A Party For One

This week I just have to be fully honest with you all. I had a post all written, (I was even pretty excited about it!) yet I just know that it has to wait and today I just need to give you a dose of truth from my heart. For the past two days I’ve had the bug of discouragement. An attitude of comparison and a great big pity party happening.

 

IT WAS UGLY. MY HEART WAS A WRETCHED UGLY PLACE.

 

Don’t feel sorry for me, I tell you that right now I don’t deserve it. I got mad at God. I was steaming mad. It began with the loss of a life and then turned into more yuck. I guess that is one of the stages of grief now that I think about, but there was really no excuse for it. Ugly I tell ya!

 

The anger turned quickly into this comparison of other peoples lives. Remember I struggle with people pleasing, well this week I was introduced to her cousin.

 

I’ve been feeling a bit proud of myself lately, thinking this need to people please was improving. That I was worrying less about others and focusing more on what the Lord had for me. Until comparison showed up at my door Friday morning as soon as I woke up from a nightmare. It began with a quiet whisper of, a friend doesn’t really like you. You really aren’t needed. Those other friendships she has are so much better.

 

Instead of recognizing the lie and telling satan to get out of my house, I allowed him to wreak havoc over my mind and heart for the next two days.

 

I allowed him to tell me that my season of study was unimportant.

 

I allowed him to tell me that God had nothing of purpose for me.

 

I allowed him to tell me I was a mediocre mom.

 

I allowed him to tell me I had only failures in my life, that I had accomplished nothing successful.

 

I allowed him to diminish my entire life.

 

Yes it truly was that bad you only need to ask my husband.

 

I tell you these things not for you to feel sorry for me but because I have to.  Trust me as I woke up from my Sunday nap, got dinner in the oven and felt the Lord saying there is a new post to write. I said, but I don’t want to! But I recalled a quote I had seen on the Propel Woman Facebook page earlier in the afternoon.

 

“Are you willing and able to use your pain as a microphone and bless someone else while going through your own storm?” Levi Lusko

 

"Are you willing and able to use your pain as a microphone and bless someone else while going through your own storm?" Levi Lusko

 

So I had to tell you of my pain, my redemption so that someone might be blessed.

 

In the midst of my gigantic pity party I invited my husband into the hot mess of it. I really just wanted a little pat on the back and a awww it’ll be ok. Ladies my hubby is a quiet guy and yesterday I heard more words of truth (painful truth) spoken over me all at once than maybe ever before in our 18 years of knowing each other.

 

I don’t even remember the words really, just that they busted through the lies satan had smeared all over me. I couldn’t fully absorb them and erase my anger and guilt until this morning.  When in church during a song that repeated the name of Jesus several times, with my hands raised and tears streaming down my face. I asked for His forgiveness. Forgiveness for impatience. Forgiveness for comparing and wanting another’s path. Forgiveness for my wretched sinful heart.

 

With the grace and forgiveness that only Jesus comes with, he embraced my heart. He wiped my tears and filled me with peace. Peace that I do have a purpose. Peace that it’s ok to be in a season of study and that it isn’t a trite place to be. Peace about Winter.

 

If you are in a place of believing even a little lie that satan is whispering in your ear I encourage you just to say the name of Jesus. The wretchedness that our heart can have at times won’t want to, but I encourage you to do it. His name alone can bring peace over the yuckiest of hearts. His life alone can bring forgiveness over our darkest of sin.

 

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1st John 1:9

 

Friends I long to be authentic, hopefully not too much, but this is me. I am failed. I am unsure. I am forgiven. I am redeemed. I have purpose. All of my days I will strive to be a truth teller for the sake of encouraging others and showing off how big our God is.

I am failedI am failed. I am unsure. I am forgiven. I am redeemed. I have purpose. All of my days I will strive to be a truth teller for the sake of encouraging others and showing off how big our God is.

I know I haven’t shared anything new here, but I imagine that someone else might be in the middle of a pity party. A party for one that no one else even knows is happening. Because we can be really good about polishing up those masks and getting them just right. Well sweet friend I see you. You are not alone.

You are loved.

You are not mediocre.

You are forgiven.

You are redeemed.

 

You can find me one these awesome blogs!

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This week I’m featuring Karen of Growing Together in Grace and Knowledge. Her post of obedience in the hard stuff is an encouragement for all of us!

 

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Decrease Self-Doubt & Increase Jesus

A year ago I was confronted in a gut checking way about my self-doubt. If you haven’t already figured out, I don’t handle gut checking confrontation well. You might have also guessed I am a sensitive soul whose definition of gut checking might not be as harsh as your definition!

Anyway, this conversation, or at least a snippet of it has played on a near constant loop in my head. I remember sitting, moments after the words were spoken, feeling crushed, tears spilling down my eyes and between hiccup sniffles asking “what can I do to fix it”? What’s wrong with me, my mind screamed. Why am I broken?

Will I ever get it together, didn’t I already deal with this when I worked through Beth Moore’s Breaking Free bible study.

I was gently recommended to seek the wisdom of a christian counselor. While I recognized the benefits of that, I didn’t take that step, but it didn’t stop me from continuing to ponder how to fix me.  Not to mention the revelation I received at She Speaks on insecurity and self-doubt being a form of pride. I don’t want that in my life!!

I have decided that no longer will I allow my struggle of insecurity to define me as an insecure woman. I will be defined instead as a woman who is becoming increasingly secure in the Lord.

 

4 Ways to Minimize Self doubt

Since that decision to no longer be defined as an insecure woman, the Great Counselor has begun to get through my thick skull about the true healing over self-doubt.

Ladies, guess what….There is NO 12 step plan. I know right, can you believe it? I want easy, do this and this and voila, mental confidence!

 

But guess what, I have found 4 things that help the journey!

 

1.Surrounding myself with Truth.

I have begun to fill my home with post-it notes filled with scripture and phrases to bring strength and clarity to my mind. They are on my mirror, near light switches, the family calendar, above the stove, all over!

Surround Yourself with His Word

2. Find a prayer partner.

Having a prayer partner to be honest with is crucial. Someone who you can be honest with and you can count on to pray you through the rough and the smooth roads.

 

3. Surround yourself with Truth-Tellers.

These are people who are going to call you out on your irrational, no one loves me I’m the worst person on the planet. Oh believe me these things have totally came out of my mouth. By surrounding yourself with those that love you enough to be honest with you, filling you back up with pure truth.

 

4. Memorize 1st John 3:20

“…God is greater than our feelings, and knows everything.” Uhhh did you just read that girls?? Is that not one of the most tremendous things you’ve ever read in your life!? This little verse is preceded with  Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.  Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God.” Our actions/thoughts often our based on our feelings, but God is greater. Wow! 

1john320

These 4 things don’t fix me, and they won’t fix you. Only daily seeking and surrender to the Lord will “fix” us. Being stark raw honest with the Lord about our feelings and the lies, releasing them for Him to fill us with His truth and peace.

 

 

My prayer for us this week:

Father God, I pray that you would show us how much greater You are than our feelings. That You would replace our insecurities and hesitations with Your boldness. I claim Your truth for our lives, that we are made to be the light of the world that we will believe and live that out, with You beside us who could defeat us. I praise Your name for the way You never leave us or forsake us, that we only have to call out the sweet name of Jesus. I declare that the whispers of the enemy would have no power over us. I declare that I will seek Your approval of my actions and not of another man or woman. I ask for the strength that I need today to defeat my insecurities and live victoriously for You.

Humbly Prayed in Jesus Name, Amen

I sure would love for you to subscribe to my blog! (See the sidebar, enter your email…yep it’s that easy) Now you never have to miss a post, it will be delivered straight to your mail box!! 

 

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Girls, I tell ya each week you make it harder to pick just a few of you to feature! This week I narrowed it down to four lovely posts!

The first post is by Johanna at Devoted to Maker, her post In a Sea of Sunflowers Will You Stand Strong makes the astounding connection to how we need to live like a sunflower! ….and while you’re there you need to read Lord’s Timing!

Rebecca of Faithful With the Little wrote Modeling Christ at Home and really could have been writing about my life. Her post about living Christ outside and inside our homes gave me pause about my home attitude!

Rebecca of Best Blogging Business really just should be on your every week reading list if you’re a blogger. This week she shared tips of what not to do as a blogger!

Mary of SonRise Insights spoke straight to my heart with her post Update on the Book I Am Not Writing. This post will help you realign your heart of comparison …and mine certainly needed it this week!

 

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Why I Chose to be Pro-Choice

Yep girls, the pure truth is, I am pro-choice. Yes, you did read that right. I believe with all my being you have an absolute choice of what to do with YOUR life. Your choice is to risk the protection of your heart by having sex outside of marriage. Your choice is to make smart choices to prevent pregnancy.  The reality is you need to chose wisely before another human beings life is impacted by YOUR poor judgement.

 

We have bought into the lie that the choice plays into our decisions after we’ve had our fun. That is the lie girls. We have listened to the lie that no man (politician fits here as well) can make our choice for us, about our health.

 

GIRLS, WAKE UP! We have already turned over the choice of our health when we trade our precious hearts for the idea of love, we give our innocence over for the possibility of our hearts being treated and loved with a commitment before a commitment is made.We have uncertainty in our hearts about being loved and we fall for the age old lie of, if I give the most precious thing I have he won’t ever leave, disappoint me or stop loving me, all I have to do is hand that over. When that lie crumbles at our feet and we are left with the consequences it certainly seems easy to call those consequences, women’s health. Why don’t we recognize the best women’s health prescription is to love yourself, respect yourself, and guard your heart from the world’s views of relationships.

 

The best women's health prescription is to love yourself, respect yourself and guard your heart from the world's view of relationships.

This is not by any intention to make men sound as if they want to take advantage of a situation, this is all about the human condition, we are created with a longing that can only be filled with the need of God. When we begin to look to another human being to fill that, we are moving our hearts into a situation of disappointment. We must look to the one who can fill us to overflowing.

 

We have to stop treating sex like it’s about what we want or what we might get out of it, we need to remind ourselves what sex really is. It is a commitment of real love, an agreement of “for better or worst.”

 

We must stop shouting our selfish lies of women’s health, “it’s my body, non-committed relationships is just how life works now”. We need to wake up and trade that in for reality. Yes, it is your body and you do have a choice of what you do with it, who you give it to. Stop exchanging your bad behavior in on someone else’s life.

 Stop exchanging your bad behavior in on someone else's life.

I write all of this with grace and love poured over it. I come to you as a women who did have sex before marriage. I can’t imagine the difference of my life if I would’ve had a baby before marriage. I come to you as a daughter born out of a broken engagement, who very easily could have been lost to the easy choice of women’s health. I have known all my life that my biological father wanted nothing to do with my life, but recently learned that my maternal grandfather wanted to have me aborted. There are few times my mom stood up to the strong force that was my Pap, but on this she did and I was born. I had a grandpa who spent the rest of his time on earth trying to make up for harboring that near action, I believe.

 

When this reality was revealed to me, my mind was spinning. It was during a conversation about my name I had recently with my mom. Lets just say, my outlook of the impact that our easy choices of remedy changed(not that I believed in abortion before) but now, it somehow seemed so much more personal.

 

The solution of abortion that is being accepted as the easiest, impacts not just one life, but life after life. My husband would not have me as a wife, my Brandon and Rachel would not be here on earth. My impact for the kingdom would not be felt. That is the reality.

 

Why I Chose to be Pro-Choice | Me, Coffee & Jesus

You can find me linked on these awesome blogs! 

 

featured on #wordswithwinter link up

This week features 3 great blog posts. The first is from Debbie titled The Journey Through Change it is about her journey through change and her 5 top ways to make it just a bit easier.

Karen shared in her post Setting Sun about how our wondrous God answers bold prayers and how they are His answers, not ours.

Jennifer shared her A Letter To My Boys On The First Day of School and if you have children that just headed back to school you need this post!

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5 Ways She Speaks Was Nothing I Wanted

Hello sweet friends! I sure have missed you, although it certainly has been a welcome break of refocusing. I returned from She Speaks a few weeks ago to immediately repack and head for camping! You might remember this city girl was a bit nervous, but other than loads of mosquito bites it was tons of fun! Life has officially returned to normal with the start of school and my writing time being reclaimed!

I wanted to share a few things that impacted my life while at She Speaks. I went to North Carolina with definite expectations and came home with none of them being met…isn’t that the way God works! So here is my list of 5 ways the Lord gave what I didn’t know I wanted.

20150722_222328She Speaks Swag It Begins! Ministry Stone

1. A Lesson of Insecurity = Pride 

Yep, you read that right, those words had me on my face in repentance. On the first day of pre-conference, the workshop I was most excited for was on spiritual warfare by Whitney Capps. I was initially on the wait list for this but  I’d say God knew I needed it!  I have always struggled with insecurity. My name, my body, my calling, my ability as a mom, wife, photographer, christian. I could go on and on, I’ve doubted just about everything in my life. I’ve labeled myself mediocre at best, failure at worst. I NEVER considered this a source of pride. When this light was cast over insecurity I saw myself written all over it. I used my labels to replace God’s truth, I thought and worried about what others thought of me over what God wanted me to do. Hence why 2012-2014 on this blog is virtually non-existent. I knew I should write and share but, was too afraid.

Meeting Whitney Capps

Me with Whitney Capps, if you haven’t heard this firecracker preach the word of God you are missing out!

2. Given a Rhema word. 

The first main session of the conference started, tables for 800 women to sit were set up. As we wind our way through the isles and choose a seat we see little scrolls of paper. We were told that these papers contained verses that had been prayed over, selected and laid at each place setting. That winding through the tables and sitting where we did wasn’t by accident.

I received 1st Corinthians 15:58

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 

A rhema word from God is a portion of scripture that speaks into your current life situation. For me I came to She Speaks with baggage of, am I on the right path. Is blogging my plan or the Lord’s? What is the next step? So for me to read stand firm, let nothing move you. Just wow! Then to read that when you work for the Lord it can’t be in vain. Talk about baggage being dealt with as I continue to mediate and process that!

3. Anointed with Christ’s Confidence

During the last workshop of the weekend there was a call to be anointed and prayed over. A room of more than a hundred women were anointed and sent out. Talk about powerful stuff. This room swelled with worship music being played on a single guitar and a single vocalist. I was the seventh shaky woman to stand in front of Wendy Blight, she placed the oil on my forehead and prayed over me. The only words from this prayer I grasped on to and refuse to let go of was to “go and be filled with Christ’s confidence.” He alone will be my confidence, when I look at that spot on my forehead or graze my finger over it I am flooded with thoughts of His confidence.

 

Meeting Wendy BlightHaving God breathed truth spoken to you

Me and Wendy Blight! The lovely lady taking this picture, who I had never met, asked me my name and said I was beautiful from the inside out. She gave me another rhema word from Song of Songs, You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way. 4:7 She said I was beautifully filled with the Lord, never have I felt instantly loved and given words like this.

4. I was called from birth

In an earlier workshop, the speaker encouraged the group to reflect back on the moment of your calling and in moments of discouragement remember that moment in order to have strength to go on. I pondered that thought for the entire workshop, spent some time in the prayer room pondering that thought afterwards, and after being anointed continued to ponder it. I thought well, maybe if I can’t remember a moment of being called, only having this overwhelming urge to make Jesus famous (that I’ve prayed to have removed) then perhaps I’m not truly called. As woman after woman went forward to be anointed and voices joined in with the vocalist to worship our Lord, I took a moment to ask my new friend sitting beside me this pondering question.

She responded with “have you considered the possibility that you were called from birth?” She went on to share that she has been told since she was little that she was called. Her mom during pregnancy felt she had a light growing within her that would shine bright. She knew her baby before birth, had favor with the Lord so, she named her Anne-Renee . This struck a memory that has been coming to mind for months. This moment of childhood, I was 5 or 6 jumping on my bed singing. I remember bouncing and singing, likely off key, that God was good, greater than satan and Jesus would always win. At this point in my young life I had been to church only a handful of times, yet I knew truth, I was called to truth. Truth, that I now believe was put inside of me before breathing my first breath.

New Godly Friends

Anne-Renee of The Masterpiece MomFunny story, her and Amanda (the other half of The Masterpiece Mom) happened to be some of the first girls we met upon arriving Wednesday night, all they said was they were from Alaska and I already knew their blog! It can be a small world here in the blogging sphere.

5. There is intention to being named Winter.

This might sound a little weird to you, why would the Lord address your name, you maybe thinking. For me though, growing up very shy and having the name Winter drawing attention to me, I hated it. HATED it! As an adult I’ve learned to tolerate it. Because what other choice is there. It was minimal tolerance though, since nearly every time I introduce myself to someone I receive an “oh, that’s different” (with a puzzled look on their face).

While at She Speaks people already seemed to know me and remember me (there was a private Facebook group for getting to know each other) which I found shocking, all because of my name. Well, ok also partly because of my current very red hair color! In having a conversation about this with my new friend from Costa Rica, she encouraged me to search the meaning of my name and allow God to reveal Himself through my name. As she is saying this, an amazing dawning poured down over me. The day I was born was the middle of October (the 23rd in case you are wondering when to send the gift! Just Kidding!!) This ordinary day in October that I was to be born on and to be named Kelly Nicole, it snowed. Snowed and made it feel like winter, prompting my grandpa to suggest the name Winter Nicole. Frankly, I had always scoffed at that reasoning. But this idea that the God of all the universe sent snow, in order to have His message received by a non-Jesus believing man all so I could have the name Winter stopped me in my tracks.

I looked up the meaning of my name by the way….Winter Nicole means bringing renewal / victorious people. God blows me away.

Friends Speak Jesus Truth2 from Costa Rica + 3 from Indiana = Forever Friends

This lady spoke pure Jesus truth to me the entire weekend! I was beyond blessed to meet her and can’t wait to visit Costa Rica one of these days! The 5 of us made the best of friends!

 

Why do I write all of these terribly personal, reflective thoughts? Because through these five occurrences, the Lord revealed my true calling and passion. I was called to boldly become like Jesus. To be boldly confident in who I am in Christ. I am passionate about allowing God to work in me, making me more like Christ as well as seeing others embrace and boldly become who God has called them to be. Just in case you had any remaining thoughts that I have it all together or some such nonsense, the above should take care of that. I am nothing without the presence and grace of the Lord.  But I am confident in moving forward in who I am, who you are, and encouraging both of us to be bold, all in the name of Christ.

You can usually find me on these amazingly awesome blogs! 

 

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Re-labeled By The King of Kings + Link Up

Hello sweet readers! I wanted to let you know I will be missing the next two weeks. I will serving as part of the leadership team for the Engage Youth Conference the first of next week , I’m so very excited for the opportunity to serve in furthering the reach of Jesus. Then Wednesday I head out to She Speaks, to go be filled to the brim with teachings to hone my dream and calling of writing and speaking in the name of Jesus. Wowzers, I’m so very excited to see all that the Lord has in store. The friendship that He has already started to produce with the other attendees are so amazing! Following that I will be totally off the grid, well as much as I can be, while camping with my lovely little family!

 

Yes, you read that right, camping for a week. This girly girl is getting in touch with her nature side!! At least this time camping involves a motor-home! 

 

This week I wanted to share with you, and myself, part of a message that the Lord laid on my heart to speak to a group of ladies a couple of months ago. I have a tendency to feel invisible and unneeded. I’m pretty honest about that when you know me, I know that it is a way for the enemy to attack me, I hate that I continue to have doubts about my value.

 

I have so much faith in the Lord’s plan for your life and my own, yet in the dark of life, doubt is my weakness.

 

For me, my feelings of being invisible stem from childhood. I grew up made to be very quiet, I was painfully shy-not many who know me now would guess that! I was told by my grandpa that I was ignorant and worthless on a daily basis. My mom and I lived with my grandma and grandpa because my real father broke off the engagement with my mom when she became pregnant. From the womb I wasn’t wanted by him. Once in elementary and middle school I wanted to blend in, so I just stayed really quiet in hopes of no one there pointing out or noticing my worthlessness.

 

I had friendships but they “broke up” with me. Boys didn’t look twice at me. Until one day a boy noticed me. I learned very  quick what he wanted and what I should do to keep him, but it didn’t last. I was introduced to Jesus around the time boys entered my radar. My first introduction sadly, was not one of friend, healer, and seeker of my heart. It was one who set strict rules and really wasn’t a relational God. It was as if I really I could never live up to the standard, it felt that even grace wasn’t enough. So I felt that was just one more area of life that I couldn’t measure up in.

 

But Jesus kept pursuing my heart, kept wooing me.

 

Showing me that yes, I couldn’t measure up on my own but through HIS grace I could. Through his love, I was no longer invisible. Through the Lords plans, I was introduced to a boy that would spend 17 years so far showing me my beauty and that I’m not invisible.  When I have days feeling like I am not enough, that I can never be worthy of love, those days I look into my daughters eyes. I see her beauty, her worth, I then realize my heavenly Father sees that in me and so much more.

 

What the world tries to label us, God wants to replace with His truth. | Me, Coffee & Jesus

 

What life gave me in rejection, feelings of being unloved, not enough, not captivating, not worthy, that I had no value or anything to offer. God determined to bring good out of that. He determined to wipe out each of those labels and replace them.

The world says worthless. He says you are the daughter of the King.

The world says unloved.  He says you are so loved my son died just for you. 

 

The world says not captivating. He says I am so captivated by your beauty I know each hair on your head, each day you will live out on this earth. 

 

 

The world says not enough. He says I have plans that only you were created to accomplish, You are my masterpiece. 

 

The world says invisible. He says I see you I know you I love you beyond anything you can imagine.

 

 

 What the world says vs. What God says | Me, Coffee & Jesus

 

So girls, this week I don’t know if this message is for you or me. I do know that we both probably need it. I need it because I’m walking into a time of holy ground, full of faith in the Lords plan. The enemy doesn’t like that so he will send plenty of doubts and attacks my way. You may need it because you are knee deep in dirty diapers and you haven’t showered in two and a half days and haven’t talked to someone over the age of 5 in a week. You feel beyond unnoticed, you feel lost to who you are and who you want to be. Well, dear sister you aren’t not invisible to me or our sweet and loving Lord.

 

Maybe you are sitting behind your computer feeling that you are in a season without friends or someone who “gets” you. Well lovely lady, the Lord of the universe “gets” you and longs for you. He knows the doubts and insecurities of your heart when no one else does. He longs to hear them and walk with you through them.

 

I pray this week and until I write to you again that you will only hear the voice of the Lord, speaking words of love and encouragement over you.

 

featured on #wordswithwinter link up

 

 

This week amazing ladies to be featured are Jenessa of Mothering in Real Life. Her post written about the her trip to the grocery store and being impacted by the mom who seemed to have it all together ahead of her in line. I so related to this post because I’m usually the mom feeling like a hot mess, this is wonderful reminder that you never know who is watching and who will be impacted.

 

I’m also featuring Cynthia of My Rose Colored Shades her post on giving the Lord of our first fruits was convicting to my spirit. Her reminders of time with God first, eliminates the chance of Him getting our leftovers or nothing at all.

 

My last feature really struck home because it is where I find myself. Unsure of being completely authentic because there is fear of what people may think, yet realizing that it’s ALL about HIM and His glory. You really must take a moment to read Caroline of In Due Time’s post.

 

You can find me on these lovely blogs each week! 

 

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Grafted to Jesus +Words With Winter Link Up

This week I was studying Colossians and a verse in chapter 2 lead me back to a passage of scripture in John. Chapter 15 starts out with Jesus telling us He is the true grapevine and his Father is the gardener. I attended a youth leader conference a few years ago that had a workshop based on these verses in John 15, while there the leader of this workshop showed a video of how gardeners graft plants together. It was such an amazing video to watch and think about in the context of our lives being grafted on to Jesus.

 

This is what Jesus is talking about. He doesn’t say WE are the grapevine, we are only the branches. We have been grafted on to Him by the Gardener.

berries

A gardener doesn’t just take a piece of a branch and tape it to a vine. Oh, no my friends, it is way more complex than that!  I would not refer to myself as a green thumb so I had no idea of this amazing process. The gardener must first prepare the vine or root stock that the “transplant” is being grafted to. The root stock is cut down to just the base and the bark is taken off and the grapevine is cut in a deep V pattern so the the new branch can be grafted on. The newly grafted branch is taped onto the vine.

 

Umm, does this sound familiar to anyone else? Jesus was stripped, cut and bleeding for me. Because of His willingness to suffer I was able to be grafted on to Him, so that I might produce fruit.

 

Jesus says in verse 5 that “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers.”

 

 

fruit

 

So this tells us we have a choice we can chose to remain in Him and produce fruit. The other option would be to not remain in Him and the result will be to suffer being thrown out. Yes that sounds harsh, until you think of the reward of option one.

 

Because He says in verse 9: “if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples.”

 

 

Wow, I think option one sounds great but what does that look like lived out? What does it take to bear fruit? And what does it mean when Jesus says in verse 2 “he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more”?

 

So what does it look like to bear fruit as a branch on the grapevine of Jesus? I believe spiritual fruit is obtained when we become more and more like Jesus. That’s what happens when that grafted transplant grows deeper and deeper into the vine, it is still itself but it becomes more and more like the vine. When we long to live like Jesus more than how the world does, that is spiritual fruit. When we show kindness and patience to those who aren’t easy to love, that is spiritual fruit. When we show joy in times of trials, that is spiritual fruit.

 

So the next time your toddler is coloring on the wall with your favorite lipstick, respond with patience drawing deeply from the Vine. When your spouse comes home and has forgotten to pick up the 3 dozen cupcakes you need for the school bake sale respond with kindness that only comes from being tapped into the Vine. This is what bearing fruit lived out can look like.

 

When verse 2 talks about pruning the fruit bearing branches, I get a little squirmy. This is because, although I’m trying to be the best fruit bearing branch I can be, I still think pruning sounds painful.

 

Wikipedia says the purpose of pruning is: “shaping (by controlling or directing growth), improving or maintaining health, reducing risk from falling branches, and both harvesting and increasing the yield or quality of fruits. The practice entails targeted removal of diseased, damaged, dead, non-productive, structurally unsound, or otherwise unwanted tissue from plants.”

 

This definition when applied to my life does sound like it is good for my overall growth and fruit bearing…still painful, but very needed.

 

What is God pruning in your life? He has definitely been shaping me lately. I read back through an old journal recently and for over a year I was asking the same question of the Lord essentially. Of what should I do about this situation, I didn’t like the situation, but I was stuck. Stuck so deeply that it got painful when the Lord got the pruning shears out and got to work. That pain made me move from my stuck situation, and fruit has begun to grow again.

 

So sisters, I pray that you will root yourself deeper into the Lord if that is where you are at.

 

Cling to what Colossians 2:7 says: “Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”

 

rooted

Or, if you are like me and are in a season of pruning, I pray that you will let the Gardener do the work necessary for you to become more fruitful.

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