Thursday, September 22, 2011

Branches & Vines

This past weekend I did a lot of cleaning.  Inside my house as well as some inside my soul.  While emptying out a book closet, I came across an old journal that my great grandmother had written, telling a bit of her story of marriage, grief, hardships & the faithfulness of God throughout each moment.  It was a precious reminder of how the Lord is faithful throughout the generations.  How blessed I felt to know that He was working so many years ago, while forming the foundation that I would grow into through this family.

On Sunday, I visited the church that I had read about in her writing, that my family had been diligent to help begin.  The worship felt new this time.  Knowing a part of the history of how these settlers, new & shocked by the un-true tellings of the reality that would face them on the land that awaited them.  Their hearts were on giving the next generation a hope & future....even if that meant really hard work & struggles.  Even if that meant starting your own church because faith in God was that important.  Even if that meant losing many dreams you had for yourself so that dreams your children dreamt could come true.

At the church though, the sermon was about the Vine & Branches section of John 15.  I normally really appreciate this verse, but as I had been going through a lot of things that were left after my mother passed away, I was saddened because it was like....well, I understand that God would cut off branches that weren't producing fruit, but what about those that WERE producing fruit?  Why would he cut those off early?  Thankfully, when these thoughts were mumbling through my little brain, they were caught by the next phrase the pastor spoke....about God pruning the branches that were producing fruit because by doing that sometimes the fruit other branches produce will grow larger & that the quality of the fruit might become better.

This made me wonder about my life right now, and those lives of my siblings & friends.  People who we've known, outstanding characters & faithful to the Lord, those people who were cut off from life seemingly too early to understand.  It hurt, and still does many days, but it seems like this verse would flow with this course of pruning.  Somethings that I've done this year, never would have been done had my mother been around.  Other things I've seen my friends/siblings do would never have happened if their friends or family had been doesn't make it feel better that they're not here to see these amazing things forming in us, but knowing that somehow their leaving earth spurred a new life inside of us is inspiring.

I don't know what my whole thought here really comes to, but maybe just knowing that God prunes fruitful branches sometimes to bear bigger fruits on the branches that are left, makes me wonder....what kind of fruit does he see as possible out of our lives?  What will be coming through the pruning?  It doesn't always feel good to be pruned, but then again who are we as branches to tell the Gardener which branches He should prune?  He knows best, for "...He who promised is faithful." (Romans 10:23)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Parties & Prayer

Last night, I stood still, amidst hundreds of students all proclaiming their praise & confession to the Lord.  We prayed for those who are lost, seeking & struggling.  For those who do not yet know Truth.  Outside the building where we gathered, a deep pounding surged through to our ears, just across the street were parties, with probably the same amount of students, but not gathered for the same purpose.  They were there, doing whatever felt right to satisfy them for the moment.  But at the end of the night, where would they end up?  I met a few who wandered through our doors after the evening had ended.  They were looking for didn't matter what, they just wanted to be a part of something.  While talking with them, my heart ached for them to be a part of our family...of God's family.  If only they could understand that they mattered, that God loved them, that we loved them, and that there was purpose for their life.

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)

The seeking, searching, aching and dizzying path of these students compels me to pray that someday soon they can understand fully the grace of God that has been extended towards them, and that there is a way of peace & joy, found only in the Lord.  Will you join me in this prayer?