Brutal Pruning

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The Chinese Tallow tree in my yard used to be covered with vibrant leaves and white berries. Fred pruned it this year . . . brutally. I’m concerned that it won’t survive the assault. And I will so miss the shade of my beautiful tree.

Time will tell. As the spring draws nearer, I will watch the tree with hope. The theory is that after severe pruning, the tree will come back fuller and stronger, with superior shape. I’m not convinced. But I will hang on to hope.

Pruning times are important for humans too. After we survive a spiritual pruning, we bear more fruit, better fruit. The Bible describes the process.

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 15:2 NIV

I don’t like it much when I am enduring a pruning. It hurts. It feels like it is diminishing me. But I have learned, after enduring a few seasons of holy pruning, that I really do come back fuller and more vibrant.

I am hoping that this will also be true for my once-beautiful tree. I’ll keep you posted.

The Peace of God

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Anxiety overrules contentment. In fact, anxiety can easily have its way in our lives, making a shambles of all that we have accomplished. We humans spend a great deal of time building our comfortable nests, making life a positive experience.

I am expending my energy on my flower garden. It’s filled with ferns and flowers that give me positive energy. I can breathe deeply in my garden, exhaling all the cares and toils that come my way. I am happy in my garden, and it is a place of solitude and peace.

Anxiety can wreck it for me, so I do all that I can to hold anxiety at bay. There are several things that make me anxious, including my health and the possibility of a kidney transplant. But anxiety adds nothing good to my life. Instead, I work hard to fill my spirit with peacefulness. It is the peace of God that guards my heart and mind.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7 NIV

Peace in the Garden

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More and more these days, I search for soul work, for activities that feed my soul and sooth my spirit. Gardening is that kind of work for me. I so enjoy watching plants peak bravely through the ground with a new shoot of joy. There is peace in the presence of a garden.

What a glorious day yesterday was! The sun was shining. The breeze blew gently throughout the day. It was a wonderful day to shop for plants, and even more wonderful to plant them.

A small garden now graces the front of my house. I will love watching it grow and thrive. I will love the sense of peace it brings. I love that nature’s beauty is all around me.

Now I have a responsibility to the garden. It won’t grow well without my care . . . watering, weeding, cutting back, feeding. But it’s not work. It’s true pleasure to tend a garden spot.

Alfred Austin speaks of the glory of gardening. He says it like this: “hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.”

So I will be spending peace time in the garden this year. It is indeed a therapeutic way to spend my days.