In April of last year I wrote a blog post about the hydrangea tree in our backyard. For years it had been in one spot but, as time went on, we realized it was in the way. It hadn’t done anything wrong, and it still looked okay, but as we changed out how used our backyard we realized it simply wasn’t in the right spot. It was still growing but, to be honest, it had stopped blooming so we decided to move it.
I’ve had season like that. Times when I’d been planted somewhere or called to a specific place or job and I’d thrived – for awhile. But as needs changed it became apparent that my time in that spot was done. I was still serving or working, but not thriving. I had more to give, but in that spot I’d stopped growing.
Honestly, that tree didn’t do so well in it’s new spot after we’d moved it. I wrote about how I felt like that tree during a big season of transition. Change is scary and hard and even when you feel like you’ve become good at it because you’ve experienced a lot of change, there is always a level of uncertainty that comes with a new place, a new job, a new season.
Odds were high that the move for our tree would be good – eventually. But there was a period of transition where we simply weren’t sure. The tree stopped growing like it used to, so we gave it one more year – and one massive pruning. In it’s new spot it lost all of it’s old growth. Branches that used to bear flowers and green leaves were suddenly bare, and now new branches started growing in the strangest of places. As the roots became secure in their new place, a deep pruning – to remove the old, the unhealthy, what used to be – gave room for something new to start.
And now? That tree is overflowing with flowers – but looking nothing like the tree we started with. It’s more of a shrub now, no longer resembling the tree it used to be, but still with the same beautiful elements that we’d come to love. It’s a new thing, and so much healthier in this new season.
I wonder if I avoid the hard seasons of waiting and pruning and change because I’m afraid that I won’t recognize myself on the other side of it all. What if it all looks different from what I’d planned? When I have an open hand about the pieces of my life, my work, my passions that need to be seriously cut back, will there be a season that makes people wonder if I have anything left? “We’ll give her another year, another chance, and if she doesn’t do anything then we’ll replace her.” It’s what we said about our tree.
Or, maybe, being formed into something new will be exactly what I need to be the healthiest, fully alive version of myself God wants me to be.
We’re entering all kinds of new seasons around here. New positions, new school years, new opportunities to love others well with our gifts. Maybe you are, too? Today I’m praying for all of us, that we would be open to the transplanting and pruning that God wants to do in our lives. Let’s trust Him to make all the right moves, to know how it will all turn out, and to be confident enough to dig our roots down deep into the places God has called us, knowing that being firmly rooted in God will provide us with all we need to do the work set before us – for however long we’re called here.