the gardener.

“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
To say that I enjoy my houseplants would be a huge understatement on my part; I LOVE them. No, I think that I might even ADORE them. You see, I used to be one of those creatures that could kill a houseplant with just one glare from the eyes. I hated this about myself and vowed to one day keep some alive for a significant period of time. After all, I have two children so why should a houseplant be so hard to care for?
Anyways, I think that I adore my houseplants so much because I feel a sense of accomplishment when I tend them. I’ve been able to learn a new set of skills in order to keep them healthy and even thriving. Although I love all of my plants, I do have a favorite; my Jasmine plant. She’s a real beauty with little white flowers that are so soft and fragrant, she’s brought me much joy over the past few years that I’ve had her. So I’m sure you would understand how confused and heartbroken I was when she started to shrivel-up and turn yellowy-brown. “NO!” I thought, “Not my beautiful Jasmine plant! What have I done wrong!??!” I quickly grabbed the pot, gave her a drink and then set her by some direct sunlight. “That’ll do it!” I confidently said. I must admit that I had taken note of no new blooms on her for quite some time. This was out-of-character but I managed to not worry too much about it.
The next day I walked over to check on the progress of my beloved plant only to find her even more shrivelled and even more yellowy-brown. My heart sunk. Again I picked up the pot and took her over to the sink. “She must be really thirsty” I reasoned as I set her down and began running the water through the dirt. All-of-a-sudden, seemingly out-of-nowhere, up came these squirmy-wormy little white things…lots of them. I quickly phone my mom (a woman who keeps a variety of houseplants very successfully) and asked her what I should do. I was told that I could either throw it out or wash the plant. Well, throwing it out was just not an option in my books, this was my beloved Jasmine plant after all, so I put the plant in the basement where it was to await it’s bath.
I didn’t get to it that day, or the next (dirt + toddlers + inside = disaster), but I did finally get to it. To be honest, the worms kinda grossed me out…it’s different when the worms are inside the house rather than outside in the garden. Anyways, I brought the plant upstairs, got all of my supplies ready and started my work. If any of you are familiar with Jasmine plants then you will know that their root systems are highly intricate and tightly bound, washing them thoroughly is no easy/quick task. I took her out of the pot and began slowly crumbly the dirt off from around the roots. Then I turned the tap on and began washing the dirt away, trying to get in between everything without causing too much damage. I got a bucket, filled it with water and plunged the mainly bare roots in so as to bring up any remaining worms. While she sat in her bath I prepared a new, bigger pot and filled it with fresh new soil. I placed her in, pressed some dirt around her roots and then went to work on the exposed parts. I cut back most of her newer off-shoots, tore off almost all leaves, and staked her larger stems.
While I did this last part of tending the Lord began to speak to my heart; I started realizing how similar I was to this little plant. For years I have asked and questioned why things have happened the way they have. I haven’t understood why God allowed/brought us through these situations and circumstances, with the most recent one being James job loss. I’ve usually focused on where our family was physically supposed to be going and what we were physically supposed to be doing and what God wanted from us in the physical sense. With His soft voice God began to show me how He is uprooting me because I’ve planted myself in bad dirt, how He is cutting back the branches that I’ve sent out in vain, of how He is tearing some old leaves off in order to make room for new, productive growth. He began to whisper that He is the gardener…not me.
I took my time with the last bit of tending as I felt a bit more of a connection with the plant in my hands. I didn’t know if my efforts would prove successful or not, but at least I had tried to keep her alive. During a visit to Safeway I picked up a little bit of plant food for her and gave her a dose latter that day. Well, it’s been a few weeks now and I’m happy to say that she is still alive and, in fact, doing quite well. I realized this while I was washing the dishes yesterday. I looked up to see how everything was going and, much to my surprise, I saw new life in her; there are tons of new buds on her bare branches. I did a happy dance. She had gone into shock from being transplanted and pruned, but with some more tenderness my, now healthy, Jasmine plant
survived the whole ordeal and is even flowering.
Maybe I am in need of some new soil, a good transplanting, a bit of pruning and some different food. Maybe this is what the Lord has been trying to whisper to me these past few years. I have a feeling that God is wanting to use these situations in my life to make me stronger and healthy, to help me to thrive. Maybe if I pay attention and let Him be the gardener I’ll start to see some new growth and maybe I’ll even see some new fragrant flowers.

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “the gardener.

  1. jb

    hey bria, i’ve just recently come across your blog (from Ruth’s blog) and i wanted you to know that i found this post really encouraging. πŸ™‚ yesterday in church, our pastor was talking about how sin can “plug up” our wells to God, and how we need to get rid of (or prune, if you will) the sin to be able to hear from God, or produce good fruit… i thought of the past year of my life, really tough year, and it really spoke to me, i need lots of pruning… i wanna hear from God more, have MUCH more fruit in my life. what a great analogy bria. πŸ™‚

  2. Jordan

    Wonderful post, Bria. You have a tremendous talent for noticing God’s work in the seemingly ordinary things.

  3. Roo

    so blessed by your words.

  4. JuliaD

    fabulously written. and beautiful message.

  5. kelly

    yay! it didn’t die! i’m so darn proud of you!

  6. Jay

    Such a great post Bria. I was writing on my blog this afternoon, then came here. The message was almost the same, but i decided to do mine without any tact. You have a great gift, seeing the goodness and grace of God in the little things. I continue to pray for you and James and the kids. God Bless.

  7. Anonymous

    Bria, I am so blessed by your writings, you are very creative and I love reading your blog. Thanks for being so open with your life.

  8. Pingback: tell me something happy. « I've Come Undone

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