raised beds and my approximately 20x40 foot garden. I gather from my various readings that there are several essential actions necessary for a good crop: fertilizing, weeding, watering, location, and pruning/thinning.
To me, the hardest part is the pruning and thinning. Why should I pull up a perfectly good green bean plant? And what if I pull up the strong one but leave one that will wilt and die? I really have no grasp of how to properly prune the blueberry bushes, and admit that I have not done it for fear of ruining them.
The Lord knows how to prune though. In John 15 Jesus talks about gardening. "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." Yesterday Jamie asked me if we had any strawberries yet. When I told him I had pinched off the blossoms of the newly planted strawberry plants, he asked why. As I was explaining to Jamie about sending out runners to be more productive next year, the verses that Jesus spoke hit me.
We have left the church that Jamie has attended since he was four; the only church that our children have ever really known. This has been very painful for all of us. It has hit me lately how busy the church responsibilities were keeping me...2-3 meetings a month, coordinating the Nursery and Jr. Church, directing VBS for the past 5 years. Now I have none of that. I feel some relief, some sadness, some uselessness, and am left wondering what happened. And then I realized that maybe I am being pruned, and that means I was bearing fruit, and will do so again.
Tonight I thinned my carrots. It was hard to pull many out, but necessary. They were growing so well, two solid rows of them. If I had not thinned them, come harvest-time I would have had two solid rows of very skinny carrots, if any at all. Now, Lord willing, my carrots will grow big and yummy. Maybe it is time learned how to prune my blueberry plants too.
James 1:2-4 "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything." These are very good verses for my family as we look for a new church community and continue to seek the Lord's will for us.