A promise is a promise even if I keep it to my embarrassment!
Here is a photo of my sweet pea plants. I envisioned the stick trellis my husband made for me to be hidden behind a profusion of leaves and blossoms begging to be picked into lovely bouquets.
Well, not quite!
I kept it tucked up against my basket that overflowed its pot so that it could hide its spindly stems and sparse blossoms.
Hardly enough to satisfy - offering at best only a few sips.
(hummingbird sitting behind the top lilac sweet pea)
I went on line and typed in 'scraggly sweet peas' and I learned what my problem was and then realized that even in my failure I could find a lesson.
I learned that sweet peas are not a plant that should be 'coddled'. When the first sprouts begin to grow they must be pinched off to allow the secondary shoots to be dominate - they are the ones that will grow to produce the abundant flowers I was so hoping to enjoy.
I have never been a ruthless gardener - I tend to be a coddler. I can never quite make myself follow the example of the expert gardeners who live on my street. The minute a plant isn't thriving they dig it out, they cut back the good ones, they pinch back growth, prune and divide - and of course their gardens are lush and colourful.
My sweet pea lesson made me think of the passage where Jesus speaks of the Father as being the Gardener who prunes the good fruit bearing branches so that they will bear more fruit.
I thought about how often we complain that God is not a 'coddler' gardener. We don't understand when his pruning sheers cut into our life. We cry and ask why.
But do we consider that God is no more satisfied with a scraggly plant than we are? Is He sometimes 'ruthless' in bringing those things into our life that will cause us to thrive and overflow with blossoms or fruit? Does He look for us to be the kind of plants that invite people to pick a bouquet and enjoy our fragrance - or taste of the fruit of our love and compassion for them?
Next year I'm going to practice being ruthless .... and I have dared to ask God to be ruthless with me. I don't want to be a 'scraggly plant' - I want to be one that covers the trellis God has built for me to climb on.
"Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away and every branch that bears fruit He prunes that it may bear more fruit" John 15:2