The 5 Best Decisions to Make When Life is Hard and Doubt is Rising


When we first moved to the Fixer Upper Farm, it was a bit of an eyesore. Weeds six feet tall. Broken windows. Snakes swimming in the broken-down pool. And so many bushes that needed to be trimmed way back.

We have girls. And girls are great and can do anything; I’m a total believer in that. But my girls? They aren’t exactly the farm-help type.

So I asked my friend Wendy if her son, Griffin, would be interested in being our farmhand for the summer. We promised a decent paycheck for a teenage boy, a pool to jump in whenever he needed to cool down, and three girls to cheer him through his projects for us.

Griffin was amazing.

He did everything we asked, faster than we could have ever done it, and we really trusted him. We kept giving him more and more to do. Kris and I had several conversations with Griffin about the various bushes on our property that needed to either be trimmed back or cleared out altogether. I thought we were all on the same page with what needed to go and what needed to stay. But I think we may have had some miscommunication about our rose bushes.

Imagine the shock on my face when I pulled in one afternoon and saw Griffin waving hello to me as he mowed down the only things salvageable—these beautiful, blooming, mature rosebushes, completely down to the stub. I almost screamed, “Nooooooo!”

Because when you live in a fixer upper, very few things look beautiful from the get-go. Those rosebushes were it.

We didn’t make a big deal about it with Griffin. I knew it was honest miscommunication. But I thought those bushes were goners.

The past two years, as I’ve walked through so much loss, I have felt very much like a bush who got run over with nothing left to bloom. It still kinda feels like there’s a lawn mower running over me again and again. Sometimes I feel like there’s more that has to go than needs to stay at this point. I know this pruning, this reshaping, is for my good.

But sometimes I’m scared. Am I ever going to get this? Will these mountains of belief actually move? Am I hearing God? Will I embrace silence?

If we don’t want our disbelief to turn into unbelief, everything that has caused disbelief to stir in us has to be pruned back. Way back. All the way to where there is almost nothing left.

Those rosebushes didn’t come back the next summer.

But the summer after that, they did.

And their blooms were beautiful.

Pruning doesn’t mean we forget the hard, the bad, or the pain. It means we cut it back far enough to allow something better to grow again. 

Deciding to listen, especially with the pruning of our souls, could feel like one of the hardest things God could ask us to do.      

Excerpted from Flooded: The 5 Best Decisions to Make When Life is Hard and Doubt is Rising by Nicki Koziarz, copyright © 2021. Used by permission of Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Nicki Koziarz is an author and speaker with Proverbs 31 Ministries. Her latest book is Flooded: The Five Best Decisions to Make When Life is Hard and Doubt is Rising. The Koziarz family lives on a small farm near Charlotte, NC.

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