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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Pruning Tomatoes and Artichoked Hearts

I can't believe how quickly my tomato plants grew this summer! I started them from tiny seeds in April and now they are like giants.I recently learned (from visiting my daughter on an organic farm in California) that if I let all those leaves and branches continue to grow they will take the nutrition away from producing big, juicy tomatoes. I had learned in my early days of gardening to remove the suckers that grow in between the vines, but I never knew you had to cut them back so drastically.

So I set to work and started loping off huge chunks of over-sized and leafy vines. Of course there is a method. You just don't rip the plants to shreds. You have to know what to cut and what to leave on. Now my plants are growing nice big tomatoes. I cant' wait till they ripen.

This reminded me of a lesson the Lord taught me years ago and continues to teach me.It's taken from John 16:2 "Every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit." God is the Master Gardener and he knows when we're getting too leafy. Several times in my life I've gone through a pruning, like the time I switched careers and couldn't find a teaching job. God used this time in my life to develop trust in Him. He cut a lot of things out of my life--my job, friends who got divorced,a woman's Bible study etc. I had to cling to the Lord and trust Him to grow some new branches.And He did!

He has provided abundantly. I now have a great art teaching job and our finances are much more stable now that my husband's job is more consistent.My son, who battled with addictions, is now fully recovered and following the Lord. I'm attending a new church and we have several Bible studies and many events to attend and participate in. In addition, a couple of summers ago I brought my daughters to Europe, something I had wanted to do for them for years. We had a great time in exploring Italy and Spain. I could go on and on about God's provision, but I don't want to focus on that.I want to attest to the work God has done in my life because He knew when to prune me.

During these times when He clipped my leafy branches and pruned an artichoked heart,He humbled me.He helped Me to see how much He loves Me, as well as others. He replaced my art I choke (that is a heart wrapped up in itself) and gave me compassion for the poor and the needy. He continues to work in me, helping me to be more patient and forgiving, less judgmental and demanding.And that's one reason I write what I do. I want my books and writing to touch people's lives and minister to them, and I hope my life reflects a pruned heart--one that is fruitful like my tomatoes, minus the leaves and the bugs!