Pruning Is Painful Even When The Possibilities Are Positive

Pruning is painful but necessary.

Pruning is a fancy word for the painful extraction
of bad habits,
barren branches
and wonky facial hair!

Do you have hair in places women shouldn’t have hair?
I do, and the older I get,
the furrier I become!

I’m not even talking about my legs
or armpits or
places seen only by Mr. 4-Ever.
I’m talking about the dark thick pokey hairs
on my upper lip,
growing out of my nostrils
and on my chin!

My eyebrows had completely lost their shape.
The natural arch was more like a heavy dash.
Hair was growing up my forehead
and under my brows like ivy on a brick wall.

I tried tweezing, but it took too long.
I tried waxing, but it’s surprisingly unruly and
the wax got into spots
it wasn’t supposed to go
and left me with bald spots
so shiny that no powder could cover them.

What’s a girl to do?

That’s when I saw the sign for
in the window of a little shop
by my house.

Not like the open air chairs at the mall,
this place afforded privacy and appointments.

According to the sign in the window,
I could get my brows threaded
into a beautiful shape that would last for weeks
for the price of a restaurant lunch!

Now, Girls, if you have never
had your hair threaded,
let me explain the process.

A technician puts you in a chair that reclines
under lights as bright as the sun.
She quickly assesses your face
as she shakes her head in pity and disbelief
that you have had to walk around in public
with this horrible growth.
“Oh, honey, I’m so sorry!
You should have come in sooner.
You want your whole face done?”

“No, just my brows today.”

“Oh, Honey, you sure?
Look at this down here,”
she says with a look of disgust
as she points at my jawline.

She hands me a 10X magnifying glass.
Under her lights I can see every hair,
and begin to understand why she is repelled.

I confirm that I really just want to try my brows.

“Oh, Honey,” she says,
“At least do your upper lip, too!”

Again she hands me the magnifying glass
so I can see all the offensive dark hairs lining my upper lip.

“Mmm, maybe just the lip and brows.”

“Good start!” she says.

Then she gets to work.
Unrolling a long piece of white thread from an enormous spool,
she winds it around her fingers like an elaborate game of Cat’s Cradle.

As I hold the skin around my eye taut,
she traps the hair in the twisted threads and pulls.

My eyes start to water.
I sneeze.
My nose runs.
She hands me a tissue.

Why am I paying this woman to torture me?

More tears.
More sneezing.
More pauses to dab at my nose and eyes.

Eighteen tissues later,
I am released from the torture chair
and given the 10x magnifying mirror.

I look like a movie star!
Well, at least my eyebrows do.

As I pay the bill,
she asks if I want to book my next appointment.

“Absolutely!” I say.

Pruning can be painful,
but it’s necessary to get the results we need.

Jesus says, “I am the true vine,
and my Father is the gardener.
He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit,
while every branch that does bear fruit
he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

EVERY branch gets pruned!
Especially the gangly ones.

Sometimes, we choose to cut off
people or habits in our lives
that don’t produce life.

Other times, we are too weak or fearful
to prune the things that drag us down
and God must do the pruning.

Tragedy forces us to draw near to God
as the source of comfort and redemption.

Persecution drives us to God
for affirmation and wisdom.

Lack of resources creates a need for
God’s provision.

Adversity makes us lean on God
to sharpen our character.

God uses pruning to refine
our passion and purpose.

Pruning can be painful in the short term
but beneficial in the long run.

How have you been pruned in a way
that was ultimately beneficial?
Leave a comment below.


  1. Lou Ann Nay on August 11, 2017 at 2:38 am

    Although painful I had to extricate myself from a friendship. I felt trapped and exhausted in the relationship instead
    of uplifted . I wanted to be a light to her darkness. To be a “good” Christian woman and encourage her into the light.
    But the more time I spent with her the more empty I felt. Finally God showed me that I can pray for her and wish her well
    but not every one is for everyone. Philippians 4:8, Psalm 55:20

    • Robyn Dykstra on August 11, 2017 at 3:18 pm

      How wise of you and how hard that decision must have been. So proud of you for doing some pruning. Thank you for sharing the good outcome of a painful choice.

  2. Amy Krasnichan on August 11, 2017 at 11:11 am

    I had to leave a job which had great pay but was draining me everyday. I didn’t realize how much my identity was wrapped up in work until it was gone. After almost a year of job hunting (and being fired for the first time) God brought me to a place of humility and total reliance.

    I have a new job that was created for me. I have opportunities to share the gospel and I have the summers off for speaking & other ministries.

    I also was pursued & now going into my 3rd month of marriage!

    • Robyn Dykstra on August 11, 2017 at 3:16 pm

      Oh, Amy, what a year! Thanks for sharing a perfect example of how God prunes for better blossoms. Congrats on the marriage and the new job.

  3. Shirl Medendorp on August 11, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    Thanks for your funny story. May your day be blest. I hope to visit with a friend today, who is stopping on her way to Michigan to show me her new dog. Hugs, Shirl

    • Robyn Dykstra on August 11, 2017 at 3:14 pm

      Have a wonderful visit, Shirl. Hope you connect with your friend and that her dog is lovable.

  4. HELEN MARNER on August 11, 2017 at 11:43 pm

    Retiring is one thing but immediately leaving the home in which you raised your children and getting rid of a life’s full of “things” can be hard. When God is the one encouraging this, so we could be near my 96 year old Mom half a country away, it became easier, with trust. It was difficult in many ways, but good and freeing in many others. We were close to Mom for two wonderful years. Six years later, my husband and I have never been happier. God is good in the good times and painful times. Hard to learn, and relearn, and relearn- but so true.

    • Robyn Dykstra on August 12, 2017 at 2:31 am

      Helen, What an excellent example of how pruning can be hard but fruitful!

Leave a Comment