For several years now our church ladies ministry team has put on a ladies tea. Each one of 14 ladies takes a table and decorates it to their liking. One year I decided to use hydrangeas for my table. I bought a beautiful bluish purple hydrangea at my local Trader Joe’s. I was actually going on my annual “by everything pumpkin” spree because Trader Joe’s is the best. I think their pumpkin ravioli is amazing! Served with alfredo sauce it’s perfection.  Oh goodness so tasty. Anyway, as I was walking in the store I see the hydrangea and plunk it in my basket where pumpkin pancake mix, pumpkin scones, pumpkin tortilla chips, pumpkin yogurt and pumpkin creamer plus other pumpkin delights will soon join it. 

I paid for my treasures and went home to gather the rest of my table decorations. As I put the hydrangea on the table I noticed some white moldy looking marks on the leaves. I pulled the obvious ones off and went about making my table pretty and inviting. I wish I still had the picture because those lovely blue hydrangeas were stunning!  The ladies came, we had tea and stimulating conversation. 

This photo wasn’t my table but it was similar in style. I got home and put water in the hydrangea thinking I might like to plant it in that huge planter I bought from Costco several weeks previous. Off  I went to Home Depot to get some Miracle Grow and see what would happen. I planted it and, over weeks, it proceeded to die little by little. My grandma Stephens had a beautiful garden and I remember her pruning her flowers down to the nub. She would tell me they would come back even more beautiful the next time. So, I pruned away. I cut that plant down until just a little piece of it was showing. Continuing to water it I noticed green buds forming. Weeks past and the leaves grew but they were covered with that pesky white moldy stuff. Not giving up I pruned that bunch down. This took place over several months. 

Still no flowers but I did not give up on those hydrangeas. I continued to water and fertilize. This third year something very strange and wonderful happened. The hydrangea leaves grew in green and beautiful with no moldy spots at all! Then something even stranger happened. The flowers grew in PINK! Not bluish purple but pink. They not only grew bigger, stonger and brighter but A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT COLOR! What the heck? 

What stunned me more was being reminded of John 15:2 “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away, and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit.” Our Heavenly Father wants us to be effective for Him. When we are in His hands He will prune us so we can grow stronger and be of better, more effective service for the kingdom of God. If that plant had not come in stronger with the pruning I would have thrown it away at some point. The verse says  that every branch in Him that does not bear fruit He takes away. The footnotes in my New American Standard Bible say “The word may mean literally “remove” and would therefore be a reference to the physical death of a fruitless Christian, or it may mean lift up as “picked up” which would indicate that the vinedresser encourages and makes it easier for the fruitless believer, hoping he will respond and begin to bear fruit.” 

I was really hoping my beautiful flower would take hold and blume. Boy was I surprised when it not only bloomed but changed color! Our precious Lord is patient with us. He uses His Word to prune us and clean us. His Word cleans our life. Things happen in our lives to grow us. We may pass through the valley of the shadow of death and God is with us. As we pass through we may hardly believe we’ve made it but we are stronger, our leaves aren’t moldy any more and we are most probably absolutely completely different! Pruning is necessary. Learning to say no to good to say yes to great is a hard lesson. Remember our Divine Vinedresser loves us so much that He will not throw us on the dried vine heap to be burned. He will nurture us and love us along until we bear more fruit and beautifully bloom. We are on the earth to bear fruit for His glory. Be fruitful today precious one.  Show others the love of Jesus.  Always let a sweet fragrance of His love and grace linger wherever you go. #whenyouwalkwiththewise


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