Written By: Carrie Arnold
It had overtaken me. Actually, it had overtaken my trellis. When we moved into our home almost 4 years ago, there already existed a stone back patio complete with a chimenea, an evergreen bush, and a wooden trellis. As it was spring when we moved in, the trellis was already blooming. It was covered in green leaves and vines, climbing this way and that, as well as beautiful flowers. It wasn’t until a stranger drove past our new home, knocked on the door and asked to see our trellis that I finally grew curious enough to ask what plant varieties had been originally planted. She informed me that there were Wisteria and Clematis. I didn’t know much about them but they sure did catch the eye.
Next follows a montage of repeating pictures through the seasons. During the first summer, I battled the beetles that dive bombed our patio during picnics. In the next spring, I discovered my severe allergy to the evergreen bush. When our second summer rolled around, I did some research to combat the beetles. As I sprayed them with natural oils, sometimes the insects fell off, most of the time into my curly hair, which sent me shrieking. Somewhere along the way I embraced the tangled beast and started pruning it back, most of the time because the vines were winding under my siding. Eventually I grew to enjoy the early summer mornings or late sunsets spent pruning the vines and leaves to make way for new growth.
I don’t have a green thumb but being curious-natured, I do have a desire to learn coupled with a strong desire to conquer. Since this has been an unusually warm winter, I decided to go to work with my shears in hand. As the robins sang in late February, I let my bare feet sink into the damp, cold earth. I have never done a winter pruning, though I should have before now according to the gardening books. I un-wove the vines and trimmed them back, leaving a few buds. I bent down low and cleared out seasons of growth and tangled leaves. I cleared out the old mulch. As I cut away I began to feel guilty. My sharp movements cut away new buds that were obediently responding to the warmer temperatures.
It was in this moment, the quiet moment, that I heard that still, small voice whispering “It’s time.”
It was time for the pruning. It wasn’t time for spring and buds. That time will come; perhaps after a late winter frost or quenching spring rains. God’s word speaks extensively about timing. His world sets the stage for guiding us through the seasons of life by using creation to show us the way. The most famous passage about timing, Ecclesiastes 3, is a beautiful dichotomy of creation. God’s world and our lives are separated into time; a time for beginnings and endings, a time for striving and resting, a time for dormancy and a time for growth.
I hope and pray my beautiful flowers never stop growing and climbing that trellis. It was planted with purpose and tended with care. May the same be said of me. I have been created with a purpose and a calling. My journey will have a beginning and an end. I have had moments of striving and resting. I have found myself in seasons of staying put or struggling to find my way but it is the moments of growth that challenge me the most. Those seasons are not easy and often times leave me feeling awkward, but it is God’s time. As I finished the pruning that warm February morning, I found myself smiling. I looked down and maybe saw a bit of green on my thumb underneath the dirt. The struggles of the pruning will not only produce flowers come spring but it reminded me of God’s pruning in my life. He desires beauty from my growth and His pruning is worth it.
Carrie Arnold is excitedly married to the love of her life, Adam. She has been blessed with 3 beautiful and healthy children. They keep her jogging through life’s obstacles. As she navigates the journey of homeschooling, teaching and serving through the local body of believers, she also seeks time to hike and pursue a passion for writing.