On Pruning the Shrubbery and a Fresh Look

Kim W Freeman   |   August 1, 2016 

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You will instantly notice, if you've been around here at all, the new look and feel of the blog. One of our regular contributors, Christy, redesigned the logo to give this space a distinctly Indian feel. We are all swooning over what she's created and love the new colors and the incorporation of paisley into the graphics. It feels like a fresh start.

Small changes, at times, make us feel as if something "new" is before us. Even if it really is the same space, only redone, in this case. What was once needed and useful and good, is put aside to make space for something fresh, exciting, and perhaps inspiring. At least that is the hope.

And while we are only talking about graphics on a blog in this instance, I find that often-times good things have to fall away in our lives to make space for better things to emerge. To give us space to say "yes" to something else God is leading us towards, a "no" must come before-- even if we feel the pangs of loss deeply.

Pruning my rose bushes tonight, I thought about this as I cut off some flowers that were still in bloom because the branches had become unwieldy. The entire front area of shrubbery at our home was in sore need of reshaping and trimming. Left unmanaged for a while, sparse growth was happening, but my plants had lost their beauty and were not producing as many roses because I had not trimmed the dead areas away. So tonight, I snipped and snipped until order had been restored, to some degree (the drought here is not helping either!). Trimming away at both good and unhealthy branches to make way for even fuller blooms in a later season.

Our lives are much like this. As women, we often have plenty of opportunities to be a part of good things, and often stretch ourselves too thin and as a result we begin to feel rundown, less vibrant, and unhealthy.

I have had to pause lately and admit my own limitations, though my pride often makes this quite difficult to do. I like to believe that I have endless energy and resources and that I can accomplish everything that I need to whilst also having time for a book and cup of tea at the end of the day. But for quite some time now, it has been painfully obvious that between parenting, marriage, work, writing (not much of that lately!), and settling into a new home and new city, I have stretched myself beyond capacity. And no matter how I slice it, if I want the rose bushes of my life to bear full, beautiful blooms, some pruning has needed to happen.

But pruning is painful as we watch pieces of ourselves fall away, but we are not without hope that there is a plan and a reason. When God wants to move us into deeper waters with Him, to show us more of His glory, and create a greater hunger in us for Him, we often find ourselves in a time of pruning. This could look like enduring a tremendous loss, facing an unexpected change, feeling a deep rejection, sensing a burden is lessening in one area, but increasing in another. Or it could be something entirely different as God uses the circumstances of our lives and the Holy Spirit to speak to us. Whether we pause to listen is entirely another story.

I haven't been so good at pausing lately. Maybe you can relate?

 

Sometimes I get to be a part of the pruning process and sometimes pruning happens whether I like it or not. I've had a bit of both in my life. I imagine you have as well.

I am sad to admit that I have had to have things ripped right out of my tight grasp because that was the only way I would let go of them. I'm stubborn that way. And other times, I have begun to sense God is leading me slowly in a new direction, but not exactly sure what direction I needed to go in, so I step forward slowly, cautiously. I'm always terrified of making a mistake or traveling down the wrong path.

Letting go of something good feels risky and wrong. Walking into the unknown is frightening and I worry I will miss out on something great by walking in a new direction.

I have felt that way with this blog. I love IndiAanya. I love the ladies who write here, even the ones I've never met in person. I love the journey and how it was born with fear and trepidation in my bones, but I walked forward anyway and have been blessed by the relationships and women who share their hearts here. I have been afraid to let go even though I've known that it was inevitable and necessary.

And now, with this new beginning, I sense that it's time to step back and let the wonderful team we have assembled run ahead and for me to get out of the way. We have amazingly strong women who are bold and wise and godly and passionate about their place and their people. It's a pleasure to watch. But cutting back this branch is hard, even if it is the right thing to do this season.

Pruning is certainly bittersweet.

But there is much to be excited about the months ahead. About the audience that's building and about what God can do through women who are yielded-- women who are willing to be pruned so they can bloom fuller, brighter, and healthier. I'm excited about the willingness of women to share bits of their lives and where they are right now to connect with other women facing the same things.

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

Are there things you sense God is leading you to cut away to make space in your life for something else? How do you respond to pruning in your life?

 

Photo Credit: Unsplash

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Kim W Freeman is the wearer of many hats: a wife to Jon, mother of five, founder of IndiAanya, artist and writer. She has a heart to see women grow in their faith and do life together in authentic community. Her perfect day would include cinnamon cappuccino, scones, rainy weather and an inspiring conversation. She haphazardly blogs over at her own place about life, art and spiritual formation at kwfreeman.com. She and her crew live in Charlotte, NC.

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3 comments on “On Pruning the Shrubbery and a Fresh Look”

  1. I was very much touched by this article... God did some major cuts in my life recently, and I feel he hasn't finished yet... ufff... painful... it was a gift to be reminded that it is for a beautiful blooming and fruitful spring tha we go through it ... thank you for that.
    I just didn't get clearly what you meant at the end... are you cutting off IndiaAnya?

    1. I'm glad this was encouraging for you! And no, the blog is going on, I'm simply scaling back my involvement as I have to adjust my priorities and schedule to meet the needs of my family. It's just hard for me to say no to good things.

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