First Things First (Part 2): Taming the Overgrowth

If you read First Things First Part 1, you learned there were three essential issues that needed to be addressed right off the bat before any other pieces of the renovation could begin: pests, overgrown vegetation and the foundation.

Here’s a view of the cottage BEFORE the vegetation was tamed:


Red Tip Photinias had completely taken over the front of the home and its true beauty could barely be seen.  The cottage was also flanked by towering oak trees on both the south and west sides.  The limbs threatened the integrity of the roof. They hung over and in some cases, even laid across the roof.

On the west and south sides of the cottage, overgrown bushes also encompassed the house.


Goodness, I don’t know about you, but I have to (QUITE OFTEN) cut away the overgrowth in my life.  Sometimes it’s an intentional choice. Other times, the Lord has cut and pruned in THE MOST painful ways.  And at the time, I questioned Him.  Why did He have to remove THAT limb?  Why did THAT branch need cutting?  I LOVE to grow. But what if I “grow” in the wrong direction?  Perhaps some of my limbs had become too big and squelched the potential in me. 

I couldn’t WAIT to get the brush cut away.  I dare say it had been almost 10 years (possibly more) since anyone had truly “seen” my cottage.  After researching tree services in the area, I ultimately partnered with Shull Tree Service to do the work.

Mr. Shull and his crew got to work almost immediately.  Trucks, trailers, chainsaws and stump grinders roared for just about a week to remove all the growth that had taken over my cottage.

shull-tree-1 shull-tree-2

I was still in Texas while this work was going on and it was KILLING me to not be present during the process. Many of you saw the finished work WEEKS before I was able to lay my eyes on it.  But thanks to my parents and my neighbor, Dr. Cabaniss, pictures and videos were sent regularly to update me.

And after all the brush was removed, this beauty was revealed!


When my mom first sent this picture, it took my breath away.  I couldn’t believe how beautiful my cottage truly was! It was everything I had envisioned it to be! For the first time in a VERY long time, pruning had occurred. Everything that hid her beauty and her strength was removed. And the rest of the renovation work was finally able to begin!

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. John 15:2 NIV

Just as the true beauty of my cottage was revealed, my new life was revealed after a painful season of pruning. The real me was hidden behind years of overgrowth.  Thinking I’d never survive the pruning, the Lord uncovered a new story and new life bursting forth unspeakable joy, gratitude and grace.

Have you walked through a season of pruning?  What lessons did you learn?  Did your new growth produce fruit? I’d love for you to share in the comments below. 

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  1. Deborah Dubberly says:

    Love love love. The paint tells the story of a well lived life.

  2. Pam says:

    Love verse John 15:2
    Good luck with your journey and thanks for sharing the progress.

  3. Nancy Dumas says:

    Looks great!!

  4. Sandra says:

    Goodness God’s timing is always perfect! I am going through some painful pruning right now. I am going through the story of David again. The first time I studied it (with the help of Beth Moore) I identified with David and breezed through the study with great joy!…but this time it seems some self absorption has set in my heart and I identify more with King Saul. I’m learning that insecurity is not the same as being humble – it means I am not trusting God and eventually will lead me to blatant disobedience. Insecurity is me focusing on me and what others think of me. God is teaching me to quit dwelling on my perceived flaws and inabilities and focus on who He is in me and what he has done and will do for me and through me for HIS glory. Thank you for sharing -I am ready for some fruit to grow!!!

  5. Barbara Hoover says:

    I can’t tell you how excited I am for you and your precious cottage! I love the Minden area. You are in my thoughts and prayers as you start this new phase of your life with the help of God. Looking forward to the progress on the cottage.

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