This morning, just like every other morning, I stepped out on my patio to water my geranium. Yes, I only have one plant right now, as I am typically known in the gardening world as The Girl with the Giant Black Thumb. I want to get several more plants to make my patio more of a beautiful space, but I decided to start small with a reliable, hardy plant just to make sure I can keep that one alive!
As I was watering it, I noticed that the flowers seemed more beautiful than usual today. I decided I wanted to capture a picture of this one bloom that seemed especially exquisite. After grabbing my camera, I quickly tried several times to take a picture of this bloom. This was the result:
Ugh! This simply does not capture the beauty of this flower! I tried a few more times, but grew increasingly frustrated as there was a whispering breeze that kept blowing it around, and the camera just would not seem to focus. Finally I realized I would have to wait until the breeze settled down before the flower would be still enough for my point-and-shoot camera to be able to focus correctly, and that I needed a better angle in regards to the lighting. Soon enough, the breeze slowed and I captured this picture:
Now, while this photo may not be award-winning photography, I feel that it captures more of the intricate beauties of this flower than the one above it. Finally satisfied with my picture, I went about pruning the plant, trimming off all the old leaves and blooms.
Then God whispered in to my heart several thoughts about how the past few minutes I spent with this plant are how He tries to spend all His time in our lives! It is amazing how He can speak so many thoughts into my heart so quickly. I realized that how I was pruning this plant is so much like how when we stay close to Him, He prunes our lives. John 15:1-2 says, "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" (NIV).
According to Wikipedia, pruning is "A horticultural and silvicultural practice involving the selective removal of parts of a plant, such as, branches, buds, or roots. Reasons to prune plants include deadwood removal, shaping (by controlling or directing growth), improving or maintaining health, reducing risk from falling branches, preparing nursery specimens for transplanting, and both harvesting and increasing the yield or quality of flowers and fruits. The practice entails targeted removal of deceased, damaged, dead, non-productive, structurally unsound, or otherwise unwanted tissue from crop and landscape plants." Wow! Just as I am removing dying plant growth from my geranium so that it can continue to grow, bloom, and be beautiful, God selectively removes anything in our lives that is harmful or non-productive so that we can continue to grow, bloom, and be beautiful too!
I began to think of all the things that God has "pruned" back in my life, that at the time I resisted. People that I no longer have a relationship with. Jobs that I no longer work. Activities I am no longer involved with. The list could go on and on! When things happened that I did not understand or enjoy, God was using this to prune back my life so I could move forward and grow - and I am so glad He did, as I absolutely love my life!
I also realized while I was trying to capture the picture of this flower how much we ourselves can get blown around by the wind that is life. A slight breeze can feel refreshing and relaxing, but a strong wind can make you feel unstable, disoriented, and unfocused. These winds can come in the form of relationship struggles, financial struggles, working many hours, or anything else that you can get caught up in the whirlwind of. You may never know when it will stop and you can just be still, rest, and breathe. Once we are still we can finally see God's beauty that exists all around us and in ourselves. Psalm 46:10 says it best: "Be still and know that I am God."
When the winds of life are blowing us around, we must remember to cling to the rock:
"The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."
~Psalm 18:2 (ESV)
He will help anchor us to the ground, and will never be uprooted no matter the size of the storm. Trust in the truth that God has everything under His control, and will use everything to His glory!