In recognition of Mother’s day I received two dozen roses of multiple colors from my son who lives in London. When we receive cut flowers we are told to cut an inch or so off the bottom of the stems and then put it in water with some plant food added. It is also a good idea to take off the outer petals.
The flowers I received were shipped to me from a city and state that is over 2,000 miles away from where I live. They were packed well, but when they arrived they were a little less than fresh looking. After being in water all night they looked better the next day. Sunday morning a lady in my church told me, however, to cut the stems off on the end once again and to also put fresh plant food in the vase. They look very beautiful now.
This process of cutting the stems off the ends of cut flowers has never logically made sense to me. Neither has it ever made sense to me to cut vines and other plants way back. Pruning of vines is an even more drastic cutting back process than just cutting off the ends of the stems of cut flowers. In fact, when completed the vine branch can appear to be dead. This pruning is a necessary and a good thing to do, however. In fact, because the branch is attached to the vine; it can grow to be productive, new, and beautiful once again.
This is true also about the cutting or hurtful aspects and experiences of life. Caregiving can often become very challenging and overwhelming. It can be discouraging and hurt us emotionally at times, as we see our loved ones deteriorate in their health. Just as we may wonder why it is necessary for a plant to be cut way back, it often is puzzling to understand why we have to undergo the painfully cutting experiences of life.
Yet during my very difficult caregiving years and during my grief since my husband’s death a little over 16 months ago I know the Lord has been shaping my character and drawing me closer to him. He is also cutting away attitudes and fears that are not appropriate and making me more dependent on Him. Like the roses and like a branch on a vine which has been cut back, I can grow into something beautiful and productive because of this pruning in my life. Just as my roses needed plant food I also have to feed on God's Word, however, for this to take place in my life.
The branch on the vine cannot grow into something beautiful again, however, unless it is attached to the vine. So also I cannot grow into something beautiful unless I am attached to the Vine, the Lord Jesus. This is spoken of in John 15 in the Bible.
Dear Christian caregiver, the pruning that takes place in the difficult moments of caregiving and in life in general hurts. It is okay to acknowledge that it hurts. You are not alone, however, if you are attached to the Living Vine, Jesus Christ. You will be okay. Not only will you be okay, but you will flourish. Remind yourself of this when the dark moments sometimes come.
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