Thursday, January 28, 2010

Spring is Coming

The drive leading to our local gym is beautifully manicured. As I was driving my kids to their homeschool PE class, we passed by a double row of crape myrtles. There must be 20-30 crapes in that one median, and I've passed them dozens of times before. Cattle were grazing peacefully in the pasture to the right, but those crape myrtles strangely captured my attention.

For seemingly the first time, I noticed that the crapes had been pruned. In the few seconds it took for me to drive past them, God used those shrubs to pour spiritual truth into my leader heart.

1. The cuts were dramatic. There were no blooms whatsoever. The trunks stood courageously bare against the January sun. In their barrenness, they were still so beautiful.

2. Each shrub had been prepped for the spring. Red mounds of mulch piled around the base of each crape myrtle, polishing its presentation and protecting its roots.

3. The pruning had clearly been done by a skilled gardener. The one who'd made the cuts knew exactly what he was doing and was purposeful in it.

As I drove on up the road leading to the gym, I commented to my daughter what the Lord was showing me.

* Pruning hurts and can leave you feeling exposed and barren.

* The Lord is a skilled gardener. He doesn't make a cut that won't bring growth in the spring.

* He makes the cuts to bring growth.

* And, probably the realization that struck me the most was that it is January. The green buds won't be seen for another couple of months.

This gave me hope. Hope that when the Lord prunes me as a person and as a leader, it is to bring stunning growth and "fruit," and to help me be more like Christ. The pain comes and then the eternally-long wait. The green growth is not seen right away.

The crape myrtle is known to be one of the longest blooming shrubs. Hmmm . . . pruning, the wait, and then growth that lasts a long time. How is my growth; is it enduring?

"Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So, let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything."

James 1:2-4, New Living Translation

Learning lessons like this from God's creation helps me as a leader--a leader within my family, at church, and within the homeschool community. Being aware that the pruning has a purpose for my good and shapes me into a kinder, humbler, more effective leader supplants me and encourages me on.

Keep Moving Forward,


Need some more motivation during the winter months?


Melissa said...

This was such a great reminder of God's truth. Just what I needed to hear....THANK YOU!

Sheila Campbell said...


What a beautiful blog post! Not only was it beautiful, but it was real and inspiring!

I was just thinking of spring this morning as I look out on snow covered fields and ice laden trees. Flurries still fall from the sky and long icicles hang from the eves. When I stepped outside this morning the still morning air was broken by the crackling sound of ice as tree branches struggled to move against the cold breeze. All the world seemed frozen, but I was reminded that the branches encased in ice were still alive and that beneath the ice and the frozen ground lay the promise of spring. Even if it was hidden during this season of winter, the promise, the potential is still there.

Keep up the good work!