In my last post (which you can read here, if you have the time, please read it, it will enhance the meaning of this post) my future was up in the air and I had begun to realize I needed to make a big change in my life.
Today, I want to share an incredible lesson I learned over the weekend concerning my journey towards making that change. Sometimes I feel as if I write about the same things over and over on this blog. But, maybe it is because I have to continuously learn the same lessons over and over.
I have always known that Heavenly Father has a plan for me. I have experienced His guidance and counsel in my life countless times. However, I sometimes still try to go my own direction and see if maybe it will work out. It never does work out, and I always learn more about my Father's love and patience for me.
There is a wonderful talk that my sweet Trent Vaughn invited me to read a couple nights ago that opened up a while new way for me to view His plan for me and how I follow that plan. The talk, The Currant Bush, is by Elder Hugh B. Brown and is recorded in the January 1973 New Era (read it here, please, it will change your life).
Elder Brown tells a story from many years ago, after he had purchased a run down farm. As he set out to fix up the farm, Elder Brown came a crossed a very over grown currant bush, that had not been pruned for many years. It was no longer producing fruit, and he knew it must be cut down in order to be able to start producing again. So, he went to work. He cut, chopped and worked that currant bush down to nothing but stubs for branches. As he finished, Elder Brown saw what looked like a tear drop on each of those stubs and though he could here the bush cry out, "How could you do this to me? I was making such wonderful growth. I was almost as big as the shade tree and the fruit tree that are inside the fence, and now you have cut me down. Every plant in the garden will look down on me, because I didn't make what I should have made. How could you do this to me? I thought you were the gardener here."
To which Elder Brown replied, "Look, little currant bush, I am the gardener here, and i know what I want you to be. I didn't intend for you to be a fruit tree or a shade tree. I want you to be a currant bush, and some day, little currant bush, when you are laden with fruit, you are going to say, 'Thank you, Mr.Gardener, for loving me about to cut me down, for caring enough about me to hurt me. Thank you, Mr.Gardener.'"
He then goes on to recount a time when he was serving in the British Canadian Army and was hoping to be made a general. He prepared with excitement to meet with the man who would give him that honor. However, as he stood before that man, he was told that appointment could not be made, and he was to return home. Elder Brown noticed the words, THIS MAN IS A MORMON, on his file, and knew that was the reason he had been denied the position he'd worked so hard to obtain.
He stated, "I got on the train and started back to my town, 120 miles away, with a broken heart, with bitterness in my soul. And every click of the wheels on the rails seemed to say, 'You are a failure. You will be called a coward when you get home.'"
He returned home bitter and angry with God. He began to yell at Heavenly Father and demanded an answer as to why this had happened to him. He heard his own words from many years ago, "I am the gardener here. I know what I want you to do." Elder Brown immediately fell to his knees and praised God for His goodness and love.
Just over two months ago, I decided I wanted to be a "fruit tree." I thought it was a wonderful idea. And despite my Father in Heaven prompting me not to, I started to grow out my branches and attempted become a fruit tree. At first, it went well!! But soon, I stopped producing fruit. And soon, I realized, I needed the Gardener to help me. I needed to change. I needed to be cut down. But, I didn't want to be cute down. People would look down on me, I wanted to be a big fruit tree, I didn't want the pain of being cut down and I definitely didn't want to admit I had been wrong.
It took some time, but I finally turned to Heavenly Father. I told Him I knew I had to change, but that I was afraid. He took me figuratively by the hand and told me it would be okay and we would walk through this journey together.
|photo courtesy of http://urbanbutterflygarden.co.u|
So, I handed Him those pruning shears and my trust. And prepared myself for the journey and struggle back to becoming a currant bush. During my first two weeks of working at the credit union, Heavenly Father began removing branches. The branches of pride and disobedience were the first to go. I began looking for new jobs despite the feeling of stupidity (more branches of pride gone). I was blessed with two job offers within days of each other. I put in my two weeks notice, embarrassingly after having only been there for two weeks; one more pride branch painfully removed. I talked with my family, friends and co workers about my decision; each conversation was another branch of pride removed painfully, replaced with faith and hope.
Then there I was, crying, cut down, and hurting. I was embarrassed about my disobedience. I was scared to make a wrong decision again. But, then Trent referred me to this talk, and the whole experience became clear! The Lord has a plan for me. He knows what He needs me to be. I will let Him cut me down any day, so that I may be the fruit producing currant bush He intended me to become.
At the end of his talk, Elder Brown thanks the Lord for "loving him enough to hurt him."
I know that no matter what we have tried to become, our Father in Heaven will always help us become what He created us to be. When we ask Him for help and hand him those pruning shears, we can become thankful little currant bushes. It may be painful, it will be hard but, I testify that it will always be worth it!
Listen to Elder Brown tell this story (here) in a beautiful video made by Jared Mahoney (he combined the original recording of Elder Brown and the images from the Mormon Message made with Elder Cristofferson's retelling of the story.)