Just before pulling out of the driveway during our last visit home, I sat behind the wheel and noticed that my fruit trees had bloomed overnight- while I was sleeping.  I put the van back into park, grabbed my camera, and rushed down the driveway.  With each step closer towards those baby trees, I knew that there was a lesson blooming right in front of me.  Pink and white flowers puffed out their petals, promising me that fruit would come in just the right season.

     After wiping my eyes at the realization that God was encouraging me, I snapped pictures and then remembered that I hadn’t pruned them like I had intended.  Regret pushed down into my chest as I thought about the week before.  Maybe if I had considered that pruning them would have meant more fruit at harvest, I would have made the time.  Maybe I would have done it if I had considered how valuable they were to our family.  If only I would have remembered that they rely upon me to keep them healthy and train them how to grow.  It’s possible that I would have done it if I had also remembered that no one else has been called to love these little trees more than myself.  It was just the visual lesson that I needed at that very moment. 

     We have been hitting some rough patches with one of our children in the last few months and the tree standing in front of me was a reminder that he too is like a tree.  He is shooting up, in need of pruning, in need of the training and guidance that only my husband and I are fully vested in giving him.  I cannot pass off my tree pruning responsibility without taking a chance that someone else will expect the credit and demand some of the fruit from my trees; I cannot pass off my parental pruners.   I also cannot neglect my fruit trees or my sons and daughters and expect them to bear the fruit that they were created to.  I need to tend them faithfully with prayer, attentiveness, and care through every season, whether challenging or peaceful- for I alone have been blessed to love my kids more than anyone else on this planet. 

      Even though I missed the window of opportunity to prune my trees on this trip, I can now say with all honesty that even though it took every bit of emotional strength I had- I followed through with some tough love training and pruning that had to happen with our teen.  It was a lesson on love and respect that only I was called to teach him at that moment. Have you ever faced a challenge in training or pruning your kids?  Do you realize that there are some that want to strip your authority as a parent? Let’s remember that our Creator and Master Gardener wants to bear the most fruit in our children and in us as parents- we just need to remain in him, let his word remain in us, and ask him to do it.

 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  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.  You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.  Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

   “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.  If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” 
 John 15:1-8 (NIV)

Link: When Will American Parents Say Enough?