Thursday, July 5, 2012

Everyday Life: Twice

Twice.

I've stumbled twice now unexpectedly into grapevines during the past week.

Which wouldn't mean anything normally except for that this summer it sort of means everything.

Right before the beginning of the year, I landed in the text of John 15, and I just could not get away from it, both literally and mentally.

That text -- it's such a word picture painted so vividly about how we must abide in the vine if we are to bear good fruit.

And it kept following me -- this call to abide in the true Vine in the garden with the Gardener -- in devotions, in the church pew, in others' blog posts, in conversation.

And then one day this spring as I was working on a book about being fruitful and bearing ripe fruit and being kind to ourselves I heard a loud whisper redirecting.

All this talk about fruit, but how does fruit even grow?

In the garden, abiding in the Vine.

We are to live The Vine Life


And so The Vine Life was born.

The first chapters came easily, but since their completion it's been hard-coming in ways that writing normally isn't for me. There's been this stretching and this twisting and this growing and this journeying in the writing of this book that's left me ... tired. Tired and wondering exactly where to go next.

So tired and so wondering that about two weeks ago I put it aside, tabled it so I could pray, clear my head, refocus.

We took a daytrip last weekend to visit my uncle in Chicago; while the boys watched Star Wars on his big pull-down movie screen, I sneaked off to the back porch to sit beneath sun.

And there in the middle of alive and vibrant Chicago just outside the back door of my uncle's second-story flat there were these vines sprawling out across the wooden deck, thick and deep, luscious green bearing growing grapes.

There. In Chicago -- in the thickness of city hustle and busy and concrete a small garden sprawling across the deck, bearing fruit.

Vine city

There in the most unlikely of places.

The Vine and the fruit in the city.

Vibe city

I meditated all week long on the Vine and the grapes and the fresh greenness wondering if it was divine inspiration to keep writing ... but I didn't pen another a word, still vying for clarity on the next chapters. 

Sunday afternoon we visited the Chicago Botanic Garden to rest and remember His goodness and provision during our Sabbath rest, and we veered casually into the vegetable garden.

Again, I came face to face with more grapevines spread out across the overhead trellises we'd meandered into.

Vine garden sprawling

The boys wandered off down the path and John followed after he noticed I was totally transfixed. I stood  there lost in more God-whispers beneath the sprawling vines marveling at their beauty, their strength, their vigor and their shear abundance.

Vine garden


And in the stillness of a late Sunday afternoon in the home stretch of June, I stopped wondering.


I abandoned thoughts about perfect order of chapters and which stories to share


and gazed incredulously at the answer He'd given me not just once


but twice: 

The Vine.


And so in the broken silence, I write


I abide. 


Simple BPM


This week, we're sharing our moments at Jade's

29 comments:

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    1. I couldn't even go into our time together ... too full. <3

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  2. I love the many way's God speaks to our hearts. Out of abiding in the vine comes fruit…much to ponder in that!

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    1. Oh, Jenn, there is so much that hinges on the word abide. It is so much to ponder!

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  3. I love how He persisted to show you guidance. A beautiful story you are sharing with us *as* you are writing your story. It's like we get a double dose. :)

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    1. I hope the second portion is as well received! Thanks for the love, Robin.

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  4. Oh Hy... I love how when He has a plan for us, he doesn't let go. I think the only thing that would have been more obvious was if one of those vines actually came out and knocked you on the head :) I love how He works.
    {has the fact that you married a "john" ever come up? I think that's fascinating, and so appropriate ;)}

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    1. HA! Yes. I think they actually did knock me over the head. And the name John -- yes. Over and over and over. It's like HE's been trying to tell me something for a LONG time. :-)

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  5. I'm not sure how to explain this in a comment, but I wanted to let you know that this message was so helpful I fell like God directed me right to it.

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    1. YOu cannot explain the Holy Spirit. He is what He is. So glad these words He laid on my heart spoke to you, Mary.

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  6. My first take away here is the putting down, the stepping away. It seems that as you let go God had the room to move right in and do His thing. That's often so hard for me...I tend to want to 'white knuckle' it and naturally feel it's somehow more noble to push through and soldier on. So that speaks volumes to me. And it's so faith building to hear/see God speaking to you! And I've already told you I'm obsessed with vines!

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    1. I want to hear more about your obsession with the vines, Adrienne. You probably need to fly in the weekend of Sept. 22. For reals, friend.

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  7. A college professor once got onto me about my feeling that what I was trying to write was too hard. It usually came so easy to me -- shouldn't it be simple to write, if it's what I'm meant to do?

    He said that if it's easy, you're not doing it right. I think these vines are your proof that you're meant to be on this track, writing even if it's terribly difficult and harder than anything you've had to write before. I also think you've GOT this :)

    As my dad says, just think how good you'll feel when it stops hurting! Well, in this case, just think how good you'll feel when you've completed the job :)

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    1. I love your dad's advice, Sarah ... I'm just whiny while in pain sometimes! Thanks for the encouragement, lovely.

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  8. this makes me smile WIDE. love you, friend. you and your life-giving words.

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    1. For as many times as your words have breathed air into my lungs, Suzannah, I'm glad to repay a bit through His leading.

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  9. I think there is a place in all books where the author must have an identity crisis of sorts and step back and recall what it is they're actually trying to say. To remember the bigger picture and see the whole more clearly before delving back into the minutiae. It's a place of listening, rather than speaking. It's whispers in the heart, not words on the page. I'm glad you took the time to step back and listen, and I'm glad you found your way back to the Vine.

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    1. Oh, I'm so glad you mentioned that identityish crisis, Jade, because that's EXACTLY what it felt like. And then the vines ... I think that was God telling me to get myself out of the way and focus on what's really important here. thanks for this comment; I sat in it for awhile and needed it.

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  10. Chills! I love when God speaks.

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    1. And so audibly. May I always be so fortunate. We *we* always be so fortunate.

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  11. Oh, so, so good. I love when He meets us right where we are.

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    1. And when He meets us right where we are when we haven't a clue of where we are. :)

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    2. YES! He always knows me better than I do! And I love that!

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  12. Oh yes!!! I love it when this happens and I'm glad you found your voice again. :-)

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  13. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will[b] ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples."

    love this!!!! just had to go look up the scripture ;) thank you for sharing!

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    1. With absolute pleasure, Kelli! I love this verse!

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There's nothing better than good conversation ... but not while talking to myself. Will you play a part in this discussion?

AND will you pretty please have your email linked to your account or leave it for me so I can respond?

Thanks for taking the time to make these thoughts into conversation.

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