Just a short few weeks ago we began our intentional studies and remembrance traditions leading up to the crucifixion, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus. Coincidentally, these past few weeks have been unusually warm for the Pacific Northwest, inspiring new growth that the awakening of Spring brings. And when there is growth, I am beckoned outside to tend my garden and vineyard. Yes there is weeding to do, grass to mow, but the very impatient need to prune our vineyard takes precedence. I am very enthusiastic about sharing more about the lessons we have learned here on our vineyard and I hope you will join me as I share more these next few weeks.


What does brokenness, our Savior’s death & resurrection, and the pruning of a vineyard have in common?

Refinement and then a fruit that shines His glory.

You see, as I share in this post about brokenness, that God calls us to be broken, like His Son.

As Christians, we don’t shine our lights brightest when we seem to have everything together and look all perfect on the outside. Instead, God is most glorified when we are willing to allow ourselves to be vulnerable and share with others when life isn’t perfect and we can still praise Him. When those hard trials, times of suffering or pain meet us, or when sin hurts us or others, those stories of healing, strength, forgiveness, and mercy are the ones that SHINE brightest for Him.


A viticulturist understands and knows his vineyard. He prunes off even what looks good, to focus the energy and nutrients into making what is on the vine even better.

I could talk to you until I am blue in the face about the lessons we have learned, metaphors and parables we have pondered and used to teach our children with regard to our vineyard. But one of the most valuable lessons is that, pruning must happen to get good fruit. In fact, with wine grapes, and especially in those first few years of cultivating and training, one has to prune even more vigorously. That first year, when the plants were just one year old and we needed to prune the plants back so that all the energy would go into developing a strong root system… I’ll tell ya, it was painful. Most of those plants had many equally “good looking branches,” but we had to chose which ones to prune and which one would be our main shoot. The plant wasn’t going to prune itself, it would have grown wild without a gardener to prune it, tend it and train it. And if it would have grown wild, without pruning, the fruit would have been tiny, and pitiful in taste… worthless, poor quality. It wouldn’t even be good enough to be made into wine. It may look good to have many grapes growing on the vine but the actual taste of the fruit will be worse.

Don’t these truths about pruning bring so much light and understanding to our lives and the “pruning” we undergo in life?

The Word say our Father in Heaven is the Gardener in our lives. We need pruning, weeding and training to produce good fruit because on our own, in our human nature we will not. But in the midst of pruning, life is hard, it can be humbling. Just like the grapevine looks less productive, barren, fruitless, and even ugly after it has been pruned. So do we feel less than sometimes. Pruning is humbling because it reminds us of our humanity and need for a Savior… from it all.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 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.” John 15:1-2

john 15
When we ourselves are being pruned, we need to remember that we have the most trustworthy Gardener. He knows what is best for us, and wants us to bear much fruit. Abundant Fruit. In those times, just like a vine focuses it’s energy into growing deeper roots, so should we sink our roots deeper into the word of God, into prayer, focusing solely on Him, so that the growth that comes forth is holy, righteous fruit. But be aware.

The vineyard gardener prunes his vineyard more than once a year. Many times actually. He is always in the vineyard, watching over the plants, checking for disease, pests, looking out for birds who might try to come in and steal the good fruit when it is ripening. He watches and evaluates the fruit, the amount each vine can handle, based on it’s age and it’s strength {how deep the roots, what it has been able to produce in the past, and how if it seems ready for more}. The true Gardener does the same in our lives, so we don’t get boastful when it looks like there is good fruit coming forth from your life.  A plant may produce good fruit one year, but if it gets frost bite it could die. It might have good looking potential in July and August, but if it rains too much in September it could get a mold called, Botrytis cinerea. You see, we need our gardener to care for us. Pruning cuts off our self-reliance, reminding us that we need to surrender to His will.

Just like a vineyard, in life we have trials, we start to produce fruit going one direction and then the gardener may decide it is better for the whole plant to cut off that particular branch and fruit, to spare and put more energy into saving the other better fruit. It is different for each plant.

One can feel broken during a pruning season. But pruning is for our good. Just as I am sure it was physically and emotionally painful as Jesus was undergoing the torture and crucifixion. But in that broken, painful time, his brokenness and surrender produces a fruit in Heaven. It is the salvation of souls.

“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19

Our brokenness, no matter what the circumstances are familiar to our God. And it was His willingness to surrender to being broken that saved us. It was His act of Surrender as much as the Father’s act of Sacrifice that has saved us eternally.

Sometimes we need to choose to surrender to being broken just as Jesus did to fully reap the spiritual blessing. Brokenness, for me, more than anything else reminds me that I have no control, and how much I like control in my life. I like knowing what to expect and I like knowing the answers, but in those times when God has allowed me to walk through seasons of unknowing, that is my pruning. That’s when Jesus’ words lead me to choose to surrender.

“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” Luke 22:42

The thing about Jesus’ surrender here, was that He was in control. He exercised self discipline and self control to do what was necessary despite any pain He might undergo. This example speaks volumes to me, about how in those times when we struggle with surrender, to remember it is something we have to choose, it is a spiritual discipline. And it’s one that we aren’t to compartmentalize. We are to give Him every area, every relationship, every circumstance, every conflict, every pain, every loss, and every hurt or persecution to Him in complete surrender.

There are a few things that prevent us from being broken, and thus prevent us from shining our lights. For everyone it may be different. I find it helpful to make lists for myself to challenge myself in my introspection and digging deep in my heart. These are a few to be wary of:

  • Pride
  • Worldy Involvement, Addiction, or Relationships
  • World View {Independent/Self Focused/Build Ones Own Destiny}
  • Fear
  • Hardened Heart Towards Trusting Others {God}
  • The Enemy’s Strongholds
  • Sin

“Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” Romans 1:8

This is the Beauty in the Brokenness and Mess… that we may also share in his glory. As we are refined through fire and pain, we are made more beautiful.

His glory shines brightest when you share what He has done in your life, in all things. Be encouraged today, that no matter what you have gone through, God can redeem it. He wants to! And there is nothing more glorious than the feeling that comes when you have done your best to partner with Him in the learning ad growing. When you make yourself an offering to Him, to be used as His vessel to shine.

May You Shine Today,


Today’s post is a continuation of yesterday’s guest post over at Adelle’s Website for Illuminate Wednesday! I would love to connect with you on Facebook or twitter, come on over and let’s dialogue.