Isaiah 61:11“For as the soil makes the sprout come up  and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness  and praise spring up before all nations.”

And the winner is: “ME!! WHAT?? Is this a real vote?” Yep, it was… and I thought “I’ll gladly accept this award.” But after the initial shock (and a few more years of denial) had worn off, I began to see why my bible school class chose me as most prideful. Looking back, that moment was the beginning of a pruning process. One that would take many years, be very painful at times, and honestly is still happening every single day. 

Growing up in a christian home, I had a lot of “nevers”. I never drank, never smoked, never did drugs, but my “nevers” would eventually wreak havoc on my perspective of what Christianity was really all about. My own good deeds would eventually lead to a pride that caused me to be more focused on myself than on becoming something beautiful. Something that God could use to encourage the hurting and broken people all around me.

Isaiah 61:11 speaks of everyone praising God. It says that HIS righteousness, HIS goodness and HIS fairness, will be like a garden springing up new buds and plants everywhere. There is NO goodness, righteousness, or fairness in us, but there is great news! Just like God was wanting to change me and remove my pride, He wants to do the same with each of us. We just have to fully trust Him as the gardener in our lives. Any good garden requires a tremendous amount of upkeep – planting, watering, weeding, pruning, and then hopefully, harvesting. Well, God in the same manner allows trials and tests to “prune” us, “weed” us, and “trim” us. Ladies, if we stay planted in His soil and His Word, He will grow us into beautiful flowers, and together we will become a breathtaking harvest! There is so much freedom in knowing we don’t have to figure out exactly when and where the pruning and care needs to occur. We simply have to stay planted, and fully trust that God loves and cares immensely about shaping us into something beautiful for His Glory!

Julie is the wife of CityHope Worship Arts Pastor, Luke Denton, and is the mom of two! She works at Thomas Hospital as a Women’s Health Nurse and enjoys porch time with her family!