Friday, August 31, 2007


"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)

Earlier this week, I paid two hard-working men to remove two trees in my backyard. As shown above, only a stump remains. Most people might think it ludicrous to remove two trees that seem to be healthy. But these trees had a family secret.

They were hackberry trees. And for those of you who aren’t familiar with the tactics of hackberry trees, here’s a bit of their family history:

Hackberry is a weak tree [that is] subject to split and which [is] vulnerable to major wind and ice damage. Hackberry bark is very thin[;] the tree damages easily and is susceptible to disease, eventual rot[,] and catastrophic limb loss. Roots can raise sidewalks and interfere with mowing. The tree is messy with an abundant loss of small limbs and fruit each year.

The rains this summer caused the two hackberry trees to have major growth spurts and made them soar to scary heights, which in turn made them more vulnerable to splitting in the very near future. So I decided that it was time to take preventative action to reduce the chance of them collapsing on my house.

Although my backyard is now completely barren, my outlook is not. I’m excited about the prospect of being able to plant grass in the spring and of having it grow. Maybe I’ll try my luck with other plants as well. Or maybe even a garden could be in my backyard’s future.

But none of that could even be considered while the two hackberry trees were growing there. They blocked out light, and thus life.

I like that the tree removal coincided with the beginning of fall (though not technically here until September 23 or much later in Texas). It reminded me of how the leaves will soon fall off the non-evergreen trees, causing them to be bare, but only for a season. The “death” of the leaves allows for new growth in the spring.

As with all good metaphors from nature, I’ve been pondering what pruning I need to do in my own life in order to be more fruitful. Are there things on my schedule that could be trimmed in order to allow me to use my time or my talents in better ways? What relationships do I need to cut off and which ones should I invest more time in so that they can blossom? There’s always some pruning to be done to my budget, but am I willing to stick to it?

Throughout my ponderings this week, I feel like God has been preparing me for a season (or maybe longer) of pruning. I pray that He will be gentle and that the end result would glorify Him. I definitely feel like a work in progress.


Anonymous said...

I feel as though I am in for a long season of pruning as well. I am welcoming it with open arms. I know it needs to occur and I am drawing near to Him. Thank you for your beautiful and timely words.


"Bluebonnet in the snow" said...

K - I'm not sure that I'm welcoming this season of pruning, but I know it is necessary, even vital. Your great attitude encourages me!

spaghettipie said...

Thanks for your thoughts. I am always amazed at how much nature has to teach us about our Creator.

"Bluebonnet in the snow" said...

SP - Nature is a unique classroom in which much can be learned, if I'll only sit still in it for a little while.

Anonymous said...

I am always so thankful that God loves us enough to prune us. We recently moved into a house that had been vacant for a year and the trees had not been kept up. To say the least, they were ugly and very hard to tame. God is so gracious to prune us before we get to the ugly and harm to tame phase, if we are sensitive to His voice. Thanks for this great reminder!

"Bluebonnet in the snow" said...

R - Thanks for stopping by! I definitely don't want to get to the "hard-to-tame" stage because I know that the pruning will take longer and probably be more painful.