“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 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, and I will 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.” John 15:1-4
These and other verses from John 15 have been running through me in these weeks of preparing for our Jubilee Women’s Conference. On Tuesday of this week leading up to conference, I went to the grandgirls home as I do every school day to get them off to school. I stepped into a dark living room with the television on. Amity sat in the lounge chair and didn’t acknowledge my arrival even with her eyes. The morning devolved from
I came home in distress over our interactions and lack of interactions. I felt concern for Amity and uncertainty about what was happening inside of her. So many things are coming at her at once – losing her Mom, leaving a community she felt at home in and in which she had many and great friends, losing her Grandma to some weird, new helper role that includes some discipline aspects, and her own rising adolescence. She has a LOT going on and hasn’t found a voice to articulate the impact on her life.
I sat in tears that morning asking the Lord to show me Amity’s heart and to teach me how to help. After being quiet before the Lord for a time I went to a Bible study I was preparing for later this week. And then the Lord spoke with incredible power. Through His Word He told me in no uncertain terms to get the plank out of my own eye before I tried to help Amity. He revealed in me a need to be affirmed and loved by the grandgirls that thwarted my ability to be a help to them. He revealed pride of self sacrifice that expressed itself in self pity. The living Word of God schooled me and pruned me and opened my life so that His power can flow through me.
Since that morning of sitting in the spotlight of the Word some of the morning interactions have been better, but regardless of what comes from the grandgirls, what is coming from my lips and heart is love looking to be and do what is best for them. I’m expectantly asking for healing and spiritual life and abundant fruit in their lives and trusting that this will be given them to the Father’s glory.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” John 15:5-8