When It’s Pruning Season…Not Blooming Season
As I scrolled through my insta-stories this evening I came across an inspirational post that said: “Bloom where you’re planted.”
If I had seen this post a few weeks ago, I would have said, “Amen! Ditto that! So true!” That’s what people say when they’re in a season of “blooming.” But, this week I find myself annoyed by this post. I understand the sentiment, and like I said at many other times in my life I would say, “That’s right! Bloom, girl, bloom.” But, it’s hard to get behind a phrase like that when you really feel like you’re being pruned, and the thought of blooming doesn’t even seem possible right now. Anyone else out there know what I’m talking about?
We’re in the midst of a lot of life changes right now, and although I know they’re good, and they’re in God’s will, and they’re a part of His plan, and all those things…I also know that this new season of life change will be full of challenges. I know this season will be full of times of loneliness. I know this season will be full of weariness. I’m not saying these things to be a “Debbie Downer”…I’m just preparing for reality. And, because I know that this is the reality of change, I understand that I am about to endure a time of pruning.
I’m dreading it a little bit, not because I’ve never been pruned, but because I have endured seasons of pruning, and they’re just not fun. They’re exhausting. They’re difficult. But, they are also very rich seasons full of dependance on God, lots of learning, and lots of trusting.
Lots of “rooting” takes place in my faith during these seasons of pruning, but I would much rather be “blooming.”
This past February, I spoke at a women’s retreat on the topic: “How to Live as Women of Joy” — when I was given this theme, I decided to make a huge part of my message on trials because I know that’s the most difficult place to find true joy, but it’s also the place where we desperately need the joy of the Lord. As I prepared these messages on joy, I found myself in John 15…
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more fruit…Abide in me, and I will abide in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful apart from me.” (John 15:2,4)
I explained to the ladies that the only way our joy can be made complete, the only way we can live truly fruitful lives is to abide in Christ…even (no, especially) in the midst of “pruning” (those times of trial, testing, and difficulties).
I brought a visual for them to see as I explained this truth. Before the retreat, I called a local vineyard to ask them if I could borrow one of their grapevines to illustrate staying connected to the vine, Jesus. The owner of the vineyard was happy to let me borrow one of her potted grapevines, but she explained that this vine was in dormant season. She said that it looked like it was dead and rotting, but it was only dormant and would bloom in the spring. I was a little bummed, but as I began thinking about this dormant grapevine plant, I realized that this is the way many of us feel. Even when we, as the branches, are connected to the vine, we can feel fruitless at times. We can feel like we’re outside of the “blooming” season, and we’re stuck in this dormant, “pruning” season. But, I learned something very meaningful, that has become even more meaningful to me today, as I learned more about this dormant season for the grapevine…
It is in the midst of this dormant season that the roots of the vine become more established, so that the branches will produce even more luscious, vibrant fruit in the future.
Are you like me right now? Are you in the midst of a pruning season? Does it feel fairly dormant? Let me share three truths I’m holding onto during this time of pruning:
- Your roots are being established in strength, resilience, and endurance during this time of pruning.
- This time of pruning is only temporary, and the fruitfulness you’ll experience in the future is well worth the wait. You will not always be in this season.
- Staying closely connected to Jesus during this time of pruning, even when you don’t feel like it, will sustain you in the midst of this “dormant” season.
Hold on to Jesus, because His promise is true:
“You have been pruned for greater fruitfulness…” (John 15:3)
And maybe instead of the phrase “Bloom where you’re planted,” we can proclaim:
“Being pruned where I’m planted!”