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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 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 ❤ 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 {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

30 Days of a Thankful Heart {Day 13} Poetry and Prose

13 Nov

My poetry is not something I have shared as much on this blog.  I have used Allpoetry.com as the outlet for those words.

But I love poetry, prose, limericks, and the like.

Raw emotions harnessed within the lines of meter and sometimes rhyme; poetry is the world’s window to the soul.

I am grateful that God has gifted me in sharing written words, whether as story or metaphor, imagery or fact.

I pour my soul from pen to paper as if my blood is the very ink with which I write.  I convey that which I cannot speak.  I create from hope, tears, love, pain, and grace.

My life lines the paper and I am laid bare.

This was a poem I wrote for Allpoetry Continue reading

30 Days of a Thankful Heart {Day 12} Low & Slow

12 Nov

After another delicious meal thanks to a recipe found on pinterest I know what I am especially thankful for today.

My Crock-pots.

Yep!  That includes being thankful for the food we are able to buy and recipes we make from said food.  I am thankful I have never had to experience true hunger from not having enough food.  I’ve done the 30 hr. Famine a few times, so I’ve felt hungry, but I’ve never wondered where my next meal would come from, or if I would eat at all.

But I am very grateful to have 3 lovely crock-pots that I can throw some ingredients in, set it on low and slow, and come home to the mouth-watering scent of home-cooked goodness wafting through the house.  You might think 3 is an excessive number to have, but really, it isn’t when you are a ministry family.  I have literally used all 3 at the same time before! One is just a baby crock-pot for dips and such.  One is purple and pretty (a birthday present,) and the other is the elegant one we registered for as a wedding gift.  She’s my old lady who works hard!

Here are a few things my classy cookers have helped create:

Chicken Taco Chili

Crock-pot shredded BBQ chicken

Roast and Veggies

 

 

Do you all crock-pot?  What are some of your favorite recipes?

Gracefully~~Heather

30 Days of a Thankful Heart {Day 11} How to Choose

12 Nov Abundant Life

I have a gratitude problem.

However, it is not because I don’t appreciate the people and things I have in my life.

My problem is I have so much that I am grateful for that it is making it difficult to choose what to post about each day.

I know, first world problems.

When I decided to do this Thankful Heart series I wasn’t sure how it would play out.  Would I plan it all ahead or would I decide what I was grateful for each day and be inspired?

Being the emotional being I am, Continue reading

30 Days of a Thankful Heart {Day 5} Road Home

6 Nov

I am late in posting my fifth day of gratitude, but for a good reason.  The boys and I made a spur of the moment day trip back home to Broken Arrow, OK.  I didn’t take my laptop and even though I have the WordPress app on my phone, I’m not a fan of actually posting from it.

I was busy anyways!

I had a similar view on my drive home

I interviewed for a job last Tuesday and I am supposed to hear back sometime by Wednesday.  I am not great at waiting on those results.  Instead of trying to entertain both boys while my mind was racing at home, I decided a quick trip in to see family and maybe a friend would be a great way to spend the day.

It was!  The boys got to spend quality time with their Mima (great-grandmother), I had lunch with a friend from school, and we had a family dinner out with the larger, extended family, which included 4 dolls under the age of 4 to love on!  It was a long day, but it was a huge blessing as well.

As we pulled in to the driveway at 10:20, both boys exhausted and my eyes drooping, my heart felt lighter and I was thankful to have family close enough to visit on the spur of the moment (even if it is 1 1/2 hrs away!)  The drive isn’t bad and this time of year is lined with my favorite view of gorgeous fall foliage.  It was quite relaxing.

So, I may be a day late, but I am extra grateful that I can travel the road home and be welcomed with loving arms whenever the mood strikes, at least for now.

Gracefully~~Heather

 

30 Days of a Thankful Heart {Day 4} And He Rested

4 Nov rest_here

The Bible tells the story of creation.  It was a process that took seven days to complete.  Each day God created, working hard to make something beautiful, functional, and wonderful from nothing.  Each day God admired His work and said, “It is good.”

The seventh day God took in all He had created and said, “It is very good,” and then He rested.

I can imagine that after all that creating something from nothing, God had to be a bit worn out.  Ya know, if God got tired.  However, God is known as being all-powerful and I am pretty sure that comes with a big helping of not needing things like sleep.

What I think is that God rested and took time to reflect on all He had done.  He took time to look back over His week and reflect on what took place; what worked and what didn’t. He took time to enjoy and appreciate the time He had already spent before He moved on to the next task, like directing Noah to build an ark. Continue reading

30 Days of a Thankful Heart {Day 2} Good Grace

2 Nov When all else is gone, your grace remains.
Photo courtesy of Kaci Sappington

My Facebook newsfeed is full of my friends and family updating statuses with what they are thankful for.  I noticed that many people were catching up on Day 2 and listing the two things they are grateful for. Most listed God, faith, or the like as the first thing they are thankful for.

Guilt creeped in.

What kind of a pastor’s wife am I?  I was grateful for happiness and health before being grateful for God?!

Alert social medias.

I suppose what happened was simply that I was editing the pictures of the boys and that was what struck me as needing to express my gratitude for.  I also suppose that my gratefulness for God in my life is so interwoven into the fabric of all I do and am that it sometimes goes unspoken or unwritten.

So, God, have no worries, You are who I am most grateful for.

I know You were wondering. (Sarcasm people.) Continue reading

Fall Frame of Mind

22 Sep Fall at Highbridge in KY

It’s official!  Fall is here!  According to the calendar it is the first day of Fall, and my heart is so happy.

A gorgeous Fall picture I snapped a few years back while living in KY.

Of course, I am ready for Fall to arrive as soon as September begins.  I want to break out the pumpkins, hang the Autumn wreaths, snuggle up with some cider and watch the leaves change and flit from the trees.  However, all good things take time, and Fall is certainly taking its sweet time appearing lately.

Fall temperatures should never reach into the 90’s and God forbid, triple digits, yet I’m afraid those days are not totally over.  Despite the drought this year, the recent rains have allowed trees and grass to green up once again, and there is hope for beautiful Fall foliage.  This time last year most trees had already turned brown and were losing dead leaves.  I’m ecstatic at the thought of driving down the highway and actually seeing the color-changing leaves in all their Autumn splendor.

There is just something about this time of year that speaks to my soul.  The air is crisp and cool, the scent of pumpkins and apples mixed with spices swirl in the air, and it’s time to break out hoodies and cozy blankets and snuggle up at football games.  Perhaps it is Autumn that pumps in my veins as an October baby, and fills my harvest heart with joy.  Fall causes me to slow down, reflect on life, and just breathe it all in.

I was reflecting on the beauty of Fall yesterday and all it causes me to think and feel, and I realized that my view on life seems to shift when Fall arrives.  Just as the trees, flowers, and animals begin to prepare for winter during the Fall by slowing growth, storing food, and shedding the old, I too find myself sifting through the chaos the year has stored up.

I find myself in a Fall frame of mind.  I rediscover the beauty within myself and the grace from above as they swirl together, changing the color of my soul.  I find refreshment and renewal.  I find the joy in life again. Continue reading