Jesus Is A Gardener Too

I struggle with losing people. My biggest fear has always been to lose people that I love. I lost someone this year and I’m not going to lie– it’s been one of the most difficult experiences I have had to deal with.

I have been having to adjust to my life without their presence. It has not been an easy process, but it has been a learning process and a growth process.

Last night in Bible study we talked about John 15. Throughout our life, Jesus prunes us so that we can be more fruitful. Pruning can mean different things for different people; it can mean removing people from your life, places, etc. These people and places can be wonderful and awesome, but they just don’t belong in your life anymore.

My teacher’s husband gave us an example of how Jesus pruned him for his future. When he was younger, before he met his wife, he was engaged to another woman. She was a great woman, Christian, everything he wanted, but he just felt like he needed to ask God if this was right for him. He prayed about it and God gave him a sign that said it wasn’t right so he ended the relationship. He said it was one of the hardest decisions he had to make but if he hadn’t made it he wouldn’t be with his wife now (they’ve been together for about 30 years). And even after he made the decision, he still went through a difficult time. Still, he put his trust in the Lord and God directed him to his wife.

When I heard last night’s message, I knew it was for me. Looking back, I remember sitting there when it felt like everything was falling apart and my world was crashing down around me and every fiber of my being was wanting to fight for what I thought I needed– what I believed to be right for me. However in the midst of everything, this phrase ran through my mind, “Do not fight it.” And so I didn’t. I did say a few words in disagreement, but I didn’t fight what was happening. I just let it happen. I wanted to fight it more than anything in the world. I wanted to beg and plead and just show that I didn’t want this to happen– but I couldn’t. That phrase held me back from doing what every part of me wanted to do.

Do you know what that was? It was the Holy Spirit. I remember that feeling and I thought it was just me being in shock or whatnot. A lot of times we don’t recognize the Holy Spirit; we think that hearing God’s voice means we’re going to hear a booming voice speaking directly to us, but it’s not necessarily so. It can be a small whisper telling you something different than everything you’re feeling. A glimmer of hope or trust or wisdom.

If God is pruning you, you have to allow it. If you don’t allow it, you’re only going to make the process harder. If you sit and embrace it, it will make the experience much easier for you and help bring in the fruit bearing season.

John 15 gives me hope. If God is taking someone or something out of your life, He is doing it because He is going to replace it with what you truly need– what He has in store for you.

With love and grace, embrace your pruning.

Your Ministry

I never realized that I could minister to others through my own experiences. I always thought of someone who “ministers” as a preacher or pastor. I didn’t realize that I– little imperfect me— could also minister. In Bible study, however, I have come to discover that yes, I can do just that.

We all have ministries of our own, we may not know it. Our experiences, our trials, what we overcome, can allow us to help someone else who is experiencing similar issues. As you go through life, you will discover your ministry. You may have several different ones, or one huge one.

Twice in the past two months I have been able to minister to people. People that reached out to me, unprompted and a bit surprising; I was able to help them. Had I not just been through a similar experience, I wouldn’t have had the words to say to encourage them. It was during those moments that I felt more aligned with God than I had before. Even in the pain, I felt joy inside of me. It was affirmation for me! I was able to comfort another using what I had learned through the Word. (I was so excited I just wanted to run and tell everybody!)

Trials are not fun experiences. Yet, they do something amazing– they allow you to become the person that God created you to be. They help you witness to others the glory and grace of God. They help you lead others closer to Him. (Matthew 5:13 – 16) You just have to allow them– you have to be willing to grow. 

With love and grace, enjoy your weekend.

Healing

Each day I ask God to heal my heart, soul, body and mind.

This past month or so has not been an easy one for me. I’ve had a great deal of heartache, confusion, and endless questions that I’m too afraid to ask. I’ve been working on growing through what I’m going through.

Some days are easier than others. I’ve been listening to worship music each morning, and periodically throughout my day when I’m feeling a bit low. I’ve been reading several devotionals and have also started a book that I should have started months ago. I’m working on renewing my mind to be more Christ-centered and less self-centered.

As I stated, I’ve been asking God for His healing. I’ve been told that healing is yours if you take it. It’s a decision. By this, I don’t mean you decide one day, “I’m healed” and never have trouble again– you do. But each time that feeling or thought pops in your mind, you have to cast it back into the sea.

In the beginning, I wanted to complain and I did. “Why did this happen to me? Where did I go wrong?” Yet, we should not complain. (Philippians 2:14 – 16) We know not what He is doing for us.

God delivered His people from the slavery in Egypt and was bringing them to the Promised Land, but do you know what they did? They complained. He was working wonders for them– yet they complained. And they didn’t get to see the Promised Land.

God has done so much for us and is doing for us and will do for us. We may not see it, but we have to trust and know that He is God. Appreciate how God has blessed you, despite your heartaches.

What if your blessings come through raindrops? What if Your healing comes through tears? What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near? What if the trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?”

You can complain or you can pray, but you cannot do both. 

With love and grace, be blessed.

Understanding God’s Ways

Understanding– that’s a phrase we seem to have trouble with more often than not. I know that I struggle to understand many things. Life is not clear cut; if you use the Bible as your instruction manual, it can be way easier. Yet, we seem to get caught up in our human lives and stuck inside our human minds, unable to step away and take a different look at the situation. We have to do that, otherwise we won’t overcome our trials. If you’re trying to make it through a difficult time or experience without God– you’re going to fail.

Simon Peter knew this. When Jesus told him to put the net into the water, after they had repeatedly done so, Simon did just that. “Because you say so, I will.” (Luke 5:5 NIV)
God tests your faith. When nothing you’ve tried has worked, when you’ve exhausted all your options, maybe it’s time to stop and ask God what He would do. You have to be willing to listen– it is your choice to listen to the right voice. You will know which one is right based on what you’re told. God would only ask you to do something good– never anything bad.

If you use the story (Luke 5:1 – 11), you can see that God works in three main ways.

  1. He uses the common for the uncommon. (Look for Him in your day-to-day lives and you will notice His works.)
  2. He will move you out of the security (shallows) to the risks (deep). The blessings and the trials are both part of the same “sea” of life. You can’t have one without the other.
  3. He allows you to go through one experience to teach you another. Those men became “fishers” of men.

Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” We have to put God first in all aspects of life. We have to seek Him; read and study the Word. God loves us; He has promised to supply all our needs, He cares about every individual concern of ours.

I know it can be hard to understand what is happening or why it is happening, but I have been leaning on the belief and knowledge that God has everything planned out for me. As confusing and painful as my experience may be, I know inside that God is doing what is best for me. (Romans 8:28 NIV)

With love and grace, have a good day lovelies.