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.
There in the most unlikely of places.
The Vine and the fruit in the 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.
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.
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
And so in the broken silence, I write
This week, we're sharing our moments at Jade's