Saturday, May 12, 2012

Joy in the Pruning

It was a work day for us yesterday.  We were busy with taking loads of brush to the city brush disposal and junk to the landfill that has been piling up waiting for an opportunity to get loaded into our "borrowed for the day" trailer.  I love getting rid of stuff like that.  I also gave my Japanese Flowering Shrub a much needed haircut.  Ah....that felt good too.  This year my bush flowered like never before.  It almost looked like it was ablaze as its little coral-colored flowers screamed beauty beneath the rich foliage.  Joy.  Seeing things return after a long winter (albeit not as long as previous winters) is such an amazing thing to witness.

Anyway, the bush. Blossoms done, branches looking long and scraggly, it was time for the annual trim.  Tools in hand, I set out to work.  It gives me such pleasure to shape this bush.  I couldn't help but marvel at how lush this bush has gotten in the 5 years that I have been tending to it.  My mind likes to wander as I am doing tasks such as this, and I found myself thinking about the scripture in John 15 that talks about this sort of thing.  Branches, vines, pruning, bearing fruit. I began thinking about how important it is that we prune.  With my beautiful bush, it has allowed for a harvest of coral blossoms like I never even imagined.

In my life, abiding in Christ and God's pruning is the only way that I will bear fruit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal 5:22).  As I was snipping off branches, I began to consider what I know God has pruned from my life.  There have been things, some painful, some not so much. But, I thought about the purpose.  So that I will bear fruit.  So that I am shaped into what I was intended for.  I thought about the fact that as I am trimming away, I am not doing it to be hurtful to the bush.  On the contrary.  It is so that it succeeds at being the best bush it can be.  Come next spring, I will prune again.  And so too it is with me. My Father knows when it is time to trim up the scraggly ends of my life, when more shaping needs to happen.  And, I wonder if the joy I feel trimming away, shaping, nurturing this little bush is echoing the joy that my Father feels as He shapes me for His glory.  Hmmm......good things to ponder.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


It has been too long since I have last written anything. Life has become such a complication of things - complex in its highs and lows. I have found that I could never have predicted what has come my way, not in a million years. I have been graciously spared the horrible effects of a disease called Polycystic Kidney Disease. This fall I was contacted by a sibling on my father's side (one that I was vaguely aware of, so you can imagine all of the emotions surrounding this encounter). In a short period of time, I was made aware that I have 15 siblings on this side of my DNA. Almost too much to comprehend. The weeks that surrounded this encounter were filled with a great deal of emotion. As I researched what this horrible disease does, fears filled my every cavity. It was such a strange juxtaposition because fear was side-by-side with my faith that God is definitely in control - no matter the outcome. They can and do exist simultaneously some times - fear and faith.

Anyway, I had to undergo testing that involved a blood test to determine how my kidneys were functioning and an ultrasound of my kidneys. Of course, these two things couldn't happen on the same day, so I waited about 3 days in between. Torture. But, finally, relief. I was given a clean bill of health. I am so grateful that I do not pass this horrible disease on to my children. Thoughts of them and how this would impact them haunted me into the wee hours of the morning. Nights were incredibly difficult. Suffice it to say, I am glad that is over. I am grateful that both William and I have been spared. My brother had to endure the same array of emotions over the several weeks, and I could hear the fear in his voice and the strain of the "what if's". We both give God the glory that He spared us of this!

With THAT out of the way, my mind could clear and concentrate on the enormity of what had opened to us. 15 siblings. Wow! It seemed that each day in the weeks that followed, I would have a friend request on Facebook of a new relation. I never thought that I would know them. I knew they could be out there, but since Mom's death really believed that door was closed. And, I was ok with that. I had come to terms with that several years ago when I had tried searching for information on my father and hit road block after road block. I had the overwhelming sense that some doors are better left closed. And closed it remained until September 2011.

This Christmas (December 28th) William and I and our spouses had the opportunity to meet my sister Marilyn and her daughter and son-in-law. I had spoken with Marilyn once on the phone to discuss a plan to meet and then on Facebook back and forth. But, I can't explain the feeling of joy that I had when she came around the corner at the restaurant, huge smile on her face. My heart melted, my fears subsided. I liked her instantly. Her daughter and son-in-law couldn't have been kinder. We had a great visit, in spite of some very painful information about our father and brother. I am still grappling with what was said that night.

All this to say that I trust in God's timing. I didn't ask for this door to be open. But it is. Time will tell if I will fully understand why it is open. I have a big heart and already love those that I have met. So, I close with how I started this blog: life is complex - both in its highs and in its lows.