A FRIDAY MEDITATION – Pruning needed?

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. ~ John 15:2

Today, I gave Kailua a blessing because I wanted to and it seemed the right thing to do.  Also, because she is beautiful and she is teaching me a lesson.

Kailua is a house plant – a Hoya (sometimes called a wax plant) – and that is what we usually called her (The Hoya is blooming…).  When we moved, we decided to give her a name so we named her after a city in Hawaii because we thought that was where she originated. Not so, but oh well.

Kailua was given to me 36 years ago by a friend when we came home from making our Cursillo.  It was a cutting from her plant and was in a teeny tiny pot.  The thing about Hoyas is that they like to be pot bound in order to bloom. It will usually take a couple of years before they do and they do not like to be moved around.  They like light as well.  If you mess with them, they just might not bloom at all.  They like to be grounded in one place and they don’t like changes.

We have moved several times in the 36 years.  Some places she loved, some she tolerated, and in a few she pouted in serious dislike.  I moved her to bigger pots twice bringing on the pouting, but she got over it.  So, before we moved into this new house she wasn’t doing well.  I decided she needed a new pot and a serious haircut on some straggly vines and on her root ball. I hoped she would come out of it someday and talk to me again.  I saved some cuttings, now named Junior, rooted them and put them in a new teeny, tiny pot just in case Kailua decided that this was all too much to deal with. Surprise of all surprises, she loves the whole thing – the haircuts, the new pot, the sunny window – and she is putting on new shiny leaves daily.  Junior is, too.

And so……what’s the lesson?  You might ask. You could have your own meditation regarding Kailua’s story if you set with it for a time but this is mine.

I am so like Kailua.  I like to be grounded in one spot.  Moving, along with other issues, has been stressful. I really don’t like change though I’m getting used to it. Many times my haircuts are hard to manage (Can you tell?). It takes me a while to settle in and let blooming begin. In the meantime, there may be weeping and pouting.

God does not worry about that for which I am grateful after a time.  He knows how beautiful we can become after pruning, cutting out our dead wood, much of which we don’t know we have, and put in a larger pot.  He, unlike me, can see a long way down the road to where he wants me to go, what he wants me to do, what tangled up root ball he wishes to dismantle and what beautiful gifts of abundant new leaves will be able to grow after the pruning.  If we allow it, he will begin that transformational process.  It is easier with our active consent.

These last 18 months have been a challenge.  They have been stressful and I’ve had to struggle to keep balance in my life.  I know God is working deep in me because I’ve had similar times before.  Not quite so many issues at once but very stressful times, anyway.  I’ve always, so far, come out the other side of these with more inner healing, more understanding of the workings of God in my life, more compassion and more love – sometimes a new ministry. I expect that will be the case this time as well.  Thanks for the object lesson, Kailua. I’m grateful.

Thank you, God.

A FRIDAY MEDITATION – Dropped Stitches

Bind us together, Lord; Bind us together with cords that cannot be broken.  Bind us together Lord; Bind us together. Bind us together with love.

This song popped into my mind, today.  It is mostly sung at camp meetings and in praise and worship services. It asks God to join the group singing into one body – the Body of Christ, and it caused me to think about broken cords or threads.  Perhaps yarn and dropped stitches.

I am knitting a new throw or shawl for my prayer chair – either the one in my bedroom where I have my morning prayer or the prayer room where my husband and I say prayers together in the evening.  I also give some spiritual direction here.  (An aside – one of my great-granddaughters, who is four years old, has dubbed it the “talking room.”  When I asked why, she said because there are chairs in it.  I imagine that is because there is no bed or TV there, but I’m guessing.  This child is an extrovert and always has something to say, constantly.  Her older sister, the introvert said, “Or it could be a reading room.”  Love it. Just in case I repeat this story too often.)

Well, back to the prayer shawl.  The pattern for this shawl is lacy but not hard, especially if I use markers to mark where the pattern changes.  Even so, every once in a while, I notice that within the pattern, I am missing a stitch and I can’t figure out where it went.  This dropped stitch does not cause the knitting to unravel and it is a fairly easy fix to add a stitch back in.  You can’t really see the mistake because of the pattern, but I know it’s there. I would need to unravel and re-knit to make the piece mistake free, so I don’t.

Sooo…, where am I going with this meditation? I’m not sure but it makes me think of God binding together into a whole. Perhaps, it shows how God binds me together when I’ve messed up or when I’m otherwise broken and not the whole person that God plans for me to be.  I’m grateful that he doesn’t unravel me back to the beginning.  I used to think that I would need this if I strayed from the mark at all.

God uses the dropped stitches to form us if we will let God do so.  God uses our mistakes, sins, and misdirections to help form us into the people God wants us to be.  How, I don’t know.  When we look inside ourselves – when I look inside myself, I can see the healed and somewhat healed scars from where stitches were dropped and remade and mended over. Sometimes, the dropped stitch is very near the beginning and, from my point of view, the whole thing needs unraveled to that point and remade.  The hole is too big.  Too painful.  Too buried.  But if I look carefully, I may see a tiny patch there that is growing to look like the perfect stitch as if the hole had never been there. This tiny patch is becoming part off, and forming me into, who I was created to be.

How does God do this?  I have no idea; I just know that God does.  Why? Same answer.  I have learned over the many years that, if we allow it – because many times the stitching hurts – the person we become, that I am becoming, is the person God dreamed me to be all along.

 “The Shepherd laughed, too. ‘I love doing preposterous things,’ he replied.  ‘Why, I don’t know anything more exhilarating and delightful than turning weaknesses into strength, and fear into faith, and that which has been marred into perfection.,’” ~ Hinds Feet on High Places