5.03.2012

A Delicate Business

I've had the stems of these Purple Heart plants for three years. Every fall, just before the first hard frost, I get lots of clippings and stick them in jars. They spend the winter rooting in remote windows. When  the days start to get warmer and longer, and it's almost time to plant, I take them out to the green house for a trimming. All the dead leaves and bits of stem that withered  must be taken off pruned away before their new growing season can begin. They're a pretty raggedy group at the end of a long winter, but I have a vision of how beautiful they'll be when they're planted and well on their way in the garden. 
Pruning is a delicate business, you know. 
I've made mistakes, mostly due to haste, and snipped off something completely viable. Big oops. Maybe it's my shears - they're rusty, bulky and at the moment, covered with mud. 
Not exactly a precision instrument; not a lovely tool.  But as any gardener knows, pruning must be done for the progress, sometimes for the very life, of the plant. 


So I was out in the greenhouse, getting ready to prune up these Purple Heart stems for their new season, and I heard that Small Voice
(If you're thinking I'm crazy right now, just go ahead and blog-hop on to your next stop - no hard feelings at all - I get it.)
As I pressed the shears into the delicate new growth, aiming at snipping off the dead winter waste, I heard Him say, 
"Do you trust Me to prune your sons this way?"
It's been hard to watch our boys growing up and beginning to make their own way, moving in their own decisions, sorting and scrutinizing the ways we've taught them - sometimes even casting aside things we consider precious. While I know that this is all part (not the sum) of growing up, I have to admit, I've been squirming in my seat. At times, I've been clenching my fists and pressing them into my eye sockets - and for a sound effect, you could add some low keening in there, too. Do you get the picture, here? I haven't exactly been the Proverbs 31 Woman, smiling and laughing at the future, confident in what the Lord has done, what He's doing, and what He will do.
(and I'm not very well behaved on long distance drives, either)

I put my things down and spent a few minutes repenting. 
Repenting that I doubt His timing, His aim, His attention to detail. 
Not all the time, mind you, but much of the time. 
I've been questioning His tool choice - 
those bulky, muddy shears? Those look too harsh.  
I've been standing at his elbow, questioning His plan - 
are you sure you want to trim there? That will be a very deep cut. 
Pointing over his shoulder, casting suspicion on His ability - 
watch out! That part is so fragile! 
How annoying would it be to have me in your greenhouse? 
Romans 4 describes Abraham's righteous faith. I was impressed that this is the kind of faith I need to ask for and keep for my sons as they grow and undergo timely pruning. Abraham 'grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what He had promised'.  'He did not weaken in faith' when he considered the circumstances, and 'no unbelief made him waver'. In hope, he believed against hope in the God 'who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.'  I'm praying differently these days, unclenching my fearful  fists, and filling my mouth with hope-filled praise instead of keening. 
Not all of the time, mind you, but much of it. 
I'm growing --- He's pruning me too! 
(and I've found it's best to be still when you're getting pruned, 
instead of squirming)


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