Listen to the Apple Tree

appletree.jpg

Today, I must draw your attention to the apple tree. Just a common, regular apple tree. The kind that grows in many a back yard and makes…apples. That’s what it does. That’s what it’s job is. To produce sweet, crisp, delicious apples. Every year at almost the exact same time each year.

Most years, an apple tree will produce a pretty decent harvest of apples.

And some years, the apple tree will produce so many apples, that it seems that there’s more apples on it than leaves. It will sometimes be so full of apples that some of the branches will break off and fall to the ground because of the heavy load of apples on it. And we say to each other, “Wow…that apple tree sure had a good year!”

But that very next year, that very same apple tree may not produce even one apple. Not one.

Because guess what? Apple trees need to rest. They can not continue year after year after year to produce tons and tons of apples without occasionally just sitting out a year and letting the other apple trees produce the apples for the people.

And after a year of rest, an apple tree can come back the following year and produce a great crop of sweet, crisp, delicious apples again.

That, my friends, is the way God designed…apple trees. :)

So, for all of us “apple trees” out there who think we must do all and be all and look all and take all and show all and have all – all at the same time – we’re not really being a very healthy apple tree.

If you are at a season in your life that you have more time to do more and be more beyond your home and family responsibilities, then by all means, please be the apple tree that has a bumper crop.

But if you have a husband and/or children, or other family members that need you, then enjoy serving and loving and caring for and being with them. Because that is enough.

And if your “apple tree” needs to take time off to rest…then please do rest. You will be able to produce more apples later, after you have rested.

It is simply not up to you or me alone to make sure everyone always has enough apples to eat. Sometimes, I can sit back and focus on other priorites and let other people produce the apples for a while.   And then when it’s my time again, I can let others rest while I produce apples.

And those, my friends, are my extremely profound thoughts about apple trees.

And that, my extended family who live in other states, is why you no longer receive adorable handmade birthday cards from me anymore. (And why you’re lucky to even receive a phone call…four to seven days after your birthday.)  ;)

So while I still don’t have a complete understanding of what all I should be doing and what all I should be taking a rest from…I do know that absolutely my most important job and focus is my husband and our four boys and taking care of our home.

I guess I’m “pruning back my branches” so that I’ll be able to give more of the best of me to my family. And God is helping me figure out which branches to prune.

Okay, now I’m going to go eat an apple. Which has nothing to do with my profound thoughts about the apple tree, except for the fact that thinking profound thoughts made me hungry.

Anybody else need to prune back a little? And if so…what kinds of things can you prune back?

Comments

  1. says

    I just thought I’d comment that my friend Katie has an awesome new album called Apple Tree. It’s really catchy and fun. You can check it out at katieherzig.com. I’m not leaving this to be all spam-y, just because your post has the same title. =^) And, I’ve had to prune much in my life. Others don’t always understand it, and it isn’t easy, but so many benefits come from it!!! Good post.

    [Reply]

  2. says

    Awesome post, Laura! I need to prune back, too, but that is SO HARD… especially in Tiny Town where everyone is involved in everything! We love it, but it is hard to “hole up” at home sometimes. Hmmmm, lots to think about!

    [Reply]

  3. says

    Laura, this is extremely encouraging to me and couldn’t have come on a better morning. You see, I’ve been asked by former students to reconsider teaching piano again, but as a wife of under 2 years with a 9 month old darling son, I just don’t have the peace I need from the Lord to start again. I don’t want to waste any part of this precious season in our life by being so busy that I can’t enjoy it because I’m constantly playing catch up. Thank you for your timely post! Now, on to the next thing on my list…emailling a negative answer.

    [Reply]

  4. says

    Hello,

    What a great perspective! Thanks for sharing. We could all use a good reminder about what all we can do during certain seasons in our lives.

    Take Care,

    Trixie

    [Reply]

  5. Jessica says

    Good Morning. I have been reading your blog for a few weeks now. I am enjoying it very much. I especially enjoyed your writing today about the apple tree.
    I am in the process of quitting my full-time job that I have been doing for almost 13 years now. My kids are 13 and 7. I have been working working and working some more…40 hours during the day and juggling kids and hobbies and volunteer work. My life has gotten out of control and crazy and I am finally giving up my day job to spend time with my family. I know that God will bless my decision to focus in on what matter most. I am sorry to ramble on…but I think the apple tree story just confirmed what I am doing right now in this new season in my life. Thank you.
    Jessica

    [Reply]

  6. Lenetta says

    Oooooh, that’s awfully deep, Laura! Since my little one was born, instead of pruning, I just haven’t said yes to anything. This summer, I’ve finally felt like my head is above water, and I’m looking forward to attending a Bible study group that starts next week. It’s about time I set on a few apples!

    [Reply]

  7. says

    Very poignant! Hey, there’s a reason that there’s a phrase dedicated to the apple tree (The apple doesn’t fall far..)!
    I joined the Mom’s club 5 years ago and immediately took on way too much responsibility. It took me a while, but I finally started pulling back and allowing time for us all to just breathe. It’s good to keep the kids socialized, but also important to be bored once in a while. Gets the imagination going!

    [Reply]

  8. says

    WOW, what a great post!
    I too had a “APPLE TREE THOUGH” (I think that is what we should all call them… when we want to NOT do something!)
    this morning when I was getting dressed and getting the kids ready for school…
    I work a part time weekend job outside the home… which I love, but right now the busy season is starting and last year at this time I worked 60+ hours a week for 6 weeks or so…. We need the money, but we don’t NEED the stress, if you KWIM! So I think I will tell my manager on friday that UNLESS they REALLY need me, DON’T put me on a weekday… My family needs me more!
    THANKS for the reinforcement with my thoughts with YOUR deep though today!

    [Reply]

  9. Rachel Going says

    I’m thinking those same thoughts though at this precice moment I’m thinking about eating an apple and I can’t think of a specific branch that I’m pruning. I just want to let you know I’m right there with you! xorachel

    [Reply]

  10. says

    Good post! I started pruning back my time online. I felt myself starting to reach the point of burnout. I don’t have small children, my 2 are grown. But my husband & I have a Ministry AND a family entertainment business that we run together. It keeps me VERY busy and if I don’t watch it, I get burnt out. I can’t just hand it all over to dh and do nothing (which is secretly what I WANT to do sometimes!), so I scale back other things that take chunks of time. When I feel rested enough I gradually ease back into other things. Times of refreshing in God’s Word also helps. :)

    God Bless,
    Shannon in NC

    [Reply]

  11. says

    I love this post! Your analogy is incredibly full of wisdom. I, too, have been having these same thoughts of taking time to rest this year. In fact, I had what I call a Responsibility Meltdown in June. So, since then, I have been watching what all I commit to for this year. It’s hard though, not to feel like a slacker, when you see other apple trees still producing, and you are not.

    [Reply]

  12. says

    Very true, and a great illustration too. I’ve made ‘apples’ for others and I’ve had times when I’ve been content to be given them while I rest. Hope you can rest too, so you can have a ‘bumper crop’ in the future!

    [Reply]

  13. Emily says

    I really identify with what Jill said above. I’ve cut way back on my responsibilities the last two months (I don’t know how much longer I could have kept up what I was doing actually) and sometimes seeing what others are doing makes me feel like a bum! Thanks for this post – it reinforces that I know I am doing the right thing for my health spiritually, emotionally, and physically.

    [Reply]

  14. says

    What an awesome post! But so difficult for me to practice. I’m definitely the type that tries to do all, be all for everyone. I can tell its not working for me because I find I’m losing focus and other areas are suffering. But it’s so hard to rest and accept help when I feel like I should be able to do it all.

    [Reply]

  15. Talley says

    Just what we are working on doing, my DH and I. We (as most young folks do) have so much on our plates (including 5 part-time jobs between the two of us) that we are not happy with ourselves. Mostly we are kicking the small stuff out and trying to hone down the big stuff. Whatever doesn’t work and doesn’t have a workable solution gets nixed. Completely.

    Great thoughts. Thanks for a new way to think about it and the encouragement to actually DO IT!!

    [Reply]

  16. says

    Laura, I found your site from Patti Sikes blog. We worship with them. I think you and I have a lot in common (4 little men and one big), and Christ’s blood.

    Thanks for this post. I love the analogy to the apple tree. I’ve been there, and had to prune, and rest. I didn’t want to. I felt like I was losing a little of myself because I had to prune things I really enjoyed, in to accomplish the necessities. I found joy in the necssities.

    I’m finding myself needing to prune again. Again, I’m having a tough time letting go. What a stubborn learner I am!

    Thanks for sharing your life through your blog. Way to use the talents God gave you. What a blessing to others! To God be the glory!

    [Reply]

  17. says

    I appreciate this post. It is very timely for me. I have two children in first grade who I homeschool and also have a part-time job during the afternoon on top of keeping my house in order and spending time with my husband. Though I would love to pour myself more deeply into homemaking (everything from scratch, spotless kitchen floor, couponing, everything in its proper place), that just doesn’t happen very often. It results in my being stressed out and frustrated. My husband has noted this and kindly suggested that I cut back on my great endeavors. Though it would be great to make my egg casserole with homemade crescent roll dough, sometimes it’s just easier to buy the canned stuff. Though I would love to pour over coupons and get THE BEST deals in town, sometimes it’s just better to buy generic and ask for the Lord’s provision. While I would love to be able to quit my job to do more things with my children and actually get school done that day, I just need to remember that God is ordering my steps and is using my job as a means to provide for my family. This has been a very trying season in my life, one where it’s very difficult for me to be content where I am. I know that this won’t last forever, so for now, I’ll rest and let others produce apples on their tree and pray that my time will come eventually. Thank you again for your very encouraging words.

    Lisa

    [Reply]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *