Girlfriends in God - Apr. 23, 2010

April 23, 2010 

To Snip or Not to Snip 

Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth 
"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).

Friend To Friend 
Spring is in the air and I'm already getting excited about gardening!  I wish I could have you over for coffee on my patio sometime around the end of June.  A bed of begonias carpet the area just to the left of the brick patio.  Verdigris pots overflowing with pink petunias, dusty miller, and sky blue ageratum stand guard on each side of the steps leading from the house.  Two wire planters frame a wall fountain that trickles water over sculptured blue birds.  By June, fragrant pink and white begonias and purple petunias spill over the edge of the planters bursting with color.

In May, the sturdy begonias slowly sink their roots deep into the soil before mounds of flowers start to cautiously multiply.  But the petunias rush into summer by parading their bright colors right away.  So by the end of June, the petunias are the pride of the garden.  However, by August, they become "leggy," spindly, and unsightly.   Long, ugly stems protrude in the air with a single purple velvet blossom on the end.  The flowers are pretty, but the lanky stems become so distracting that by mid-August I usually just pull them up and throw them away.  Then the sturdy begonias that took the time to get grounded first simply fill in the empty spaces.

I do have another option other than pulling up and throwing out the spindly petunias.  When they start to show the first sign of "legginess," I could snip them off - prune them.  But that means I have to sacrifice the beautiful flower on the end of the stalk, and for two weeks there is no color.  The result of pruning in June is a healthier, bushier plant in August, but it's hard to snip and wait.

This pruning business is painful, not just in my flower garden, but also in my life.  But the Master Gardner has taught me a few pruning tips along the way.

You must clip away dead flowers or they will keep other buds from blooming. (Are there areas in my life that are not blooming or producing fruit? Are there activities I need to prune in order to produce a more productive, healthy life?) Lesson:  Snip it off.

Remove any sucker shoots because they sap energy from the rest of the plant. (Is there any one area of my life that is out of control and sapping energy from the rest of my life?  Are there any sucker shoots in my life that keep me from flourishing where God wants me to bloom?) Lesson:  Snip if off.

Just because a plant is bearing some blooms does not mean that it should not be pruned.  (Is there something in my life that is somewhat productive but needs to be pruned in order to be more productive?)  Lesson:  Snip it off.

In order for a flower to thrive, it must stay attached to the stalk.  (In order for me to continue to grow and bloom, I must stay attached to the Vine.) Lesson: Stay connected to Christ.

The Master Gardner wields His gardening tools in our lives as He trims, snips, and prunes. And we can rest assured He'll do what is necessary to insure the most beautiful bouquets. 

Let's Pray 
Dear LORD and Master Gardener, I don't like pruning.  I resist change.  However, I give me life and my schedule to You today.  Prune away.  Show me what I need to keep and what I need to cut away.  I don't want to be a leggy petunia with an occasional bloom here and there.  I want to be a healthy deep-rooted perennial that blooms time and time again.

In Jesus' Name, 

Now It's Your Turn 
Go back up to the four pruning lessons in today's devotion.  Ask yourself those questions and come up with a pruning plan of your own.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's devotion.  Are you a leggy petunia in need of a good pruning or a bushy begonia with deep roots?

More From The Girlfriends 
Don't you just love how God speaks to us through nature?  If you would like to learn more about how to listen to God's still small voice in your daily life, see Becoming a Woman who Listens to God by Sharon Jaynes.  And if you would like a book filled with inspirational stories, check out Sharon's daily devotion book, Extraordinary Moments with God..

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Matthews, NC 28106

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Originally published Friday, 23 April 2010.