I eased my car into the last-available slot of the small parking lot. I wanted to get some errands done before I headed home after work.
It was then that I saw them—a group of old friends that I hadn’t talked to in a while. There was a mix of conflicting emotions. That part of my life was over, and I didn’t regret it. But my heart went out to them, and I prayed that one day they’d be open to God’s mercy as well.
Ever since I had given my life back to God in my twenties, He was working diligently on my heart. Like the Vine Grower in today’s Gospel (John 15), the Lord was pruning the things in my life that were drawing me away from God. I was moving away from old friends, old habits, and old attitudes, but it wasn’t always easy.
Thankfully, God did not leave me empty-handed. He brought into my life new friends who encouraged me to love Jesus. He replaced old attitudes with a mission and purpose. Slowly old bad habits and sins were being replaced with a life striving for virtue.
And the grace of the Sacraments strengthened me when I often failed and had to get back up again.
In those days it was easy to see what needed to be pruned from my life—mortal sins and the things that temped me most. As the years have passed and I’ve grown closer to God, however, the pruning is sometimes more subtle.
On the outside things may seems fine, but inside we can feel an uneasiness about a situation or a tug that something needs to be changed in our lives. There’s no way to avoid pruning. It’s simply a part of growing and bearing fruit.
Thankfully, Our Father is patient with us, knowing when to be gentle and when to give us a little tough love. Let’s open ourselves to the Holy Spirit and ask Him to show us how God desires to prune our hearts and trust that we will bloom more beautifully for it.
Find the strength to let the Lord prune you, your habits, your friendships today. Ask Mother Mary for her help.
Bobbi Rol is a wife, mama and blogger living on the Monterey Bay in CA with her husband, teen daughter, and three rambunctious boys. When she is not dodging light sabers or stepping on Legos, she can be found outside with her family, catching a late night movie, or decorating her planner. She is a contributing author to our children's devotional prayer book called Rise Up. You can find out more about her here.