At the edge of my driveway stands a row of lilac bushes. I’ve been watching the blossoms develop, waiting for the day when I could take a good photo. Finally, the day arrived. The blossoms were almost in full bloom and the sky was overcast—perfect for taking a picture. I grabbed my camera and headed out the door.  I was not pleased with the first few photos that I took.  This is one of them: 

New lilac blossoms are barely visible. They’re hidden behind dead branches and dried stems of previous year’s blossoms.

I put down my camera, took my branch cutter off its hook in the garage and sniped off last year’s dried stems and dead branches. Then, I took a few more photos. This is one that I like:

The dead branch has been cut off and the beautiful new blossom is visible.

Last year, one of my friends told me that if I wanted to have lots of lilac blossoms every year, I must cut off the stems of each year’s blossoms as soon as they quit blooming. Well, I didn’t bother doing it. I don’t know why I would want to hang on to an old, dead branch. It’s never going to bloom again. Still, I hated to snip it off.

I thought about my life. What “branch” that once produced fragrant and beautiful flowers in my life is now unneeded, dead, and must be trimmed off?  As I hesitate pruning my lilac bushes, so I reluctantly prune the unneeded “branches” in my life.

Each season, God has new gifts of grace. In order to make room for them, I need let go of the old, familiar, comfortable things. Maybe I don’t recognize them as dead branches. I remember the joy that they brought me and try to revive or resurrect what I was given in the past. What happens if I don’t cut off the dead branches? They distract me from seeing the new growth that God wants to produce in my life.

Jesus knows we are reluctant to give up the old. He said,”No one who drinks the old wine seems to want the new wine. ‘The old is just fine,’ they say” (Luke 5:39 NLT).

Yet, I can’t have any passion for the new thing that God wants to develop in my life unless I give up that old thing.  

Questions for your reflection  

What new (blossom) dream or vision has God given to me?

What once beautiful but now unneeded or dead branch must I prune from my life in order to pursue it?

What choice will I make? Keep the dead branch or cut it off?


8 Responses

  1. Hi Jane,
    Nice to meet you today on Facebook through the Hope*Writers group. I am Linda Jane! and yes, Plain Jane was always thrown in there when I was a child. I am named after my mother and grandmother. My granddaughter (who is six) is Jane, so perhaps the name is making a return. I loved your writing about the lilacs. I too have a fondness for lilacs and have photographed them and used them for meditation. Thanks for sharing today.

    1. Hi Linda,
      Great to meet you. From what you posted in the Hope*Writers group, you do not sound at all like a “plain Jane”. I received your FB message and will reply to it.Thanks so much for reading my blog post and commenting on it. I feel encouraged. I Would love to read your meditation on lilacs.

  2. So thought provoking. I’ve got to do a lot of thinking and praying to find out what I need to let go of so I can grow. Thank you for your gentle encouragement and thoughtful enlightenment.
    Blessings, my friend.

    1. Thank you for your friendship, consistent affirmation, and encouragement. You are a blessing to me, Debbie!

  3. Jane,
    Thank you for the photo and devotional regarding my favorite flowers! (our state flower too). We rode around the other day looking at all the blooming lilac bushes and trees in town- my favorite are the old, large bushes that inhabit some of the local farms! My own smaller bushes are wonderfully fragrant this AM! God, our vinedresser makes all things new..this does involve surrender, to allow the new to come. Perhaps I better try pruning my lilacs as well!

    1. I would love to see the lilacs in your neighborhood, Donna, and talk more with you about the pruning process that our God does. I’m so thankful that his pruning shears are wielded with love as well as wisdom.

  4. In the last year I have learned just this
    It’s hard to put my memories of my old life behind me. But trying real hard.Thank you.

    1. Thanks for sharing this, Cori. I can relate to your struggle. May God reveal his love to you in such a way that you will have the grace and power to let go of those old memories.

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