Long time no type :) hi.
It hasn’t been an easy season — and season is the perfect word. It has been plain winter. I haven’t felt close to the Father, haven’t seen many answered prayers, and haven’t been able to feel my life moving or circumstances changing… but the Lord has been sweet to whisper to me in plant analogies.
First with John 15:
I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a so that it will be even more fruitful.
This one goes all the way back to this past summer, in a double guest bed of a host home in Santa Cruz, California. In one of the most stripped chapters of my life: no home, no family, no familiarity… I was starting back at square one with Jesus and taking it to the Gospels.
I can see so clearly now the refinement God was doing; the deep construction work on my heart. Wrecking walls I’d made and thrones I’d erected + put idols on, tearing up the foundation and pouring a new, solid one… and Jesus told me, “He cuts offevery branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”
In that guest bedroom I was just beginning to see the pruning, snipping, and weed pulling God was doing in my life. Since then He’s revealed more and more of His character to me and I’ve started to see His jealousy. –How His biggest wish is for my worship. How of course He’d take away things I love more than Him. How He’s never going to freely give me anything I want more than I want Him.
In November I wrote this: “The Lord has been stripping me. For months now. Taking things away. Slowly, painfully. One by one. Teaching me a hard lesson and then another. Pushing me to discomfort and more reliance and then further again. Testing me, solidifying me… And just when I shed off a layer of that old self, God calls for another. I am merely skin and bones at this point but I have never been more obedient in my life, never been more at peace.”
He has ripped my sin up by the roots — and don’t get me wrong, I’ve let new ones sprout. But the truth remains that He is making me into something new entirely; something unrecognizable to my old flesh.
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19
Hallelujah, am I right? Sometimes I forget to read these words as irrefutably true. The God of the freaking universe takes enough consideration for my little life to remove from me things that aren’t good and change me for the better. He isn’t satisfied leaving me at well enough. He doesn’t stop or get bored in the middle of my life when I mess up yet again – and one more, He isn’t surprised by it. He chases after me with unrelenting grace, with an unchanging mission to win my soul for Himself, no matter how adamant I am to do it my own way.
So I’ll say it again, hallelujah.
Blessed is the one… 2 whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. 3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers. Psalm 1
This has been another theme word of mine: delight.
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
Did you know the Bible says God delights in us? I didn’t. And what a novel idea. I’ll say it again: the FREAKING GOD OF EVERYTHING KNOWN AND UNKNOWN TO MAN — from every one of Saturn’s moons to the molecular structure of our very DNA — (Do you see how big our God is? Does it make your head hurt trying to fathom it??) He made everything we’ve discovered and more that we probably never will, yet He chooses us to sing over.
The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. Zephaniah 3:17
Another translation says, “He will take great delight in you.” That’s crazy to me.
When I was younger I’d say that around my Grammie: “That’s crazy.” And she really didn’t like it. “It’s not crazy. It’s true! That’s God’s love for us.” And I don’t think she really understood what I was getting at — that it makes absolutely no sense. I was never saying I couldn’t believe it or I didn’t accept it. I was merely pointing out the fact that if people spit in my face and put me up on a cross I would never save them. -That that’s crazy love.
He hung up on a cross that people He stitched together created for Him. He watched as mouths He made mocked Him. He died a sinners death and had me and you in mind.
Is it not the craziest story you’ve ever heard?!?!
And that’s just it. It is. There’s no work of fiction on this planet that rivals this epic romance, yet it’s true. I never want to grow numb to the insanity of the Gospel. What freaking good, crazy news. And once you believe it you cannot walk away the same.
A really wise friend of mine called me recently and talked to me about Jacob wrestling with God in Genesis. God hurts Jacobs hip so that he walks away from the fight with a limp. He also gives Jacob a new name: Israel. She said, “This tells me two things. That when you wrestle with God face to face you will never walk the same and that He will give you a new name.”
Jesus changes everything. He changes me. Into a brand new creation.
I told my wise friend about all this plant talk going on in my heart and she brought up Isaiah 58:11.
The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
And this brought up discussion of the garden.
Starting with the garden of Eden, to the garden of Gethsemane in Jesus’s last moments, to his burial in the garden tomb.
The movie “The Secret Garden” where all of the magic happens behind the vinery walls.
Heck, six months ago I typed an Instagram post saying,”[I’m] reminding myself to trust the mighty artist and that this is just a season. and it is. but i’m starting to think it’s a longer one than i originally planned. my god is proving himself to be less of a pretty painter and more of a gardener. — and not one who just plants flowers and beautifies my imperfections, but one who rips my sin up by the roots. he’s been cleaning house, stripping me, pruning my dead branches and cultivating me like a precious garden. and it hurts and it’s lonely but that’s okay because i think i need this to get to the place i’m going. and i have a feeling that my springtime is coming. where i blossom and bloom and flourish + i’ll have rich companionship sprout up alongside me. but for now i’m just thankful to sit at his feet and be worked on in the garden. no matter how long that takes.”
It’s been such a recurring theme for me. All the important, pivotal, magical moments happen in the garden. And yeah I’ve been here even longer than six-month-ago-me pictured, but what a beautiful place to sit?
He’s building my faith. Remember that delight I talked about? That pruning He’s done? I think He’s sealing it.
One last quote from my (very) wise friend; she said something about herself that applies so much to me. “It’s been the most stripped season of my life but I think these are the days I’m going to look back on and say they made me who I am.”
I think I’m just being replanted. Taken care of and being delighted in by the Master Gardener. Pruned and corrected. Given light and truth and water from the never ending, everlasting well. Growing. Bearing fruit.
And in the slowness that comes with gardening, it’s been easy for me to mistake it as stagnance. I’ve become restless. Eager again to take up the control and dig myself into a hole trying to make anything change.
But today I re-realized He is a God of allowing the world to disappoint us. Again and again. Continually. So that just maybe, in our stubborn humanity, we will finally engrain the lesson that He is the only one who satisfies.
Oh yeah, and He doesn’t work on our timeline.
Hillsong says it best when they sing, “Oh how nature acquaints us with the nature of patience.”
He is jealous for me. And frankly, mine has not been an easy heart to capture. How crazy of me to grow frustrated with God in taking too long at conquering allll of the rebel powers in my heart?? No really, who do I think I am? Am I so human, so flawed, so needy of the world’s attention that I cannot simply sit at His feet and allow Him to take His time on me?
He hasn’t changed. His mission is chief: to win my heart in its entirety. And just because He isn’t finishing on my imagined deadlines, it doesn’t mean I can forfeit the truths He has told me. — “Your promise is loyal from seed to sequoia.”
This has been a long, cold, and I’ll say it, bitter winter. BUT it follows that the more time He spends cultivating me in our secret place, in the garden, the more brilliant I will eventually be. — “Though the winter is long, even richer, the harvest it brings. Though my waiting prolongs, even greater Your promise for me like a seed.”
I’m trusting the sole One worthy of it. I know His heart for me. Even if I can’t see it. Even if I don’t overwhelmingly feel it. — “I believe in my season to come.”
So I’m using my own words against my doubt: “for now i’m just thankful to sit at his feet and be worked on in the garden. no matter how long that takes.”
**Amendment: really Lord, however long You take. — “If all I know of harvest is that it’s worth my patience, then if You’re not done working, God I’m not done waiting.”
And I will delight in the freaking wait. I will wake up and remember every day what a treasure it is to be molded into something resembling Your image; that You choose me. I am growing more and more into the woman who wants not a single thing more than You. I haven’t seen drastic, constant life movements, but if I look back my heart is reconstructed. This season is purposeful. Paramount, even. You are faithful. I know that, and I will wait.