Rainy Days, Roses and Reminders

It’s been raining a ton here in NorCal. After our drought that never seemed to end, I’m very thankful for the rain. It does produce a little bit of cabin fever, though, for everyone-me, kids, the dog! I finally ventured out to the swamp, aka my backyard and noticed my rosebush. I realized I should probably prune it. It was January that you prune your rose bushes, right? I have rose bushes in the front yard that needed tending as well.

I thought about this post I wrote back when we first moved into the house we live in now. We moved into a home with several rosebushes. I knew absolutely nothing about caring for roses. The post is about pruning real rosebushes and God doing some pruning in my life.

I laughed as I reread the post because I could have written this very same post yesterday. Friends, life is hard right now. God is doing some pruning in my life and it is painful. I needed to read this, my own words. Maybe you do, too. Maybe life is just really tough right now and it hurts. Maybe God is doing a great work, though it’s uncomfortable.

I do know this. A pruned plant looks kind of ugly after you take your shears to it; but come spring it blooms and it’s beautiful.

She Did A Real Hack Job!

Originally posted on April 28, 2013 on my previous blog, Sock Monkey Tales.

Let me start off by saying…….A green thumb I am not. My dad can attest to the fact that I can kill just about anything……and have! Let’s not even talk about the two beautiful Japanese Maples I killed a few years ago simply becaue I never watered them. Horrid, I know.

Really it’s not hard. Dirt. Plant. Water. Sun. Nature takes care of most of it. Plants don’t water themselves, though.

When we moved into our house almost a year ago we were pleasantly surprised by all the mature plants and flowers it had. It also had not been taken care of in three years so it was a bit jungly. I was immediately happy to see eight rosebushes in my front yard. Only a few had blooms. Half of them were a pretty good size and the other half were pretty sad looking.

I enjoyed the blooms that summer and watered them occasionally. Fall and winter came and everything died.

“Oh well,” I thought. The roses were nice while they lasted. We were debating on just pulling them out and doing something else in that space.

Then something very unexpected happened. My neighbor from two doors down, Sheila, who I hadn’t met before, walked up to me one day as I was getting Henry out of the car. She just came out and said, “Can I prune your roses for you?”

I wanted to hug her. Yes! I knew I needed to do something with them; but just didn’t know what.

She got her tools and pruned away.

I learned something about pruning roses. I had been doing it all wrong. I hadn’t pruned back nearly enough. As she cut and snipped away, I was surprised at how much she was cutting off. She went on to tell me that you should really prune your rosebushes back in January and if we had, she would have cut back even more!

A few weeks ago, I noticed several blooms on 4 of my bushes. Not just 3 or 4. A lot. Recently, the bush with the most buds, began to bloom. I have bright pink roses coming in. They are gorgeous and ridiculously huge!

I was a bit giddy when I saw that pink bloom; but when Sheila was hacking away at the bushes, I wasn’t so sure. It seemed like she was cutting way too much. There was almost nothing left.

I could not help but think that that is how God has been pruning in my life and how the refining process works in our life as Christians. If God just did a little snip here and a gentle cut there; there wouldn’t be much to show for it later. Oh, I’m sure we’d be blessed and could very well be happy; but we’d be missing out on so much more.

If Sheila had just snipped back my roses a little, as I had been doing, the rose bushes would still be alive; but there would be few or no blooms. Just a little shrubby plant, dying a little more each year. She hacked away at them, though. Now I have bushes overun with buds ready to burst open.

God’s been hacking away at me lately. He’s been asking me to step out in faith in a few areas of my life. In one area, especially, He has been asking me to have Huge faith! It’s been uncomfortable and I don’t know what the outcome is going to be. It’s making me seek Him more, though. It’s causing me to ask what God’s will is for my life right now, for my family. It’s requiring me to make some really hard choices. It’s causing me to turn down roads I never thought I’d venture down. I have been learning what it means to rest in Him because left to my own devices, well…… I’d just be freakingn out.

So, with each hack, with each uncomfortable stretch, He is in it. I know it’s for my good. I know that what is best for me is what He wants for me. I might feel, at times, like the rosebush that’s pruned back in January to almost nothing; but I know that pruning will produce amazing blooms and blessings in my life come spring.

Trust.

When you can’t see what’s around the corner.

It’s hard.

Though I have a good idea what my roses will look like by the end of spring, I have no idea what my life will look like when I step out in faith. Thankfully, as a family, we can step out in faith together. Change can be uncomfortable. (That is probably a huge understatement!) Yet the change will be as God has always intended. It’s never a surprise to Him.

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