When Pruning Becomes a Beautiful Act of Love

So excited to have this article featured Monday at Purposeful Faith!!!  If you need encouragement, there are some amazing posts by some amazing bloggers.  You’ll want to check it out.


It was a “working in the yard” weekend. Twice per year I take to the flowerbeds in order to trim and care for the bushes, hedges and yes, my beloved spiral topiaries.


I’m not very muscular, nor am I the outdoorsy-type, but I wouldn’t miss the opportunity to shape and create something beautiful. I love to be creative and this was the perfect assignment!


With my enormous electric hedge clippers in hand, I thoughtfully started at the bottom of the topiaries, carefully trimming the layers of growth that had accumulated over the last six months.


It amazed me to see in such a short time-span, how overgrown, how out of shape these beauties had become. I could barely find the outline of the old shape hidden underneath the branches, limbs and leaves that had overtaken the original design the landscaper had created.


As I worked, it felt good to see my trees slowly regain their stately shape and regal identity. Once finished, I stepped back to assess the quality of work as well as to admire nature’s continual process of growth and refinement.


Without someone to care for and nurture my topiaries, they would become unruly, overgrown. They would lose both their beauty and their identity.


Isn’t it the same for us in our lives? Without a loving Father’s attention and care for our growth and refinement, wouldn’t we be a lot like those topiaries, hopelessly out of shape, without identity, without purpose? We would never enjoy the full potential or beauty God designed.


There are three things I’ve learned about gardening that will keep me continually in pursuit of God’s healing and growth throughout my life.


We must grow.


All living things should grow. Living in an age of “I am who I am,” I am reminded that is not how God created any living thing. We were all made to grow. To heal. To learn along this journey. We were all designed in the image of God to be continually transformed into Christ’s likeness. This is our purpose. This is our destiny.


We will either fight against the process or we will learn to accept, honor, and perhaps even embrace the process. Growth can be uncomfortable at times. It can challenge every fiber and cell of our beings. Yet growth will make us taller, wiser, stronger. Growth prepares us to be passionate and purposeful, life-giving, Christ-breathing, dynamic, vessels of God. We cannot get to the next season without acquiring the skills in this moment God knows we need to accomplish His purposes in and through our lives.


I Corinthians 3:7 (NIV) states, So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.


Mark 4:20 (NIV) tells us about growth, saying, Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop–some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.


 We must be pruned.


Each of us gets a bit overgrown at times. We settle into our habits, our routines. We relax into the momentary mundane. It happens. God knows that in order for us to continually be growing and maturing, He needs to prune away the dead, unfruitful leaves and limbs. He needs to carefully trim the excess, the residue that weighs us down and prevents us from growing, from becoming, from thriving.


Pruning isn’t a punishment. Pruning is an act of love. God loves you. He celebrates you. He longs for you to experience the fullness of your identity. He delights in His handiwork. He declares you beautiful. Whole. Complete.


In John 15:2 (NIV) Scripture says, 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.


James 1:2-4 (NIV) tells us to, Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.


We must understand and embrace our identity.


Each of us has a unique identity. For so long I resisted His tender pruning hand. I willfully fought against the vision and calling He had for me. I incessantly longed for another’s identity, another’s calling. I saw His beauty in my friends and desperately wanted their beauty as my own. To claim it. To own it.


I was exhausted and empty from my feeble attempts to be something or someone I was not. In focusing so myopically on what God was doing in other’s lives, I was missing out on what He had designed for my life. The beauty, the purpose He had planned for me. Just me.


Such freedom I found in the journey of release —releasing my plan, my ideas, my agenda for my life—and embracing the most glorious journey of becoming. Becoming all that God had designed for me. Becoming what He saw and declared as beautiful in me from the beginning.


Philippians 1:6 (NLT) declares the pure and perfect intentions of the Lord, saying, And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.


Are you in a season of pruning? Is God lovingly and tenderly clearing away the old so that new life, new hope, new joy can emerge within you? Are you resisting His work in your life?




We must grow. We must be pruned. We must understand and embrace our identity.


Relax into God’s strong and capable hands. You can trust Him. Breathe into His design and plan for your life. He is so faithful. Accept that the most amazing part of this life is in the journey of becoming.


I wouldn’t want to miss it, for in the journey of becoming, we will find God and we will find ourselves, we will find abundance in our relationships with others. That, my friend, is the essence of peace!






  1. This is SO good! Pruning isn’t a punishment. Pruning is an act of love. I needed that and just want to thank you for sharing!

    • lisamurray

      December 9, 2015 at 6:18 AM

      Yes, He loves us. He wants us to be beautiful and mature and yielding much fruit. His pruning is never punitive, it is tender and loving. Have a great week!

  2. Ahh yes, the pruning at the Father’s hand! Gardening has taught me a lot about how God prunes us. Yes it is done by his loving hand-but ouch-sometimes it hurts! Hebrews 12 says “No discipline seems pleasant at times, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Yes I will take that pruning because I know God will use it to bear fruit. He is a kind and loving Father! So thankful for His gentleness and how He knows exactly what we need.

    • lisamurray

      December 9, 2015 at 6:22 AM

      Love this verse, Kortney! Yes, His pruning produces a harvest of righteousness and peace! Blessings today!

  3. Lisa, I found this post in a divine direction through the #RaRaLinkup
    I’m in a time when God has pruned an area of ministry from my life. I felt Him asking me to give it up for a while and struggled with that. He is beginning to show me why I had to give it up in order for Him to bring in more opportunities to speak. Pruning isn’t comfortable, but it is purposeful! Thanks for writing! I needed that! ~Sherry

    • lisamurray

      December 9, 2015 at 6:23 AM


      So glad this post spoke to you and encouraged you in this area. Pruning isn’t comfortable, but yet it’s purpose is beyond imagination! Blessings!

  4. “I wouldn’t want to miss it!” -> I love your heart. I’m asking God to give me that kind of a spirit for facing trials. Rather than trying to hurry my way through the dark times, I want to embrace what God is doing so that I won’t waste the lesson. Blessings to you!

    • lisamurray

      December 9, 2015 at 6:25 AM


      We all tend to want to hurry through the dark times. Sometimes I wonder what we miss in the rush. I’m learning to take each step and each day as a gift and embrace whatever encouragement or direction it holds. Blessings!

  5. I am so happy to visit you today Lisa 🙂 It is a Godsend as I had already visited the 2 blogs before me at #IntentionalTuesday and you were the 3rd!! It’s so true that without pruning, not only would I never reach my full potential but I would lose some of the beauty and identity I have attained. Pruning = good!!

    • lisamurray

      December 9, 2015 at 6:26 AM

      So glad you found your way here, Sarah! Yes, pruning = good:) Blessings, friend! Congratulations to you as well.

  6. I love this “Pruning isn’t a punishment. Pruning is an act of love. ” Great reminder.

    • lisamurray

      December 9, 2015 at 6:27 AM

      Yes, Sheryl, pruning is an act of love. His act of love and kindness and compassion toward His children. Blessings!

  7. Such a great reminder today. Sometimes when things feel uncomfortable we think it’s bad, but it may just be God pruning those places in us that are long overgrown to allow our beauty to shine. Visiting from Tell His Story

  8. I love this post. I have been thinking about it all day. God really knows how to prune us. Sometime there are things I wish He would prune out of me a little bit quicker, but then I may soon forget. Thank you for sharing this post at Seeking God and being a new friend at Sitting Among Friends.I was so glad to read this post this morning. Look forward to you returning next Wednesday for more insight.

  9. What a beautiful post! “Growth prepares us to be passionate and purposeful, life-giving, Christ-breathing, dynamic, vessels of God. We cannot get to the next season without acquiring the skills in this moment God knows we need to accomplish His purposes in and through our lives.” – Such words of wisdom and encouragement that He is working in our pruning seasons.

  10. What beautiful, encouraging truth I’m finding here this morning, Lisa. I need this! I especially like #1, We must grow. It’s a no-brainer, but don’t we forget it? We get comfy where we are. During seasons of pruning, which are difficult, I’m always encouraged to remember: God prunes the branches that BEAR fruit. Both so they can bear more and because they’re already fruitful. #DancewithJesus

  11. The “journey of becoming”…I love this! As hard as it may seem at times, I would not want to miss the nearness of the Lord as He prunes my branches.
    Fine post.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

  12. Thank you for this beauty today. I have found that embracing my identity can be difficult until you allow God to hold your hand through the process. I have also sent many years being one thing on the outside but hiding my true self inside because it seemed easier. Reality shows us that this is not easier and being who we were meant to be is what God is calling us to each day.

    I am in a season of pruning. A time of preparation for what is next. I tell people all the time that God is working in me and He must have a lot of work to do because I seem to have been in this holding pattern for a long time.

    Great reflection this morning. Happy Sunday!

  13. So true!! Pruning can be difficult but it’s the only place growth happens. Thanks for sharing. Your garden looks lovely!

  14. Thank you, Lisa, for a beautiful post. Pruning hurts. But it is worth the pain when we realize that by this we become closer to the image of Christ.
    Good to have connected with you on Word of God Speaks.
    You have a wonderful evening.

  15. Thank you, Lisa, for a beautiful post. Pruning hurts. But it is worth the pain when we realize that by this we become closer to the image of Christ.
    Good to have connected with you on #Word of God Speak.
    You have a wonderful evening.

  16. Absolutely beautiful and fantastic post, Lisa!! I’m so grateful for the reminders here and your wonderful way with words. Thank you so much for sharing this with us at Grace & Truth!

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