I have these petunias in hanging baskets in the front yard. I've had them about six weeks and they're not dead yet.
This is somewhat of a miracle, or at least - a measure of progress. One of the two.
Admittedly, I'm not very good at taking care of things. I've often joked that everything I touch turns to broken and I'm often reminded of the fact that my being responsible for the lives of two little human beings is the most utterly ridiculous and humbling prospect.
But thankfully, God who chooses and uses the foolish and the weak and for that, I am grateful.
And so, I am learning. Always. How to care for that which He has entrusted me with; how to rely on His wisdom and His strength.
In everything from parenting, to pruning petunias, I am learning.
Every few days, I take the petunias down and sit with them in the front yard. I delicately pick and prune each branch, removing the withered blooms, the broken and brittle branches.
I've learned that if I let too much time go by, this task can become overwhelming - the stems become tangled and messy, so intertwined with the withered and dying stems...
They require this constant, daily pruning process to keep growing, to keep blooming...
And the same is true of our hearts.
Because if we aren't careful, if we aren't willing to allow ourselves and our hearts to be picked and prodded and pruned,
Those remnants of what was can clutter our hearts and slowly begin to choke out what is - and what is to be.
And this pruning - His holy and perfect pruning - comes through abiding.
“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.
You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Abide in me, as I also abide in you.
No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must abide in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in me." ~ Jesus (John 15)
After the pruning the petunias, I water their soil and I mist their blooms. I hang them back up and in the fullness of the sun and they spring back to life with renewed fervor. The blooms multiply and become more abundant and beautiful than ever...
And the same is true of us.
"I have come that you might have life and have it to the full." Jesus (John 10:10)