When Things Just Don't Make Sense

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When things just don't make sense I kill plants.

Funny, because I’m a nurturer. But honestly, if it’s not one of the five beings in my world yelling “Mommy,” I’m probably going to forget about it.

So no. No green thumb here, which means I’m almost completely ignorant about the pruning process. Until it's my turn to be pruned.

I’m a branch, attached to the True Vine. I long to grow in Jesus. I long to bear fruit. I want to please Him, share His love, impact the world, storm hell’s gates.

Sometimes I feel I’m close… during a sweet time of worship, a teaching moment with my kids, a few words sent into cyberspace that God sees fit to use. In faith, I work and wait for fruit.

And recently, I’ve seen some precious blossoms transform. It’s miraculous the way the fruit forms. I channel as much nourishment as I can into those tender young fruits. And I dream big.

The harvest is all for God’s glory, I tell my kids. He can use us… what a privilege! That’s why He created us… gave us our own unique gifts, personalities, stories. We pray together, telling Him again that we want our lives and our blessings to be used. To whom much is given, much is required.

But then come days when life is sliced by cold metal shears. I’m left gaping, certain there must be a mistake.

There was supposed to be a harvest, but now there’s just a messy pile of leaves, twigs and developing fruits. I want to cover up the stubby remains of my branch. I feel naked and ashamed.

All that was mine! It was going to grow! Why this? Why now?

I want to be angry, but even while my eyes sting, I know in my heart that this isn’t the work of some hired hand — those yard guys who chop down prized rose bushes with overzealous weed whackers.

No. This was The Gardener.

And if His hand was on the shears, there must have been a reason.

It feels like such a waste. But I see anew that it’s in brokenness — in a fragile, common, dirty jar of clay — that God’s all-surpassing power shines. The discomfort of pruning is where sufficient grace is proven.

I feel so weird without my leafy fullness. So silly about my dreams of a harvest. I kind of want to just shrivel away to nothingness.

But The Gardener keeps watering and tending.

And I realize something profound: I have not been disconnected from the Vine. In fact I’ve never felt so close… felt so much of Him pouring into me.

And another thing — would He be tending me so carefully if there was no hope at all?

A friend just told me about a rose bush she’d pruned back to nothing. It was nearly dead, but now, three years later, it's the glory of her garden.

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 15:2)

Dear sister in Christ, I am not seeing my glorious harvest... yet. And perhaps you aren’t either. But I’m asking you to stand alongside me in faith that our Gardener is good, sovereign, and wise.

If you are reeling in a pruning season, would you allow me lift you up in prayer?

Heavenly Father, we stand before you with open hands. You are the one who redeemed our souls, and we belong to you. This form of “discipline” is unpleasant and painful, but we trust that it will produce “a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11). We stand on the promise of your sufficient grace, of power made perfect in weakness (2 Cor. 12:9). Thank you that you call us your daughters, that you prune and nurture us as your very own. Use us in our brokenness, and bring the fruit in your perfect time. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Blessings,

Jennifer

Jennifer Ebenhack

Jennifer’s eight eventful years in Haiti produced a gift of brokenness through which she has discovered the depths of God’s healing grace. She passes that grace on to others through her blog, life coaching, and her ebook Take Courage: Choosing faith on my journey of fear. She is currently writing a memoir of her family’s nine-year adoption process and gripping experiences in Haiti.

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