I have a little garden outside my window. It's nothing much but it has this one beautiful hydrangea bush, my one constant source of inspiration and, besides my family, a favorite subject for my photography.
Last year that bush looked crazy. It bloomed and the flowers died but the bush never let go of them so for part of the season it was a beautiful green bush with brown dead flowers. It looked so odd that when the lawn fertilizer salesman knocked on our door he asked me what was wrong with my bush. After I realized the bush wasn't going to do it itself I finally cut the dead blooms off. It bloomed again, briefly before winter. Yesterday I finally got around to pruning it back.
There's nothing like gardening to bring Scriptures to mind, and as I was chopping away I was thinking of John 15 "every branch that bears fruit He prunes so that it will bear more fruit". I cut off a branch and think how I hope for this branch to grow back twice as strong, twice as beautiful. I think about the things in my life that have been pruned. The dreams that have died, the plans I have had to let go of. I think about God as my gardener, planing for me to grow back twice as strong, more beautiful than if He had let me be. I realize how true this is. The things God has taken away have made me stronger, as a person in general and especially in my faith.
As I sit here writing, Eli toddles into the kitchen with a sleepy smile on his face. I smile as I bend down to scoop him up. I hold him tight and kiss his soft hair. He has changed my life in so many unexpected aways. I've said this before but it bears repeating - going back to the baby stage has been hard. Really hard. As much as I wanted this, as much as I love my baby, I am still exhausted and frustrated by this season. I had to give up a lot when I got pregnant, I don't have as much energy for writing or blogging or serious photography. I have so little time for the things I want to do.
It's worth it.
Everything I have had to give up and that has been pruned away is making me more beautiful. Some things have just been irritating, others have been heart breaking. All are making me more into the person that God made me to be.