Being married to a home orchardist and gardener has taught me a lot over the last 1.5 years. My husbands new hobby of growing our own food has rubbed off onto me. One things that I've been fascinated by is the cycle of the tree and the job of the orchardist.
When we received our first 35 fruit tree's, most of them came to us as "bare root trees." This means that the tree is not planted into a pot after they remove it from the ground but rather they are sent, once in their dormant state, to us with bare roots ready for our TLC. There are a lot of reasons I don't know or will pretend to share about why but the tree is bare of anything...a fresh, usually 2-3 year old tree. We receive these trees in the winter when they are in their dormant season because it's the best time to plant them, as to not shock the system of the tree. This dormant season is usually the time the orchardist does a "hard prune" to get the tree ready for the spring and he decides what branches are the best for producing the most fruit.
The next season is when the tree breaks dormancy, a season known as "budding out". The tree "buds out" and pushes as many fruit bearing flowers out as it can as well as a few little leaves. This occurs every year in the spring, when the weather begins to get warm and we stop having freezing temperatures at night. In this season, the bees pollinate those flowers and that is what will eventually bring us fruit.
After the flowers start to fall off and hopefully were pollinated, the leaves push out to fill the tree called "leafing out". This is also the big long season of glory for the tree. It grows, sometimes super long branches (some of which are a bit crazy) and tries to get as much sunlight as it can to grow (remember photosynthesis from science class?). The tree then starts to produce fruit and grows in it's big sunny glory. During this season, the orchardist goes in and pulls off some of the fruit to produce better fruit on the branch, a thinning out. The orchardist also does a small summer prune to control some of the growth and to direct the path he wants the tree to grow in as well as does the big harvest when the fruit is ready!
Then once the fall arrives and things begin to cool off. The tree drops it's leaves and goes into a season where they are getting ready to rest. In the season, the orchardist watches and waits for the tree to go completely dormant in preparation for the big prune. It's a quiet season for both involved, the trees and the orchardist but it's also a time of anticipation for the work ahead.
Are you still with me? What in the world does this have to do with anything? Well, right after Christmas, I started the Life Lived Beautifully Planted study. It is a study about some of the disciplines of a Christian life. Each week, we study a new discipline of the Christian life and I just started week 3 and have been blessed by it.
Something God showed me through it and was working on my heart prior was the whole concept of our Christian walk in relation to a fruit tree. God has revealed so much of Himself to Maxwell and I through this new adventure of big gardening/orcharding. We are exactly like a fruit tree and God is the Orchardist. He does the hard pruning in our dormant times. This is what people often call their "dry" seasons but I'm starting to see them in a different light. It isn't a bad thing or a bad season, it's an amazing season that we must all go through in order to be ready for what He has ahead for us. We shouldn't feel down or depressed in this season, although at times I know we feel like we can't hear God or we don't feel close to Him but that is when we need to dig deep into the disciplines the Bible teaches us and get ready for what He is going to do.
I just came out of a dormant season due to this pregnancy. It was a time of quiet and rest and not much to share on here or instagram but now as I'm starting to "bud out" I am seeing the light of what He was teaching in that time.
One of my favorite quotes from the study is "to be a healthy tree, or in our case to be a righteous person, doesn't mean always performing at an optimal level and always bearing visible fruit for all to see." Just like the fruit tree's, we must go through the season of waiting and quiet, rest, then growth and production. "This is the God-ordained process that brings about optimal health." (Kara Holmes) We should not get frustrated by these seasons, or allow Satan to get into our heads and tells us we aren't growing and God isn't there. He is there, He has a plan and a purpose! He is the great Orchardist and He has a plan for our growth, for our fruit and for His harvest. Allow Him to work and in order to do this, we must plant ourselves in His presence through these disciplines (Bible study, meditation, prayer, worship, ect) and be ready for the seasons He has for us.
I'd highly recommend the Planted study. I'm only on week 3 and the things I have learn about the first 3 disciplines have been amazing! It's a very short study in terms of day to day but yet I find myself meditating on the truths throughout my days. (This is not a sponsored post, just something God has been teaching me and a tool He is using in my life!)