Friday, September 18, 2009


I just took a gander at the three yellow flowered plants (whose name is escaping me) in our backyard. Since my dad planted them in early August, they have been doing wonderfully, but about a week ago they started looking brown. At my dad's suggestion, I decimated them. That is to say, I pulled all the dead blossoms off. Megan helped. Our children are always game for destroying things.

I was a little concerned that I might have caused irreversible damage when I did that, but sure enough, there are new blossoms appearing today. And the lesson is - always listen to your dad. He knows what he's talking about.

Actually, the lesson is pruning. When we moved in here, the backyard mostly had bamboo growing wild, and a few leafy bush/trees that were struggling to survive in the midst of it. When my dad came, he laid waste to the bamboo. All that was left was two rose bush stumps and a cluster of these tree like bushes. Most of them, though, were fairly dead. Their lower branches were bare, and without the cover of bamboo they were exposed as fairly shabby and lame excuse for foliage. But without the bamboo, they now have a fighting chance at growth.

My dad told me that if I cut them back, they would grow better. One of them that had been cut down earlier in the summer grew back from the ground and gave me hope. Within a week or so of cutting back more, I had new growth from those too. It encouraged me to keep trimming, and at this point I've become ruthless. Just today I cut two more stalks down near the ground.

I have to say, it doesn't look as good as it did when there was bamboo. It looks bare. I can see the boring dry ground. But every time I cut, within a week or so there is new growth. I can't help but think of 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." It was hard at first to cut off branches that had some leaves on them, because I thought, "But, they are still alive!" Yet they weren't bearing the kind of leaves they could be bearing. Sometimes it's hard to understand why God takes things out of our lives, or gives us difficult things, because they don't seem like bad things. They seem good, and even fruitful. But God is relentless in moving us to places of greater fruit, even if it means that in the meantime, we're a little bare. I like having this real picture of how my Savior works.

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