“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. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me…“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:2-5).
The past year has been one of my favorite, there have been such high-high’s and low-low’s. The Lord has used both to show me more about who He is and who He has created me to be.
I remember sitting around a table almost a year ago with a team of leaders in our church, I had just started a new position and was both nervous and ecstatic that God has answered a prayer I didn’t have the courage to pray. While sitting there my boss asked everyone to go around and say what big thing they were praying for. I remember instantly feeling like a weight sat heavy on my chest, I knew what I was to pray for, but it was big. When it was finally my turn I squeaked out a shy “more impact and influence, especially in this season of singleness”.
So many months and weeks have passed since that early morning at Chick-Fil-A, but God has been so faithful. There have been so many high moments, fear conquering moments, and probably more moments where I have sat alone and cried while pleading with the Lord.
The past 11 weeks have been some of the most painful that I can recall, and yet I absolutely believe that they have and will be used as some of the most fortifying and beautiful ones in my life. You know, those seasons you look back on and even in remembering the pain you can see the fruit.
John 15 talks about the Lord as a vinedresser, he prunes away the dead and dying – even if it looks good – SO THAT we can bear much fruit. There is always purpose behind the pain, and as I look back through my prayer journal over the past two months I see a common theme and that is this: brokenness leads to repentance, which leads to restoration.
No one desires pain, and I think if we could choose we would shy away from the pruning it talks about in John 15. Can’t we just bear good fruit all the time? Why do we have to walk through winter seasons where it’s cold and the fruit seems hidden? Or even the joyful seasons where fruit seems abundant, but pruning still must occur to ensure that we don’t just make it through this season but endure through the hard ones as well.
I want it to be known that this blog hasn’t been easy to write, because I haven’t arrived. I have edited, paused and choked up because God is good, but emotions are real.
In one of my prayer journals I have used the past few weeks I penned a prayer that turned into something the Lord has used to speak over me, it was this: “You cannot ask for blessing on something you won’t relinquish control of”. Dang. Okay, Lord, I hear you.
How often are we asking to live open-handed, to be used in a greater way, but yet unwilling to relinquish control of something that is so evidently holding us back? Sometimes it is a good thing, a dream or desire that has become an idol, a relationship that isn’t healthy – or a relationship that is good, but has taken the place of God in your life. When good things become God things they need pruned out of our lives.
We can only see in part what God is doing in our lives, whether it’s a season of blessing or discouragement, He is working and moving. He has called you and given you purpose – even if you haven’t discovered what that is yet.
You are enough – you’re never lacking, there’s never a “If I was _________, then…”. No, the God of the universe, the one who is giving you breath in this moment created you. He didn’t create you lacking He created you GOOD – complete, full, lacking nothing, beautiful. You don’t have to strive to prove yourself to anyone, especially not Him.
You are never too much. The same God who has created you with intentionality and purpose and sees you as you are and says you are enough, also never thinks of you as too much. You don’t take up too much space, have too much ___________. The God that holds the world together send His son to die for you, not because of anything you have or could do, but because of his great love for you. You reflect the beautiful image of Christ, even in the moments where you sit at home and overthink everything, you are never too much and you’re always enough. Always. There are no exceptions to this.
Ya’ll this is real life. It’s painful at times, but I wouldn’t trade any of the tears, frustration, pain for anything because I can evidently see God working and moving in me in a way I haven’t seen in a long time. I want my prayer to always be that He prunes away anything that holds me back from full surrender to Him, knowing that there is beauty in the pain.
Maybe you’re in this season too and you just need to know you’re not alone. You’re not alone. I know and believe that God is doing a good work not just in me, but He desires to do that in you, in your church and in your community. Let’s be the catalyst for that change. I hope our hearts song and cry always is that our soul will praise Him, in the easy and the difficult. Our God is always good, He goes before all things, is in all things and in Him all things hold together.
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