Prune and Tune

Prune and Tune – two words that we have to do occasionally.

First we have to prune.  I am not talking about the fruit because I wouldn’t do anything with that.  I am talking about the verb “prune.”  It means to remove what is superfluous or undesirable.  I have a rose bush in the front of my house.  It is about the only thing that I have planted that has thrived.  It has grown so much that it was overtaking the sidewalk and interfering with mowing next to it.  Recently, I decided to trim the rose bush.  It is now pruned down to a smaller version of itself.  It won’t interfere with anyone walking to my front door or with anyone mowing next to it.  It looks healthier and I am sure it will bloom much better now.  You see, the blooms have been a lot less lately.  As I was pruning, I did have to cut off a few blooms.  Sometimes you have to cut off what is unnecessary or undesirable so that we can bloom more.  The Bible says in John 15:2 says, “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, and every branch that does bear fruit, He prunes to make it even more fruitful.”

Once we have pruned, we need a tune up.  This past week, I had some help to “prune” and clear some things out from my garage.  During the process, my bike was freed  from some of the boxes that surrounded it.  Granted, I have not used the bike since we have moved here, which was at least 9 years ago.  My daughter got a new bike for her birthday and wants me to ride with her.  The process of cleaning out the garage is daunting.  After just accomplishing a little,  I had a pity party and a good cry.  Then I got up and wiped my tears, hosed off the dust and dirt on the bike and loaded it into my car.   I took it to put air in the tires but it wouldn’t work so I just dropped it off at the cycle shop for a tune up, as they called it.  It will now be like a brand new bike.

Pruning is hard and sometimes seems like we can’t do it.  It may be too hard to cut things out of our life that we just don’t want to let go or it might require too much work.  The garage is going to require more pruning but God showed me just one little thing that I can get out of it – a bike ride.  God will show you what needs to be pruned so He can tune.

A River in a Desert

Isaiah 43:19 says, “Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to My chosen people.”

Six years ago, my husband and I faced a decision that was very hard to make.  It was a decision to leave a church and step out on faith not knowing where the road would take us.  We felt as if God had another place for us, where we would not only be loved, but where we could serve God in the way that we knew He had planned for us.  We also wanted it to be in a place where our young daughter would see Godly examples around her.  Stepping out on faith was hard.  It meant a loss in income over time and my return to full time employment.  It was a desert because we did not know what the future was going to hold for us.  The verse in Isaiah was a promise that although, at times, it felt that we were stranded in a desert, God promised that he would make a way for us.  The happy ending to that desert was that God brought us to a new church.  My husband thrived in his gift to preach and teach the word of God to people who desired to hear and apply it.  Our daughter was immediately surrounded with Godly examples and we all were loved by everyone beyond what we ever expected.

However, that is not the end of my story.  Once again, I find myself in an eerily similar circumstance.  The future is once again unseen and unsure.  What I do know is that God is faithful in His word, over and over, again and again.  Let’s break down that verse – in true Pastor fashion.  (I was married to him for 20 years and he taught me well!)

In Isaiah 43:19 it begins with saying that He would do something new.  This eludes to something that hasn’t happened yet, something new and wonderful that will surpass what He had formerly done.  Nothing is impossible with God and we can look for the blessings that God has promised.  I know that as we (and the church) continue to mourn the passing of him, we must continue to look for what the new thing is that God wants to do.  It also says that it shall spring forth.  What do you think when you hear that phrase?  I think of a bud opening and blooming like a flower or a shoot of grass or plant coming up new from the ground.  It is a happy feeling thinking of spring.  Will you not be aware of it?  We have to be careful to keep our focus in the right place.  We still need to worship together, serve together and unite so that we will be aware when God is working among us.  I will make a roadway in the wilderness.  When we are walking in a fog or in an unfamiliar place, it helps to be able to follow a road or path.  It keeps us on target so that we don’t get lost.  Being lost and separated from God breaks our fellowship with him and it prevents us from receiving the blessing that he might have for us.  Rivers in the desert – Have you ever been in a desert and suddenly a river popped up?  Not a stream…not a bubbling brook – a river!!  We are talking Mississippi, Ohio, Missouri RIVER.  That is what God is promising here.  He will put a river in our desert.  This is the river of Life, the living water, this is what we need to survive.  It will come in abundant supply.

There is always a path in the wilderness as we look for the river in the desert.

A future unexpected

img_3989The picture shows what was in a fortune cookie as my husband and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary.
“A thrilling adventure is in your near future” and “You will accomplish great things in your free time this week.”

We decided to get away for our anniversary leaving our 12 year old behind with a friend’s family.  It was an amazing time as we spent it together, holding hands, taking a dinner cruise, strolling the pier.  I am not one to believe everything the fortune cookie tells me but I thought these were interesting.  What I didn’t know was what the thrilling adventure was in my near future.  When I think of a thrilling adventure, I think of something awesome, exciting and fun.  Unfortunately, my thrilling adventure meant losing him just 2 months later.  Thrilling became more of horror and uncertainty as I faced a life without him.  The unknowns and whys haunted me.  The days surrounding his death and the funeral are somewhat of a blur.  Medicated and kept busy by friends and family caused me to just walk in a fog and I couldn’t wake to go to sleep at night because I knew that I made it through the day.  I had to learn how to live without him, maintain a house, pay the bills and raise our daughter all alone.  The memories that we shared are embedded into my mind and it is what keeps me going.  We have so many great ones and now that I have almost made it through the first 365, I embark on this blog journey to continue writing.  Writing has been a good therapy for me.  It helps me to express my faith and it reminds me of the strength that God is giving me.  I hope that the words that I say are meaningful to at least one person.