The Beauty of the Broken Bonsai

Posted by: in Rachel Skirvin on October 10th

Recently, I strolled through a Japenese Garden filled with beautiful waters and ornate shrines. My favorite portion of this garden was a small space that was dedicated to tiny, yet mighty bonsai trees.

Bonsai is actually not a specific tree, but rather a process. The trees are made to be small and contained. They are cultivated over time- some have survived and still thrive after hundreds of years. The trees are pruned, molded with wires, and watched with patience as they take their shape and stay conformed. Years of these procedures have to happen before the tree is ready. Through changing seasons, there is still growth though it may be hard to see. 

“A bonsai is a tree that has been pruned and trained… Pruning with the correct tools is important in creating a bonsai. Pruners are used to cut off unwanted branches not needed for the design.” They also must be planted and cultivated at the right time, in the right season in order to properly grow.

There is a purpose for all the shaping, the cutting away, the trimming, and the waiting. Pain has a purpose and it’s oftentimes on purpose. 

Who knew so many lessons could be learned from a tree…

Oh, but wait…

A tree is where it all started and where “it [was] finished.

Adam and Eve ate from a tree. Jesus took our place on one. Trees are still teaching us. To everything, there is a season, a time for mistakes, and a time for forgiveness, a time for pruning and a time for growing, a time for giving and a time for taking away… I don’t understand a whole lot about God or His ways, but I know when He prunes and shapes and creates, it is on purpose, period.

We look for God so much in the beautiful and notice His hand in products that look finished but sometimes we miss Him in the broken and don’t trust Him in the waiting. 

“Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit” John 15:2.

The finished product has a purpose but so does the pruning and so does the process.

There is not always a time limit to these in-between growing, breaking and shaping seasons but faith in the process is what motivates us to put one foot in front of the other. Sometimes it is the middle that teaches us the most. Don’t miss out on your promise because you are uncomfortable in the process. 

There is beauty in the broken bonsai that is being intentionally shaped over time. There are also lessons to be learned from the One who does the breaking and re-shaping. Trust Him. He knows just what He is doing.



Rachel Skirvin is a lover of travel, nachos, and the gospel. She is a graduate of Urshan College and will most likely always call it Gateway. She is pursuing her master’s degree in counseling and human services and is currently serving at The Pentecostals of Cooper City in South Florida


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