praying, crying, pruning, cutting

I’m doing Beth Moore’s A Woman’s Heart at my old church on Thursday mornings. In yesterday’s video, she spent a lot of time on John 15. Verses 1-2 say, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 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.”

God’s got His clippers out, and He’s going to town on me. The question is–is He cutting or pruning? I got up early (for the first time in a good while) and went for a little jog to discuss this with Him. I’m fairly certain He’s pruning, which makes me very happy. Until I remember that it still really hurts.

I went to bed pretty drained last night, and I woke up feeling like someone had died. I know now how big this dream is to me. I haven’t felt such weight of grief in an awfully long time.

I already loved John 15, and I love it even more now. Verse 8 says, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourself to be my disciples.” What does God’s glory really mean? Paraphrasing from the video, it’s anything that makes you say Only God. Anytime something happens that could not possibly have any other explanation but God.

Some stuff we can just do in our “own” power. People see our talents, see what we’ve accomplished, and give us glory. Those are the things I’m asking God to prune out of my life. I want everything I do to reflect Him. I want everything I do to cause people to say–“Well, I don’t know how in the world she managed that, but it sure wasn’t anything she did. If I believed in God, I’d say He was actually personally involved in her life or something.”

God wants me to bear a lot of fruit. There’s no question about that. But the definition of the Bible’s kind of fruit is something that God does in your life, not something you accomplish on your own and get credit for.

God’s going to be glorified in my life if I turn it over to Him. I gave Him my dream this morning (which is actually harder to do when it’s a dream of your loved ones too), and we’ll see what He does with it. If He lets me pursue it, it’s going to be bigger and better than it would have been before. And there will be NO question who made it happen. Not me, that’s for darn certain.

He already gave me a tangible example of His glory just a little bit ago. This morning has been one crappy thing after another. Perfectly miserable. I got back from my jog with bad stomach cramps again, and they were wrapping around my back, and I was thinking kidney failure or something. Then one of my children and I were in a big ol’ battle in her bedroom with the bus minutes away from arriving at the end of the street. Oh, it was bad. Yelling, crying, out-of-body-experience bad. She walked to the bus stop very, very angry with me. I hate that.

Bear with me. I’m getting to the glory part. THEN Gabe tells me that he has three clients coming over at 10 to be trained on website updating. The house is a mess, I’m a mess, I’m trying to pack for the weekend and make food, what will I do with Nina? AND our van battery died again last night. The people called, said they’d be here at 11. So Gabe decided we’d jump the van battery again and he’d go get it tested. The car guy said it might be the alternator.

I back the van out of the garage, Gabe pushing. He attached the jumper cables. Except, um, I had the key turned in the ignition (???!) The cables start smoking, melted plastic, fire. Gabe yanks them off his car, burns his hand, I run for a broom, he knocks the others off with that. Now our van’s in the middle of the street, our jumper cables are trashed, and I’m ready to quit life.

I prayed, “God, do something big that shows your glory. We don’t have a vegetable’s chance in Candyland (um, where did that come from?) on our own.” We decided to push the van down the street to a place we could park. We’ll take the car this weekend. We’ll deal with all of this later.

I get in the van. Gabe tells me to try to start it. Why? I do. It starts. He had turned his car on, I guess, for a couple seconds before all poo broke loose. And it charged it just enough. He drove it to the car shop, got some good news, is coming home with a new battery under warranty. If it goes bad in a week, it’s the alternator.

Oh my word. Look at the time! I have to take a shower before these people come. This was totally supposed to be a quick little blog. Thanks for praying. I love you. Have an awesome weekend!

17 thoughts on “praying, crying, pruning, cutting

  1. jbnygaard

    Marla…my dear Marla. Pruning is hard, and it hurts. I hurt with you my friend.

    I missed you so much this weekend at SpringHill. I talked with Liz Curtis Higgs about you. She had said some things, that I’ll share later with you that were SOOO for you! I took note after note. Liz told me to have you check her website if you haven’t already…..and that your name sounded REALLY, REALLY familiar. Did you know that she lives in Louiville?

  2. lites4Him

    We missed you at Springhill this weekend! I was praying for you after reading your blog about the crushing blow. Hang in there friend- I love the comment about hold on above. We just never know where God’s going to take us. Many times, it’s not where we thought we were headed but when we get there, the view is AMAZING.

    This is from an old Rich Mullins song… “Hold me Jesus, cause I’m shaking like a leaf. You have been my King of Glory, won’t you be my Prince of Peace.” May your Prince hold you close to His heart as He takes you on this journey that will definitely bring Him glory!

  3. Anonymous

    Marla,

    Though I don’t know you, I love your blog site. I have had a few dreams redirected, including the pursuit of some writing. In process now within WM of writing a bible study at our church, and have had so much opposition, I have cried out to God many a day, “are you sure Lord, was this the direction you prompted.” Pruning…yes most definitely, cutting back some things…yes, and obstacles, yes. Here is where God has me camped the past several weeks. Romans 8:24-25 “those led by the Spirit are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but the Spirit of Sonship and by him we cry Abba, Father.” God has continued to remind me that my dreams, my agenda is not my own, but His. I am learning how important it is to trust that as my Abba, his intentions for me are good even when my view is so limited. There is no reason to fear, I have not a doubt that His plans for you will unfold just as He intended.

    Your writing is good, girl. I am just a leap ahead in stage of life and kids and how I wish you had been around when I was raising mine. Your authenticity and your faith are a beautiful example to all. Hang in there sister! At some point, some time will free up and I will be able to get my blog rolling. We think very much alike

  4. Nixter77

    I love you! It’s tough to be pruned but as with a tree or plant or flower that is pruned it grows bigger and better and more beautiful once pruned. It doesn’t mean the process is easy but God loves you, cares for you and wants the best for you (so do I but He is way way more important than me). He promises never to leave or forsake you – he will always be therewith you through this process – trust in Him, cling to Him.

    Did I mention I love you?

    To Him be the glory, honour and praise forever and ever, forever amen!

  5. kellyleelizabeth

    ^ I know that was for Marla, but I needed that. Still feel like it’s going to kill me, but still… I needed that.

    I’m praying for you Marla (in-betweenst sobs over my own bloody, gory prunage). Love you.

  6. schmett73

    Marla, I know I already commented, but I JUST got this email in my inbox from Proverbs 31 Ministries.  Micca Monda Campbell wrote it, and I just had to share it with you.  It’s called “Setback or Cutback?”

    “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that is will be even more fruitful.”

    John 15:2 (NIV)

    Dr. James Dobson, President of Focus on the Family, describe determined, strong-willed children this way: “They come into the world smoking a cigar and asking to speak to the administrator of the hospital to complain about the temperature of their room.”

    That’s a good definition of my son. For example, in Jr. High, Mitch struggled in his relationship with his basketball coach. Why? Because he didn’t think he was a good coach. While Mitch never said so, his attitude reflected this mind-set, which in turn affected his game. The coach ultimately benched him, and his attitude. Devastated, Mitch couldn’t understand why the coach would bench one of his starting players.
    We’ve all been there. You and I have experienced “setbacks” in our jobs, relationships, and even in ministry. These setbacks cause us to wonder, “What’s going on? Why is this happening?” If we’re like my son, you and I may not always see what God is doing behind the scenes. That’s where our key verse comes in.
    God is more interested in our character than our comfort. He desires that we produce more spiritual fruit. Therefore, He’s always at work pruning the areas of our lives that don’t match His plans. So, when God allows our world to be turned upside down, we are not experiencing a “setback” but rather a “cutback.” In God’s economy, a cutback can be a good thing because it makes room for more good stuff to come.
    However, sometimes the pruning process can feel like it’s going to kill us. I remember one fall when I was pruning my rose bush. My daughter, who loves flowers, was distraught when she saw what I had done to the bush.
    “Why did you kill it?” she asked with horror in her voice. I reassured her that I didn’t kill the bush. I only cut it back so that next year it would produce larger and more beautiful roses.
    Though it may feel like it at times, I assure you that God is not trying to kill us either. The Lord cuts us back in order to produce more–more Christ-like fruit in our words, attitudes, and deeds.

    Dear Lord, at times, Your pruning may be painful, but I will trust You. Help me to see from Your perspective that it’s not a setback, but a cutback that can help me grow in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

  7. schmett73

    God’s a-pruning left and right it seems, Marla.  Everywhere I turn, He’s giving me evidence of it, and He’s serious about it!  I’m praying for you.  I know I don’t need to tell you this, but it will ALL be worth it.  Every last painful pinch of it.  And what God reveals in place of the pruning will leave you, me, and all of us even more breathless over Him than we already are.  Bless you for wanting His glory in everything you do.  You have a heart for him, as Beth Moore would say, and He means to use it!

    Hold on tight.  That’s the phrase I keep hearing in my head.  Hold on tight, because He’s taking you places you never even dreamed!!!  Remember what whatever He prunes will be replaced with beauty beyond your wildest dreams.  Love and blessings! ~ Lisa

  8. luvmynoah

    Still praying!!! I hope you can enjoy your weekend plans.  What a great blog marla about pruning and cutting.  We’ve done Secrets of the Vine..it’s great as well if you want more studying on the same topic. Hugs!!!!

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