Thursday, August 12, 2010


We have the biggest pepper tree in our backyard!!

Last year, we got a very ominous letter from our homeowner's association (truthfully, their "power" scares me a little...I'm just sayin') -

WARNING: Any trees overhanging "common property" must be trimmed by the end of March, or it will be done by the association and charged to your account!

OK...our pepper tree's branches and leaves were hanging over into the next county, truth be told!!!

So, I knew we had to trim that tree. And I figured that WE might as well do it, rather than have THEM do it and send a bill: "That will be $10,000, ma'am. Thank you very much." We talked to our gardener about it, and he assured us that it was a job "he could do at a reasonable price."

"The Hub" beat me home the day our tree was "pruned." He met me in the driveway...not a good sign.

"Sweetie, the gardener told us that we probably wouldn't like the results, remember?

"Yes..." (tentative hesitation)

"But he promised us that it would grow back, right?"

"Yes..." (growing trepidation)

"Just remember that, OK?"

"Oh, no..." (abject terror)

He led me by the hand (not good that he thought I needed physical support), around the corner of the house...into the backyard...

I was speechless!!

The entire tree had been trimmed back to nothing but BARE BRANCHES!!

I started was so ugly...and I was sure the tree was dead.

I barely ate that night, moped around for the next several days...looked at that tree a thousand times. I just felt so sad. That tree had been with us for 25 years - my kids had played in it...I HAD PLAYED IN IT! It had shaded the little playhouse, and blocked the street light, and stood there like a sentinel in our backyard forever...

GONE! Cut down in his prime by an errant chainsaw and a crazy tree-killing maniac...

After about a week of mourning, I started going out every day to talk to Mr. Pepper. I told him how much I loved him. Told him that "he could do it - he could come back to life - he could grow." I hugged him.

And you know what?

That tree started to grow back...

At first, it was just a few little green sprigs, then a few more sprouts, and then the greenery began to grow exponentially...more and more, and faster and faster. And by the end of the summer, Mr. Pepper had made a full recovery, and had never looked more beautiful!!

I was talking to my oldest son the other night - he was telling me how his new "revival" of faith was great...but it was kinda hard, too. He told me how he just couldn't look at things the "same old way." How some of his friends didn't understand him anymore. How the way he thought about work, and money, and life had changed.

I told him I understood...

God trims us...sometimes back to our bare prepare us for new growth.

"I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener...he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more...Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:1-2, 4-5)

Dear Lord, prune me where You will. Help me bear the pain of "lopping off old branches" of selfishness, and pride, of fear and disobedience. Prepare me for new growth. Make me into a beautiful tree that reflects the wise and loving hand of the Gardener of Life. Amen...

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"


  1. Hi Sharon,

    I enjoyed this post which tells me that there are times when growth is painful, confusing and frustrating; but there is a divine purpose in my spiritual growth.

    I can do nothing apart from Christ.

    Your prayer intercedes for me today.

    Thank you my sister in Christ.

    Blessings and peace.


  2. This is so great and so true! When my husband prunes anything, I feel the same way you did with "Mr Pepper"! It has been a spiritual lesson time and again! The wounds inflicted (the knife cutting) and the bleeding are the means of healing for me. Just as "By His wounds we are healed." Thank you for this great reminder, and just what I needed, Sharon!
    I am going to need some extra time next week to plan our trip, and I was wondering if you'd be willing to do a guest post for me? I know it's short notice, but I kind of just realized I'm desperate and thought of this idea! I love your devotional writing (this piece is just one example) and I think it would fit wonderfully well into my Manage It (Victorious in Christ) Monday series! Would you have time to write something that could be posted this Monday? If not, would you be willing to share this post on my site? If neither of these options work for you, would you be willing to write something for the following Monday, August 16? Please let me know and thanks so much in advance!
    Love your encouraging posts here and comments on my blog!

  3. Sharon, you tree hugger, you....

    This is fantastic. I was rooting for Mr. Pepper to come back better than ever, and I knew that he would. We need to have that same confidence in our fellow believers AND ourselves when we look a little bald from the pruning. This post reminded me of that.

    And yet, we tend to view God as some crazy tree killing maniac who doesn't know what he is doing to our self glorious branches. (At least that's what I am guilty of doing at times...)

    So this morning, I'm praising the Tree Pruning Maniac who whacks away at my sucker shoots.

    Thanks for starting my day with a great one!

  4. Wonderful analogy...pruning hurts and can be rather "shocking" at times...but the end results...reflect Him....

  5. So true, my friend! I am reminded that I can be that tree, full of myself, and when God prunes us, it is for our own good. We feel naked, baring only the bones, but that is when we are blessed with HIS fruit, not ours.
    Thank you for your wonderful thoughts and wisdom~
    Love you!


"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

(NOTE: Anonymous comments will be removed. Thank you for understanding.)