I have been looking for a word to describe the last 6 months of my life and while reading Cushing by TD Jakes, I think I found it – PRUNING.
““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.” John 15:1-2 NIV
Lots of good things happened in 2018 – Speaking engagements, book offer, great conference, my children started new chapters in their lives. I was excited to see the continued growth in 2019. One of my passwords was 2019ismyyear.
Then BAM! 2019 hit. Suddenly it felt as if I were walking up hill in the mud constantly. TD Jakes reminded me:
Pruning always happens after the harvest.
Now, because I grew up in the city and pay someone to maintain my yard, I had to google the purpose of pruning. Pruning has four purposes.
1. Training. Could it be this season has been specifically designed to give me a greater revelation of God’s grace, a greater resolve to trust him? This pruning season is training me to love more, trust more, and be completely reliant upon Him.
2. Maintain Plant Health. In this season, God has been purging my heart of arrogance and self-reliance that I did not know was there. He is healing my heart of past disappointments in people and teaching me to forgive so I can be released from the bondage of unforgiveness.
3. Quality of flowers and fruit. “The greatest stem length and most intense color results from hard pruning,” according to my source. This season of pruning is temporary but it’s resulting fruit and flowers will be stunning, life-giving, sweet and enough to feed thousands.
4. Restrict growth. Not this seems anti-prosperity. But it’s not. We have all seen someone succumb to the old adage, “Given too much too soon.” God told the children of Israel if he gave then the land at one time they would not be able to maintain it. Instead, he gave them the promised land, little by little. I am believing and trusting God to give me the right size root for where I am currently planted. But I am also trusting He will continue to replant me in bigger and bigger gardens.
So I am trusting in the Master Vinedresser’s gardening skills. I am trusting Him to cut back what is unnecessary so that stronger, sweeter, more beautiful fruit and flowers will blossomed in the platform He has given me.
I am willing, as TD Jakes puts it, to leave behind yesterday’s fruit so I can embrace the wine of tomorrow’s new season.