Don't get me wrong, we LOVE our house. God has blessed us beyond measure. He chose this home for us for this time, no doubt about it.
Since spring has finally arrived we have been able to find out what kind of botanical treasures are growing in the yard. As the green nubbins have emerged from the bony branches and the verdant tubers pushed through the grass we've waited to see what they'll be when they bloom. What have we discovered so far? rhubarb (one of my favorites), peonies, tulips and my number one favorite flower....lilacs!! Our yard is bursting forth with all kinds of color and fragrances, mostly.
I say mostly because there is this area of our yard that I am pretty sure that Briar Rabbit and his kin dwell. As the weather has warmed up I have started to work on cleaning up, I've dreaded that viney mess. Yesterday I couldn't put it off any longer. Something had to be done. It would seem that this jumble of vines are grape vines....old ones.
Now I have studied and been taught about the passages in Scriptures about the vines. John 15 comes to mind most clearly. I have always thought about that passage from the perspective of the branches that are being pruned. I have prayed that God would prune away those branches that keep from being abundantly fruitful. I learned somethings from the vines yesterday.
First, vines are stubborn. They go where they want to go without care or concern that where they are headed are ugly and dangerous. They have these tiny little tendrils that wrap themselves around anything: dead branches, weeds, other plants. There were so tightly holding on to the junk that had to go I had to really cut them up to get them freed. I firmly but gently pushed the vines into the position they needed to be in so that they would support each other rather than weigh each other down.
I learned that living and fruitful vines come from what looks like dead vines. It made me think of those that are struggling with the past. People who are breaking the patterns of sin that have enslaved generations before them. People who are learning to trust in a God who has been invisible to them and there families for ages. The hope that while we may experience the pain of a sinful legacy, we have a God who delights in a personal relationship and seeks to help us grow even in the face of the impossible.
There were tons of observations that I made about the vines. Vines and sheep are pretty similar. But the biggest lesson I learned from the vines...the perspective I had never considered much before? The gardner. Pruning those vines was not easy. The Gardner experiences pain in the process. I had always pictured God lovingly snipping out the parts of my life that needed to be removed so that I might be fruitful. Imagine the gardeners at Disney that sculpt foliage into characters and whimsy. But after my own experience that picture has changed. He is still the loving gardner but His body is bruised and cut in the process of making me fruitful. He is in the jumble with me. I had to stand inside the vines to really know what had to go and what had to stay. He lovingly, with great passion and sacrifice prunes my character to become fruitful.
I know this was a long post today. I have a great deal to think about this....I'm sure there is more to consider. What have you learned from the vines? What is God cutting or cultivating in your character?