I have no need to prune my plants. The deer do that for me. They come to up to my raised beds and not just nibble at a plant or two...They shear the poor plants down to the ground. So, for many summers, I have had no flowers in my raised beds. The roses were completely nibbled away as soon as they appeared. I have some plants in one bed that I have never seen bloom, because the deer don't allow it!
Last spring, we put up a fence. It surrounds the beds in the front yard. For the raised bed in the back, I have placed a garden flag that is always flapping due to the ever-present breezes up here. I also placed an owl-shaped sign that ironically says "Welcome" on it--hopefully it's menacing to the deer who can't read. I placed those tempting feeders with their luscious seeds further into the Russian olive, so they are not so visible.
Result? No more pruning! The deer no longer come into the front yard. The day lilies are happily blooming and growing rather large and my teacup rose brush is lush with flowers on it.
It is true that some of my plants have not yet recovered from all that pruning. This wee rose brush is a good example:
Maybe in a season or two, it will bloom as happily as its counterparts. Then, there is the mystery plant in my backyard bed:
This is about how big it gets, then BAM! sheared to the ground without mercy. But this summer, with the "owl" and the flapping flag, this is what I am finally (!) seeing:
Beautiful...the stalks are tall and flowers are about to appear...but until recently, I had no idea what they were. Then, one day, while browsing at Home Depot in the garden section, I recognized the plants...Asiatic lilies! They were stunning at the Home Depot and I am so excited to see them when they finally burst forth in all their glory. I laughed--it had been so long since I planted them that I forgot what I had planted there, and now I get to see the final product!
Life prunes us. Pure and simple. Sometimes the pruning comes again and again, and each time, we are sheared to the ground. Maybe we are still recovering from a previous pruning, and like my wee rose brush, we only have a few tender leaves present and no flowers. Sometimes, we think, "Hey! It's my time to bloom!" only to face pruning in another area of our lives. Some of us have forgotten joy...we are so used to being sheared down to the ground that we forget what our flowers are supposed to look like or if we even have any flowers in our future at all.
Sometimes the pruning is because of poor decisions we have made. We have failed to pray and keep on focus on Him. God's Word exhorts us: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7)
Prayer and walking in Him is our fence. Again in Romans 12:2, we read: "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." We, in our weakness, can pray for fence-building strength: "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right (or steadfast) spirit within me." (Psalm 51:10)
What are the "deer"? God's Word is specific here: "Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry." (Colossians 3:5)
Yup--those are powerful deer that invade us, but we are not alone: "But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one." (2 Thessalonians 3:3). Building a fence to keep out the deer is not easy. Last year, when the fence guy showed up, it took him all day to put a rather small length of fence. Why? Just below the soil of our area is nothing but shattered basalt. He had to stick the auger in and try to dig a hole in broken ROCK. He persevered and modeled steadfastness to get the job done.
The result of all of this? I now have blooms, beautiful color and future hope...to see what is going to spring up! I know it will bring joy to my heart!
Pruning isn't pretty, but Jesus doesn't fail us. He's already brought the wood--the cross--and He delights in our growth. He rejoices not in the pruning, but in the flowers to come.
If the pruning is due to us, then build a fence.
If we are being pruned for His glory, then persevere: "My son, despise not you the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when you are rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loves he chastens, and whips every son whom he receives. …" (Hebrews 12:6)
If we are overwhelmed, NEVER forget: "You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them [evil doers], because the one
who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." (1 John 4:4)
Deer are strong, but He is stronger still: "There is no pit so deep, that God's love is not deeper still." (Corrie Ten Boom )