No one ever promised me that my Christian path was going to be straight. (However, I sure wish someone had written that on a poster board when I was younger and stopped me in the hall, so I would have been a little more prepared.) When I was young, I thought that the road would be simple and predictable. Then I got thrown a few detours in my “life GPS.” Then there appeared a few complete and utter traffic stops and changes in my overall itinerary that were so not on MY life map.
I have asked myself more than a few times in my life, “When is it going to get easier? When am I going to get a break? When, Lord, are you just going to let me catch my breath?” I had this conversation with my aunt this past week, and she reminded me that all this “curing” and “pruning” was nothing less than God’s plan for us and the example for the people we touch in our lives.
When I visited my mother in Florida last March for spring break, I did the yearly updating of her spring flowers. I dug up the old, dead stuff from the previous fall/winter pots, and refreshed the new flowers for spring. There were some begonias that were not only leggy, but literally on their last legs, but I was convinced I could revive them (even though I live 6 hours from my mother’s house). So, I didn’t pull them up. I did a little fertilizing and pruning and hoped for the best.
This summer during my family’s visit to my mom’s, I realized I should have done something sooner to the flowers. They needed a major overhaul. I ended up pulling them up completely, and replacing them with something new – something more suitable for the long term.
We are all now well into the first term of a new school year. A new term presents a new opportunity to approach and do things differently, to see things in a fresh, more positive light. To change, if we as parents need to change. For our children, if they need to change. As families, we may try a little bit of pruning – a few small changes here and there that we hope will eventually bear fruit for ourselves as a unit and for our children as individuals. We may also attempt to accomplish a major re-entrenchment – an overhaul to help our children bloom and make our families more productive, if that is what is required at this season of our lives.
I know that this summer I was more focused on my mother than on my children, which was the unexpected detour God already knew I was heading down. Now that the school year is in full swing, I hope to redirect my children and family into activities that will bring all of us closer to one another, and to our Father, in both individual and group ways. I am hoping that this will be more of a pruning than a complete replanting, but I know that we will be guided by our Father in what needs to happen to get us all working together in the most productive way in our little field – to reap what God has planned for each one of us to harvest in our own unique way, in our own unique season.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit. You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you. Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.”