Heart Pruning

24 Jan

“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

My devotional this morning reflected on the above passage of scripture.  My thoughts during my prayer time began to run over my own gardening skills, of both flowers and the heart.

I am not a very accomplished gardener.  Oh, how I wish I was.

I keep thinking one day I will wake up and realize that my Mima’s green-thumb genes have finally made their way down to me.  I am still waiting.  For now I accept the fact that my skills are limited and I rejoice in the knowledge that my succulents survived all summer and will hopefully make it back after a long winter’s nap.

Pruning the Vine

As I thought about my garden, or lack there-of, I was drawn to the image I snapped of the “dead” hydrangea bush in the backyard awhile back.  I remember thinking when I took the picture, “This is how I feel.”

Dried up. Forgotten. Something once beautiful dying inside.

I snapped the picture thinking that I could look back at it one day and hopefully be in a better place spiritually, emotionally, and physically.

Thankfully I am able to look back today and realize that I am better.

I’m not where I want to be, and I have a long road ahead of me, but today, for now, I am able to say, “It is well with my soul.”

But it took hard work.

It took a lot of pruning.

And there is work yet to do.

Just like the hydrangea bushes in my yard need to be pruned, the dead flowers and branches cut off so new beautiful ones can bloom in Spring, I too need my life pruned of the dead things that weigh me down and keep me from blooming.

In the midst of preparing for Spring cleaning I need to take an inventory of my life and figure out what heart pruning needs to happen.

What is preventing me from becoming the person God has created me to be?  What is holding me back?  What is making me heart-sick?

Maybe it is too much of something, like too much tv, or even social media.  Maybe it is not enough of something, like time with God or time with the Hubs.

Whatever is causing me to wither needs to be cut away, and whatever needs to take root needs to be watered and nourished so that I can bear the fruit that God intends for my life.

It will take more hard work.

It will take an honest and deep look into the dark, dusty corners of my heart.

It will take time and attention to what is really important.

But I know that I am not alone as I prune my heart, and neither are you.

If you continue to read the passage of scripture in John 15, Jesus reminds us to remain in Him and He will help us to bear much fruit.  He also points out that He doesn’t talk about the hard work of pruning to be cruel, but does so out of love and for our good, so that we can be complete.

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” ~John 15:11

Heart pruning isn’t easy or quick work, just like gardening.

Your hands will get dirty.

You will get tired.

Your knees might ache, because the best place to begin pruning is in prayer.

What heart pruning does your life need?

What is keeping you from picking up those “pruners?”  Fear? Doubt? Pride? Pain?

I have let all of those things and more keep me from the business of pruning sometimes.  Sometimes it is hard to know what to do.

Let the Master Gardener help!  God is more than willing and able to give you gardening tips!

So, let’s create some splendid heart gardens that bloom with love, hope, and grace, making the world a much more beautiful place to live.

Gracefully~~Heather

(P.S. For those readers that have stuck around, thank you!  I have been on hiatus in the midst of some major heart pruning, which has included this blog.  I have been allowing God to guide me as I figure out where my desires and His meet for my life.  I know writing is a major part of that but it is going to take a little different path.  I will be starting a new blog soon called Soul Beautiful.  SO stay tuned!  I hope you follow me over there and continue to let God bless you as He speaks through my words. Thanks!)

30 Days of a Thankful Heart {Day 30} The Greatest Gift of All

1 Dec The Reason For the Season

I was reading to Micah last night prior to our bedtime routine, in an attempt to settle his wild soul down.  So, of course we were reading, “Where the Wild Things Are.”  It was adorable to hear him repeat Max’s phrases, “Be Still!” and “Let the wild rumpus start.”

And as I sat tonight trying to settle my soul into this special season that is upon us, it instead felt like the world declaring, “Let the wild rumpus start!”

For many, the rumpus of the Christmas season began the very night we give thanks for all we have.  What better way to reflect on our abundance of blessings than to rush out and get more, right?  I don’t have a problem with those wanting to get a jump on giving and save while doing it, but the retailers pushing it earlier and earlier is just ridiculous.  I just avoid it all together!  Was the Dollar Tree even running a Black Friday special?  That’s where my DIY gifts will hail from!

We are in a consumer society that teaches us to want more, need more, and be satisfied with none.  Trying to teach little ones what Christmas really means is tough.

I am all for passing on Christmas traditions from childhood, Santa, gift giving, and The Grinch.

But I am all about the greatest and first Christmas gift, Christ.

To be cliche, He is the reason for the season, in this heart and hearth, and I hope in yours.  There is nothing better to give or to get than the FREE gift of God’s grace, wrapped beautifully in swaddling clothes, and delivered in the humble form of His son, Jesus Christ.

But I’ve been struggling on how best to deliver this message to my children’s hearts (and ours) without robbing them of simple, fun Christmas magic and joy that comes in many commercial forms ….

Continue reading

30 Days of a Thankful Heart { Days 27, 28, & 29} Moments of Joy, Melodi, and Mom

30 Nov

Let me start by saying I am not thankful for being sick the week after Thanksgiving.  I am especially not grateful that my sweet baby boy has been sick as well.  Horrible cough, fever, congestion, and draining, double ear infection makes for a miserable baby and miserable mommy.

I am however, grateful for access to good healthcare, doctors, and medicine to help alleviate the illness crud that has kept our family sick on and off for almost 3 months!

YUCK!

So, I have fallen a few days behind (again) in my thankful posts.  Let’s catch up, shall we. Continue reading

30 Days of a Thankful Heart {Day 25 & 26} Gratitude and Grace

27 Nov

Yesterday was a beautiful, holy day.  Despite waking up from too little sleep with a throat that was on fire and a head that felt like an elephant was sitting on it, the day was wonderful.

We celebrated this little guy’s baptism at our church.  Yes, I cried.

My littlest tiger after his baptism

Papa Tiger performing the baptism

Yes, yesterday was awesome, despite feeling physically lousy.  We celebrated with family and rejoice that our son, Kasen, is baptized and covered by God’s grace.  We would need that grace. Continue reading

30 Days of a Thankful Heart {Day 24} Boomer, Baptisms, and Blessings

25 Nov keep-calm-and-boomer-sooner-13

The past few days have been a fantastic blur of family, friends, and some awesome bedlam football.  I am so incredibly grateful to be able to be close to family.

Our sweet baby boy, Kasen, has also been sick the past couple days and that has made for a very tired mommy and daddy.

I think we kinda look like the walking dead a bit, but The Hubs looks wayyy better on less sleep than me.  Life is so unfair sometimes.  Eh, whatcha gonna do?

I guess I am going to attempt to get some beauty rest before the wee one wakes, which should be in less than 3 hrs if sick patterns hold.

So, in order to get my tired behind to bed and keep up with the thankful posts, here is a quick list of what I am grateful for today. Continue reading

30 Days of a Thankful Heart {Days 19-23} Cousins

21 Nov

I’m cheating a bit this week by not posting every day, but it’s been a busy week and will just get busier with Thanksgiving on the way.  Hopefully I can get a little grace from you dear readers?!

When I started thinking about what I was grateful for this week, I was overwhelmed by the abundance of blessings in my life.

The boys and I took a quick day-trip in to Broken Arrow on Monday to visit family who arrived in town for Thanksgiving.  It was a wonderful day filled with lots of laughter, good food, and great company.  And it was a mere preview of what Thursday and Friday will bring.

This was one of the many reasons for laughter. Kasen was styling in the stache

I have a HUGE family, and so many people I am incredibly thankful for.  So, instead of doing a post for individuals (not enough days, what if I leave someone out?!) I am going to try and sum up the joy that my family brings to my life, specifically, cousins.  Continue reading

30 Days of a Thankful Heart {Day 18} Answered Prayers

19 Nov Community Worship

It’s Sunday.  In this house that means we spent most of the day at the church.

That happens when you are the pastor’s family.

It was a long day, as most Sundays are, and I didn’t even have time for my Sunday afternoon nap.

After a great sermon by The Hubs this morning, focused on John 3:16-21 and The Gift of Grace, our Abundant Life Small Group provided a spaghetti and lasagna lunch for the congregation, taking up donations to help fund various mission work in the conference.  It was delicious and I am incredibly thankful to share life with this amazing group of individuals.

We were able to have a brief respite at home after lunch, even though I had to run back up to the church to decorate and tidy up for the Community-wide Thanksgiving Service our church was hosting that evening.  I think The Hubs and the boys got a little bit of an afternoon nap, and I did manage 30 minutes to relax on the couch!

We headed back up to the church a bit before 5 and I corralled the kids while The Hubs prepared to welcome a few hundred people into our church. Continue reading

30 Days of a Thankful Heart {Day 17} Roller Derby

18 Nov

I think I am in love…with roller derby and the awesomeness that are roller girls!

Photo courtesy of True Grit Roller Derby
http://londontips.ca/true-grit-roller-derby

A little over two years ago I was catching up on my Netflix movie list and I received Whip It in the mail.  I’d heard of roller derby before, but this movie put a whole new spin on it. Plus I <3 me some Ellen Page (of Juno fame.) I was so intrigued!

I spent hours Googling roller derby and checking to see if there were any local teams.  There were! I asked The Hubs what he thought of the idea of me as a roller derby girl were.  He smiled and kind of laughed, and said, “You’d be good.  What about softball?”

Hmmm.  Was that a compliment or a diversion?

The idea and fascination remained just a lovely, awesome dream.  We were busy living life, getting adjusted to a new place, first ministry appointment, and our rapidly growing 9 month old.

But oh how dreams cling to the soul… Continue reading

30 Days of a Thankful Heart {Day 16} Cream-Filled Goodness

17 Nov hostess-cupcakes

I can’t help myself.  With the news of the Hostess demise, I feel compelled to share my thankfulness for the many cream-filled wonders I have consumed.

I have been lol’ing at all the memes floating around Facebook, namely about how well-timed the downfall of Hostess is in relation to the Mayan’s prediction of the end of the world.

It’s hard to imagine a world where my children may never know the joy of a Hostess Cupcake or Twinkie.

When I heard the sad news, I had a few thoughts: Continue reading

30 Days of a Thankful Heart {Days 14 & 15} Motivation and My Journey to Being Soul Beautiful

15 Nov

If you are on Pinterest and have any kind of fitness board, you have probably seen this picture (and pinned it.)

I am on week 12!  I can attest to these statements above as pretty accurate.  I noticed some results around 4 weeks and friends and family are already saying they can see a difference since I started working out consistently.

When I began to work-out, after my second C-section in June, I was at 275.  Not quite the heaviest I had been, but close.  I was sick of not being able to do things I wanted to do, wear what I wanted, and feeling awful. I didn’t recognize the person in the mirror.  Even though I have been struggling with my weight since my knee surgery 10 years ago, I still don’t associate myself with the fat person I see in the mirror, because I know I am not that person.  I’ve been pretty and in amazing shape and I want that person back, inside and out.

I am not comfortable in my own skin.  But sitting around feeling mad or sorry for myself wasn’t going to help.  Only I could make changes to be healthier and happier. Continue reading

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