“Hello my name is Rose”, said the elderly, kind-faced woman as she looked straight into my eyes. For a moment, I could not believe her words. I knew the point she was making, as it was impressed into my spirit. I received it with an emotional mixture of shock and extreme gratitude.

When Rose entered the store where I was working as a greeter that bleak Christmas season – she began to admire my cameo brooch.  “It is very unique – your brooch. A very fine example of a cameo. I collect cameos and I know them well”, she said. “This is a beautiful woman depicted on yours, rare, I have seen few like it”.   “It belonged to my grandmother, and I love it”,  I responded.  “One of my most cherished possessions,”.  “I can see why, ” she stated. As she began to walk away she turned, looking me straight in the eyes and said, “My name is Rose.  What is your name?”  My eyes widened, so startled I could barely speak, “My name is Tracy.  My grandmother’s name was Rose.” She smiled and then turned as she walked up the stairway and onto the selling floor.  I dropped my head so no one could see as a big tear rolled down my face. The times I had heard the name Rose used ever could be counted on one hand – less than 5 fingers even. I knew that she had been sent by God – an angel perhaps but certainly sent as one to deliver encouragement in the guise of my long deceased grandmother. He was letting me know that He was with me, and watching all that was happening in that extremely sad and difficult season of my life.

Pruning is a gardening term that can be used to describe a spiritual season where God trims away the dead leaves and branches that are not bearing fruit. The word ‘pruning’ sounds like a gentle snip, snip depicting a peaceful, singing gardener carefully pulling down a branch in a beautifully manicured English garden. As he trims,  it is only the old, really dead leaves and branches that are cut away. Nothing green is considered. Yet in reality, the pruning experience can resemble more like napalm where just a tilted tree stalk remains, standing practically naked bearing only twiggy branches and a few scant leaves. This had been my season as a bud-less sprig, unknowingly ripe for the shears.  😦

John 15:2    Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that continues to bear fruit, He [repeatedly] prunes, so that it will bear more fruit [even richer and finer fruit]. 

Isaiah 18:5    For before the harvest, when the blossom is over And the flower becomes a ripening grape, He will cut off the sprigs [without buds] with pruning knives, And [He will] remove and cut away the spreading branches.

A real pruning by a loving Father can only be considered good when seen from a rear view mirror advantage and at times even viewed only back through a multi-year lens. It is from this vantage point that I can provide a scope of work that begins to plumb the depths of any comprehension of  God’s goodness and His grace.  His unending, and infinite love – a love so deep and immutable,  that He would even see fit to tweak, this little speck of light down here on earth.

Below is an albeit incomplete collection of highlights on lessons learned through the cutting away –

Regarding the Godhead

God is all love. His love for each of us is so wide and deep. We can only truly understand this depth when we have lost everything (and perhaps everyone) then we can see that He is all we need.

Jesus the Son is the sole representation of our righteousness – not our works, striving or performance. When Jesus is acknowledged as the true source and supply – the benefits of the Covenant for which He died transpire supernaturally and with little human effort.

Jesus is all Truth and all Grace. Grace is a gift given by God to us – we do not earn grace. We are given grace because we are the righteousness of God by our faith in His son.

The Holy Spirit is our best friend and is an essential relationship to cultivate. He is the administrator and coordinator of the benefits of the Covenant. We more commonly know Him as the Comforter, Advocate, Teacher,  Healer.

The sacrifice of Jesus signaled  His finished work on earth. With this act began the Dispensation of Grace (the Church Age) which will end in the great taking away of the believers. He has paid for all sin from the beginning of time to the end of time – it was taken on His body for us. As Jesus’ dropped His head, declaring ‘It is Finished’ He dismissed His own spirit – told His spirit it was OK to leave Him. His life was not taken from Him. He left this earth of His own accord, and in His own natural timing.

Regarding Life

 Chance and Opportunity flow through Him and in His divine timing and the correct season. It is our responsibility to rest in Christ and allow His timing to unfold and His intersections of chance come to pass.

We are deemed righteous by God through Faith …. only. As we move forward in our faith, God moves forward to bring our desires (His desires ) to fruition.

Rejection, which can appear as a lack of opportunity,  is more often a redirection toward a promotion rather than a curse.

We as believers have dominion over evil and must take authority over circumstances through the name of Jesus and the blood of Jesus. We can ‘place a demand’  by prayer or through speaking on the New Covenant and what has been paid for through Jesus’ sacrifice.

Fear is a spirit and is as deadly as a fast growing cancer. Fear acts as a gateway for all of the dangerous emotional spirits to enter into a person’s soul.  Fear must be stopped in its tracks and bound up as quickly as it is discerned. Trauma, abuse, abandonment/ rejection, and shame are the most damaging emotions and all tie back to a fear root. These cannot be ignored and should be dealt with through emotional healing prayer.

Many of these points were discussed in depth in my book of testimony, Doorways of Grace.  If you are in a season of pruning, stay in the word and in prayer as God shapes a new and better you – mirrored more in the likeness and the understanding of His Son.