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The Ugliness and Beauty of Pruning-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: August 10, 2020

Last year I told myself, “I’m not doing this again…ever!” But there I was again with clippers in hand, on the hottest day of the day, ready to prune all the dead branches from my five-foot tall, decorative rose bushes. For two hours, with sweat running down my face and back, those thorny branches attacked me. Long sleeved shirts and pants don’t protect me from those nasty, long thorns, which manage to grab and rip my skin until the blood spurts out. Then when my wheelbarrow is full, I have to push it up the rocky incline on the left side of my house toward my green container.  With the sun beating on me I sit down and collapse.

I’ve been doing this for 24 years. Same story every year. This year my daughter Michelle and I were sitting on the lower patio encircled by the rose bushes and she challenged me, “Mom, you’re not really going to prune them again this year, are you?” I nodded and responded, “Yes sweetie, because when June 2021 rolls around I want to be surrounded by those beautiful pink roses that bring me such joy. “

If I want to have beauty and joy, I have to do the hard work.

  • If I want loving relationships, I have to stop being judgmental and more forgiving.
  • If I want a happy family, I have to be realistic about expectations and let go of perfectionism.
  • If I want a happy marriage, I have to be understanding and kind.
  • If I want to enjoy my workplace and be successful in what I do, I have to be a gracious team player.
  • If I want a pension fund when I retire, I have to save and prepare.
  • If I want to heal from my deep grief, I have to take steps to find healing and move forward.
  • If I want to grow in my spiritual journey and be more like Jesus, I have to let him prune me every day.

Pruning is hard work and it hurts.

If we want to enjoy the fullness of what life, we have to keep our eyes on the prize of joy and put in the hard work.  The Bible tells us:  “…who for the joy set before him, endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2 NIV). Jesus put up with the ridicule, beatings and betrayal because he had His eyes on the end result. Fulfillment and joy.

If we want the fullness of joy we have to get a little bloody at times. Forgive when we’ve been hurt.  Accept when we don’t agree. Overcome insults with kindness.  Let someone else take the credit.

Celebrate instead of compare. 

It’s in the pain and sweat of pruning where we discard the ugliness. Without the pruning there would be no new growth, new opportunities, new beauty and new JOY.

Are you looking for fresh joy?  What needs to change or be pruned?  You know it’s going to take some hard work, but it’s so worth it. Do it ….for the joy set before you!


Posted in: beauty and joy, beauty and pain coexist, celebrate instead of compare, decisions, disgard ugliness, do the hard work, fresh joy, happiness, new growth, Overcoming Struggles, pruning

3 responses to “The Ugliness and Beauty of Pruning-by Heidi McLaughlin”

  1. Bridget says:

    I love this!! Such wisdom. Hard work produces rewards. And the rewards are sweeter when we put effort into getting them. It is like when someone does an exhaustive edit of my writing. It is so worth the initial sting of having to rework something. Or practicing a new play on the ice at hockey practice -and then watching it pay off when used to win a game.
    Thank you Heidi for this reminder of the benefits of hard work.

    • hmclaughlin says:

      Thank you for those wise and beautiful words Bridget. Yes, I’ve found that great fulfillment and joy comes when I’ve put my heart and soul into it. Fortunately sometimes joy is “just there” and seasons of life are easy and enjoyable. But even right now with Covid and all the changes and new way of “doing life” I have to push through the clutter to go for the joy. Every day. Thank you for sharing the joy journey with me. Hugs…

  2. Sandra Gauer says:

    Thank you for sharing “The ugliness and Beauty of Pruning. Your words are such an inspiration to me and they remind me of the important things in life. Really wish I had been able to hear you at our ladies retreats.
    Hugs from Texas!!!

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