we have beautiful knockout roses in a huge flower bed in the front of our home. every season it seems there are more and more blooms that come. but when the season of blooming is over we prune them down to just the bare branches. kevin takes the hedge trimmers and in one, sometimes two swoops, they are cut down.
even though our winter so far has been mild. and it has been only in the past couple of days that i've really felt this season come upon us. in my heart, i feel winter is in full force. it's cold. it's dark. it's dreary. it hurts.
but even in the darkness of these days, i see God's light shining all around me. to guide me. to keep my focus on what or rather Who it needs to be. i cannot begin to tell you what He's teaching me in the midst of my pruning. i'm learning about forgiveness, trust, kindness, patience, faith and hope. just to name a small few.
He has spoken directly to me so much over the last week. bronson, the lead pastor at synergy church, was preaching out of mark chapter two this past sunday. a story of how the faith of four friends brought a paralyzed man to Jesus. and the faith it took for the man himself to get up on his own and walk with no one there to carry him. sometimes my faith is so small, i need the faith of others to carry me to Him. and then there are times where He will ask me to trust in Him and stand on my own faith, with no else around.
then just yesterday i was watching joyce meyer on tv. she was telling the story from john chapter eight. the woman had committed adultery and the people had brought her to the temple, before jesus to be stoned. and before jesus said a word to any of them. he bent down and started drawing in the dirt. what???? i'm thinking come on, say something to them. don't just kneel down and play in the dirt! well, joyce goes on to explain her interpretation of this action. before jesus spoke a word, he wanted to listen to his father. he wanted to hear what his father had to tell him about the situation. oh good grief!!! how many times have i talked and talked and talked without first stopping to listen to what God is telling me? too.many.to.count.
he's spoken to me not only in these two stories, but also through friends and family. i had a friend i was confiding in just the other day. and when we got ready to hang up the phone, she said, "i'm going to pray for this situation. right now" and i knew in my heart that the minute we hung up the phone she was talking to God for me. do you know what that feels like??? to know that someone will actually be praying for you. that it's not just words they say for comfort. that there is action behind them. He's teaching me to be that kind of friend to others.
yesterday i shared with kevin everything that i was learning in this season. i feel like every direction i turn, He is right there. talking to me. teaching me. it has come in many different forms. friends. preachers and bible teachers. family. His Word. i'm trying really hard to keep my heart opened and listen. sometimes it's a struggle. but i could not be more thankful for what He's shown me. i'm filled with empty branches. and just like those roses, i feel like i have been cut down in one swoop. but i know that a season of pruning is always followed by a season of blooms. and right now, that's what i'm waiting for.
I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. John 15:1-2