The Value of Pruning

When my hydrangea bushes didn’t bloom well one year, I consulted my gardening manual for answers.

Turns out, my untimely pruning caused their decline.

Pruning shrubs is a particular art. Some shrubs, like my spiraea, bloom best when cut all the way to the ground in early spring.


Other shrubs bloom on last year’s wood. If they are trimmed too early, they won’t bloom, like my hydrangeas.



Still other shrubs, like lilacs, bloom best if only part of the plant is pruned and the rest is left to grow.



When I reflect on past seasons in my heart’s garden, I see correlations to the perfect timing of God’s pruning shears.

I remember times I was pruned all the way to the ground. Those emotional storms seemed intolerable, but they did provide a flush of new faith growth when the sun returned.

Other times, I had to wait for painful situations to run their course before God was willing to prune them away. Twice I endured difficult working conditions until my contract was fulfilled. Then the healthy pruning could occur, and I could bloom again.

I remember a few seasons when I bloomed best on last season’s lessons. As a former Bible Study Fellowship member, I spent nine months studying each of these books: Matthew, Romans, John, Isaiah. The lessons I learned carried me through the next life seasons and inspired more blooming.

Sometimes I bloom best when one part is cut away and the other part is left to nourish my roots. As a mom of a teenager, I’m in this particular pruning season. I have to let go of my son a little more every day. Yet I have to keep my roots strong in my relationship with God, so I can continue to nourish my son’s spiritual growth as he turns into a man.

Only God perfectly understands the best pruning times in my heart’s garden. I have learned to trust that his ways are higher than my ways, and his pruning methods are better than my pruning methods. I may not always understand his timing or his methods, but I do trust that God is wise, good, and holy, and he always wants the best for me. I trust that God is pruning me so I will bloom more beautifully and produce greater fruit.

I am meditating on Jesus’ words about pruning today:

I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you.

John 15:1-3 NLT

Since Jesus himself was pruned, I must be willing to submit to the Father’s pruning in my heart. I am glad God chooses me to be pruned, so I can bear more fruit for his glory.

Questions for reflection:

What season of pruning is occurring in your heart’s garden this week?

How have you been pruned and purified by the message Jesus has given you?

Join me again tomorrow as my blog series “Meeting God in the Garden” continues. In the meantime, check out a few other posts in this series:

Take a virtual tour of my garden

Learn lessons from the bees

Read my recent guest gardener interview

My book The Fruitful Life is a study on the fruits of the spirit, and my book Newness of Life is about trusting in God’s perfect timing.  Both books are available now on Amazon.

Free resources for these books await you if you sign up for my email list below.  Sign up here to gain access to these free resources, plus lots of other exclusive content!

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  • Hmm, that pruning. Painful, but needed. I know it all too well.

    • Sarah Geringer

      Thank you for visiting today, Kelly!

  • Amy Boyd

    Hi Sarah! Thanks for visiting me today…I loved this part of your post: “I remember times I was pruned all the way to the ground. Those emotional storms seemed intolerable, but they did provide a flush of new faith growth when the sun returned.” So true…I’m constantly feeling pruned down too much, but God is in control of building me back up, and I’m so thankful for that! Visiting you from #testimonytuesday 🙂

    • Sarah Geringer

      Thanks Amy, yes, I imagine from the trials you describe on your posts, you feel cut all the way down. Praying you’ll notice a flush of rapid, beautiful growth soon!

  • I need to prune my forsythia bush regularly and I keep forgetting what works . . . so thankful that God knows us so well that He employs the best method every time. (And I need to remember that!!)

    • Sarah Geringer

      Hi Michele, thanks for visiting today!

  • Aimee

    I don’t know if I ever noticed that Jesus Himself was pruned. That really spoke to me today.

    • Sarah Geringer

      Thanks Aimee! I truly enjoyed your post at #tellhisstory, and now I’m on your subscriber list too!

      • Aimee

        Thanks so much!

  • This is a great illustration. I’m glad that God knows what kind of pruning we need in each moment, and it is so important to remember that he does it out of love to help us grow and fulfil the potential he has placed in us.

    • Sarah Geringer

      Hi Lesley, I tried to leave a comment at your post and it booted me off. I’ll say it here: thanks for sharing the book review. I’ll look it up at Lifeway tomorrow. Blessings to you, and thanks for your visit!

      • Hi Sarah, I’m sorry you had trouble commenting. I’m not sure why- I checked the spam folder just in case but couldn’t find your comment. I have had problems at a few other blogs today too though and I’m not sure why that is either. Thanks for reading anyway and I hope you enjoy the book if you decide to read it!

  • I’ve always wondered when is best to prune what, but alas, I’ve never bothered to look it up. Great illustration for the variation of when and how God prunes in various seasons of our lives!

    • Sarah Geringer

      Thanks for stopping by, Ginger. I always enjoy my visits to your blog!

  • Julie Loos

    Great post Sarah! I don’t like pruning at all whether it’s my bushes or my heart. I know it needs to be done but it’s painful. Cutting all the dead away and then realizing it’s bare in my flower beds. So many times I’ve felt the same way but then new growth emerges and it’s better than before!
    Visiting from #TeaAndWord

    • Sarah Geringer

      Hi Julie! Your post on jealousy was very wise. It’s a sin that needs to be cut all the way to the ground in my heart, so contentment can flourish. Blessings to you!

  • Meghan Weyerbacher

    I have so enjoyed your gardening stories and I even finished your book! I am so glad I can learn from your stories, the spiritual truths you share. Thanks friend!

    • Sarah Geringer

      Thank you, Meg! I’m glad I can count you as one of my faithful readers and online friends…can’t wait to meet you IRL someday!

      • Meghan Weyerbacher

        Same here!!

        • Sarah Geringer

          I think we are both going to She Speaks 2017, is that correct? So excited!

  • Sarah, I’ve really enjoyed this series. It can be so hard to trust Him when He’s pruning, but it’s so encouraging to know, He is the Perfect Gardener, unlike me and my haphazard pruning. Thanks for sharing.

    • Sarah Geringer

      Hi Donna, thank you for your kind comment. Always glad to linkup with you on #soulsurvival!

  • This is a very hard but interesting topic Sarah. Our joy comes from knowing that pruning is for our own good… God has our best interest at heart.
    Thanks for sharing and do have a super blessed day!

    • Sarah Geringer

      Hello, thank you so much for your visit! May I ask, where did you find this post?

      • Hi Sarah,
        Sorry for responding at this time. I blog too, and I found you on Beth’s Messy Marriage link-Up. Have a super blessed day!

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