According to gardening experts, the difference between an attractive plant and one that is floursing is dependent to a bit of early season pruning. Often called heading back or pinching, pruning a budding plant before it blooms can increase flower growth by making the plant produce more branches. Budding plants can be cut back multiple times during the growing season or pruned again after blooming to encourage a new flush of flowers.
What is true in the gardening world is also true in our spiritual lives. John 15:1-11, the compeling account of the Vine and the Branches, clearly states that “every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit (15:2).” If we desire to bear maximum fruit to glorify our heavenly Father, then we must allow the Master Gardner to prune away anything in our lives that spiritually drains it. Let’s consider some buds that might need to be pruned from our spiritual garden so that the remaining flowers will be lush and lovely.
The Turned-Head Bud
The Turned –Head Bud grows in one direction while its head faces the opposite direction. It might be called the "if only" bud because it lives on memories of past experiences. It creates discontentment in current circumstances by its continual reference to other, "more prosperous" seasons of life or possessing unrealistic expectations of current ones. This bud is most effectively pruned by thanking God for precious memories and concentrating on nurturing the current life circumstances He provides (Ephesians 5:20; Philippians 3:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:18).
The I- Me Bud
The I- Me Bud grows to enormous heights until nothing else in the garden can be seen. It is a real love-choker, often turning daily life occurences into thickets of fighting and competition. The presence of this bud creates an environment directly opposite of the agape love commanded by God that challenges you to live in harmony with others, forgive and forget unintentional slights, place no demands on others, and allows the will rather than the emotions to control daily events. A fancy name for selfishness, and the I- Me Bud quickly establishes itself as the center of the Garden and demands to be in control. It is most effectively pruned by sowing the Our-We seed in the Garden (Proverbs 13:10; Galatians 5:15, 19-25; Philippians 2:3; James 3:16).
The Clam-up Bud
The Clam-up Bud is one of the most difficult to prune because when one individual "clams up" it is almost impossible to correct the situation. When this bud invades, the silence that falls over the Garden is like the silence of a tomb. The residual effect of this bud is often a suppression of one’s feelings that may eventually erupt in an explosion. Pruning this bud requires frequent communication, tempering the voice tone, and choosing carefeully the number of words. Should disagreements arise, refuse to remain angry and be willing to admit your contribution to the conflict (Proverbs, 25:11, 26:20, 31: 26; Ephesians 4:15, 25-32).
The I Am Always Right Bud
Standing stiff and erect on the plant, The I Am Always Right Bud offers a sharp, immediate response to anything she disagrees with. A pro at conflict, it is amazing that so many ugly words can spew forth from her lips if she is provoked. When she assumes this stance engaging in discussion with her is futile since she is always right. Pruning of the I Am Always Right Bud requires prayer on your part so that the words of your mouth and the meditations of your heart are acceptable to the Lord. Filling your mind with God’s Word so that your responses are His responses, and being willing to graciously and gently speak the truth in love insure that you are not providing ammunition that keeps a conflict in momentum (Psalm 19:14, 39:1, 49:3, 119:11; Proverbs 4:23-24, 10:20, 12:18, 15:2, 18:21, 21:23, 23:7, 25:21, 31:26; Matthew 12:33-37; Luke 6:45; Ephesians 4:14; Colossians 3:16; James 1:27-28, 3:6-10).
The I Call You When I Need You Bud
The I Call You When I Need You Bud lies dormant for long periods and then emerges full-grown when it desires to assert itself. Generating from the consumer mind-set of the twenty-first century, the I Call You When I Need You Bud extracts from a circumstance what she desires then allows it to lay latent until another need arises. As with the I- Me Bud, selfishness is the primary source of the I Call You When I Need You Bud. Pruning of this bud includes choosing to love others as yourself, being more concerned about the needs of others than yours, and praying for a heart that desires to honor others (Leviticus 19:18; Mathew 5:43; Mark 12:33; Romans 2:6-8, 12:10, 13:7; Philippians 2:3-4; Hebrews 13:1; 2 Peter 1:7-11).
A study of Gardening tips encourages us to deadhead faded flowers to prevent them from setting seed. Snapping or pinching individual blooms off with your fingers as they fade helps the plant put its energy into flower production, rather than seed production. Spiritually, God deadheads those that He loves to allow them to continue to flourish for His glory (John 15:16; Romans 1:13-16; Galatians 5:22-23; Philippians 1:11; Hebrews 12:11). Join Kelsey in her Korner as she shares her experience of bring pruned by the Master and the resulting fruit.
Being pruned hurts. No one enjoys a snip to the pride or a chop at the priorities! Yet as plants in the garden of the Master, we are under good care. Our Father knows all the ways to make us bear more fruit and all the weeds that compete for our attention. He knows how to make us never thirst again (John 4:14) and He knows what food we need in order to grow (Matt. 4:4, 6:31). Despite being a wild shoot, He has lovingly grafted us into his branches (Rom. 11:17-18). Because of this, when pruning season comes, we can look up at our Master Gardener and trust His wise care.
In order to graduate on time, I had to take 21 credit hours my last semester of college. That, combined with working part-time, wife-ing full-time, and serving as an AWANA leader at my church seemed to be an impossible endeavor. For the first week of classes I cried myself to sleep every night, mourning the loss of my social life and time with my beloved Netflix shows. I used to love coming home from a long day and resting on the couch while watching TV with my husband! I brainstormed for a long time how to have free time and get all my school work done. Believe it or not, I seriously considered giving up my position as an AWANA leader, but eventually decided a semester without any Netflix would be the wiser option. I prayed for the strength from God to finish my degree with excellence and to use all my time intentionally and wisely.
Although it did hurt and was difficult, life went on and busy became the new and tolerable norm. As a result, my time became increasingly organized and eventually time to hang out with friends, minister to people at my church, and yes, even time to watch an occasional TV show, popped up! I began to realize how much fruitless time was spent for much of life watching a screen when I could have been doing something productive. God knew what He was doing. He took away my comforts for a semester to prune me—to help me see how I could bear more fruit for His Kingdom. So while I do still enjoy spending some free time watching shows, my pruning has helped me not rely on Netflix or movies for comfort, rest, or satisfaction and has taught me to better prioritize my life. Next time you are in a season of being pruned by the Master, remember how lovingly and tenderly God prunes, not to cause meaningless pain, but with your growth and fruits of the Spirit in mind.
THE EVERYDAY HOMEMAKER’S MONTHLY MEDITATION THOUGHT
Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27)
Therefore, I may boldly say, “Jesus’ gift of peace offers me an alternative to fear and worry despite my busyness.”
The “Building a Culture of Biblical Femininity Conference in the Home, Church, and Community” October 5-7 on the campus of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary will allow you to deepen your understanding of Biblical Femininity. If you would like to know more about the Conference contact me through the “Send Pat a Message” feature at the bottom of the Home Page. I am excited to introduce you to the Key Speakers. We pray that you will choose to join us in our March for Biblical Femininity in October! The Registration Link is located below the flyer.
MARY LEE BAYLY
Mary Lee Bayly is the director of Women’s Ministries at Clearnote Church in Bloomington, Indiana. She and her husband Tim, who pastors the church, have been married for 41 years. They have 5 children and 21 grandchildren. Having fallen prey to the lies of feminism herself in younger years, she works earnestly to help women embrace their God-given calling as set forth in Scripture. When she is not taking care of grandchildren she is counseling women, reading, sewing, or attending births as a doula.
Barbara Hughes is first and foremost a lover of Christ, wife, mother and grandmother. She has served the Lord alongside her husband in ministry for over fifty years. Her energies in this regard were devoted to the work of women's ministries, Bible study and hospitality.
Barbara is co-author and author of several books most notably, Disciplines of a Godly Woman. She has a passion for personal evangelism, gardening and oil painting.
Rachel Jankovic is a wife to Luke, mother to seven busy children, and an occasional writer. She is the author of two books, Loving the Little Years, and Fit to Burst. She can usually be found up to her elbows in the work of feeding all the people she loves.
Rebekah Merkle has dabbled in a number of occupations ranging from running her own clothing label to designing fabrics to becoming a full-time high school humanities teacher. Author of Eve in Exile and the Restoration of Femininity, her proudest accomplishment is her crew of five high-speed teenagers. Her favorite role is that of wife to her similarly high-speed husband Ben. Click on this link to read a recent article: http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/throw-like-a-girl
Blessings on your day as you focus on making your house a home!