Friday, March 19, 2010

Pruning Season

"For afore the harvest, when the bud is perfect, and the sour grape is ripening in the flower, he shall both cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks and take away and cut down the branches" 
Isaiah 18:5

Spring begins a season of pruning, where the objective is to produce strong, healthy, attractive plants.  According to the United States Department of Agriculture's guide, How to Prune Trees there are several reasons for pruning: safety, health, aesthetics, stimulating fruit production, and increasing value.  I suggest that much like plants and trees, we too need a pruning season.  

Reasons for Pruning

Pruning for Safety involves removing branches that could fall and cause injury or property damage, trimming branches that interfere with lines of sight on streets or driveways, and removing branches that grow into utility lines.  I believe that we too can Prune for Safety by removing distractions from our lives!!  I would define a distraction as anything that changes our Heavenly focus to a Worldly perspective and gets in the way of our desires and dreams.  What activities and relationships do we allow in our lives that create worry vs. peace, frustration vs. joy, discouragement vs. hope, bondage vs. freedom?  Perhaps it is time to consider the cost vs. benefit in these areas.  Let's be bold as we honestly evaluate the reality, and courageously Prune for Safety.

Pruning for Health involves removing diseased or insect-infested wood, thinning the crown to increase airflow and reduce some pest problems, and removing crossing and rubbing branches. Pruning can best be used to encourage trees to develop a strong structure and reduce the likelihood of damage during severe weather. Removing broken or damaged limbs encourages wound closure.  What a great visual to apply in our lives.  As we aspire to create solid foundations in our lives, ones that can weather any storm, we can see the value of Pruning for Health.  I LOVE the value that is created when we remove broken or damaged limbs!  I see wound closure as a Really good thing!  I see this as a vital part of having a solid foundation!  We know that in this life there will be storms, it is wisdom that allows us to pick up the pieces and find peace and healing to move forward!  It is my experience that this is where forgiveness is vital.  Trusting the Atonement of our Savior to cover the offended, the offense, AND the offender - such an act of love!

Pruning for Aesthetics involves enhancing the natural form and character of trees or stimulating flower production.  How sweet to trust our Heavenly Father as the Master Gardener to enhance our nature as we develop Godly Character!  What can we do to ensure healthy fruit production?  Submit to the Pruning Process!! 

The USDA further suggests, To reduce the need for pruning it is best to consider a tree's natural form. It is very difficult to impose an unnatural form on a tree without a commitment to constant maintenance.  Just as vitally important it is for us then to understand and consider our nature as we prune.  I visualize the process of pruning looking slightly different for everyone.  A man will have different considerations than a woman,  adults different than children.  I think the greatest value of understanding this truth is that we enter a Season of Pruning with realistic expectation.  I tend to be very motivated by my emotions meaning I get excited easily.  This is great for getting me motivated, creating a plan, and following through until I achieve my desired result.  Good news for me, it does not however mean that my plan will work for my husband or children.  Inspiring a Season of Pruning for my family requires the heart of a Master Gardener.  First of all, I'm learning to let my Heavenly Father Prune my husband...what a peaceful and loving concept.  It is rarely my job to correct my sweetheart.  I am learning that it is far more effective for me to encourage and uplift him rather than correct....a lesson learned the hard way over and over again.  As for my children, it is a sweet thing to allow the Master Gardener to mentor me in the art of shaping and developing, and He is faithful to do so!  The moment I remember that the Covenant Relationship with God and my Husband is available to assist me in Pruning and Shaping the lives of those entrusted to us, the moment I can Prune according to my children's specific Godly Character.  This produces healthy fruit of more than one variety, rather than an orchard of exactness.

I am SO grateful for Pruning Season!  I am grateful for the process of letting go, as I continue to Trust God to shape me into the Godly Woman He designed.  I continue to practice the art of submission - laying down my agenda to that which serves the greatest good.  It is my desire and prayer that by understanding how, why, and when to prune I will produce strong, healthy, and attractive fruit,  Being Blessed to Be a Blessing!!

Happy Pruning!!

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