If you’ve been to Jenn’s and my home, you know we like to garden. Roses, lavender, citrus, and salvia frolic over beds of mulch and provide a wonderful landscape than the browning grass we used to have (and fed with a wonderful drip watering system, thank you very much). Over the past year or so, the yard has become my place to relax, to think, to pray, to sing and to create.

Jenn and I will find ourselves marveling at a new bud on a salvia plant, or checking to make sure that the lone monarch butterfly is still flying around our butterfly bush, or pruning our society garlic so that it can produce more, even if it means having a oddly-scented garlic odor on our hands.

And this is where I find myself today. I feel like I am one of the plants in my garden, and the recent events of my life have left me pruned. Pruned, not as if I’ve sat in a spa for too long, but pruned in the sense that a large part of me has been cut off. Cut off and the reality is sinking in that those parts that I liked may never come back.

Enter the words of Jesus in John 15: “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.”

There is so much in just these two verses that I can’t get my arms around much more here. Jesus tells His disciples, and us as it pertains to our lives, that God the Father removes the dead wood where there is no fruit. I do this to the roses or our citrus trees because if I don’t, mildew and mold and other things that make the plant rot will enter in. Secondly, the Lord does this because the branches that do have fruit become even more fruitful.

The pain I feel today in my recent job loss is the Lord’s way of getting rid of the areas in my life that are not growing and furthering the possibility for future growth. While it does not feel like this, I must trust that the Gardener of all of our lives is at work, and that He is good.

May we pause to reflect on how He is doing this in each of our lives today!

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