My mom taught me how to prune a certain bush that was spilling out of the planter. This was the coaching she gave me: "look for the newest growth and then cut it back to the place it came from. In the spring, new growth will push out from that same place. This is the time of year we prune so that there are enough nutrients to grow new growth while keeping the whole plant from becoming unhealthy."
I didn't think of it then, but.... did she know that she would speak to me in such a metaphor?
Nature's change of season has brought a season of wrestling fear for me. And the Lord is challenging me to bravery. But being brave requires me to look my fear in it's face and that feels like this cutting off of that which is comfortable to me. Ironic, isn't it? How I think of my fear as my comfort zone. I know my fear. Fear demands no faith from me. At it's first whisper, it seems easier to my flesh.
And then it slowly sucks the joy and life right from my days.
So the Lord gifts me this metaphor of pruning and it's not the first time He gives it(John 15) but it moves me in a powerful way. He takes me back to the last time, not more than a year ago, when I learned to believe Him more and to trust Him deeper. That time I felt like I'd remember forever just how enough He is and how satisified I am in Him. How brave I feel in His embrace.
And He says "Let Me take you back, cut you back, to where that knowing came from. For then, when the seasons change again, new growth, more fruit, will come."
So will I say yes? Yes to Him and yes to brave. Yes to facing my fear because there is no way to be brave other than to stare it down, see it for what it is, and choose trust instead. Choose trusting the Father's heart even if those fears become reality and believing that where He leads will never be out of His Plan or His tender arms.
As the leaves fall and the trees are stripped in preparation for winter, I can choose to be laid bare before the Lord in a season of brave vulnerability. May we all embrace the gift of pruning He offers.
Happy Fall, y'all.