Following is an excerpt from Penelope’s Hope. Penelope and Violet are speaking about the garden in the back of Violet’s brother’s new house, and the plans Violet has for it.

     “It is somewhat astounding that a plant can continue to thrive after having lost a part of itself.”

     “Indeed,” replied Violet. “But it is no more astounding than our own ability to thrive after the same.”
     “You speak of a surgeon’s work?”
     “No, I speak of God’s work. Or part of His work, at least. Does He not use some times of our lives to prune away the parts of us which are not beneficial to our living and thriving?”
I was working this spring on the shrubs in the front of our house. It’s been hard work, my hands and wrists hurting from doing it by hand. After all the work, it looked neat and tidy; I was quite pleased with my work. 

Less than a week later, though, and a few branches had grown past their bounds again. A couple of months later, and the bush has filled out again. It put me in mind of God’s work in our lives. He shapes us, prunes us. We keep growing back. He cuts away what is not as it should be, what is not according to His plan.

He allows us to thrive, to grow and mature and be who He made us to be. But sometimes we put energy into an aspect of our lives that is not essential to who we are, to who He made us to be. At these times, God will carefully and deliberately prune what is not beneficial to us.

And we continue to grow.