My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.

Pruning…

Not like your fingers when you wash dishes.

Like pruning plants, pruning.

I just find so much satisfaction in this word. Because God tells us this:

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:1-3

God will mold and shape us when we remain in, abide, or dwell with Him. He cuts off the parts of us that are not good, that He wants gone so that we will be more fruitful in life.

“But, cutting off doesn’t sound very pleasant. TBH, it sounds more sad, painful and like something I really do not want to be a part of.” But hang with me for a minute.

This past summer, God did a LOT of pruning in my life. I felt so alone. I really just worked, went to class and to church. I thought church would be a safe place… but half the time, I did not even feel comfortable because my friends at home were not really being friends at the time. (Thank God for repaired relationships and examples of how to forgive)

My dad was adjusting to his new job because he had lost the one previous to that. So. Scary.

My family also had to move homes… talk about an emotional roller coaster. I would drive by our old home and cry while listening to “The House that Built Me” by Miranda Lambert because my dogs really are buried in the yard and I really did learn to play guitar upstairs in my bedroom. I was selfish and upset that the new house did not have a room for me (so my fantastic parents had a wall built to make me a room), we have no pool or spacious backyard anymore, and other very materialistic things I had grown accustomed to having are absent from this home. (I like having a smaller home, though. Less to clean, and our family is a lot closer because of it).

Moving made me exhausted
Tuckered out. Moving made me exhausted

It was also the longest period of time I had been away from my great friends in college. Then, when I finally got back to college, I thought for sure I would catch a break from this desert I had found myself in… haha.. hah! I was wrong. I experienced losing my car (due to {expensive} electrical problems and a minor accident) for an extended period of time and losing my church here at college (due to some major division).

WHYYYY?! I did not understand at the time why God had me enduring all of this stuff.

He was pruning.

Cool thing, though, is that at Passion conference 2015 (a HUGE gathering of college students united for Jesus) my community group leader taught us that in Greek the word “prunes” in John 15 literally means cleans or to lift up.

TO LIFT UP?! Wait, what? Pruning is like cutting stuff down, but God is telling me that it means to lift up?!

Light bulb. All of these things happen so that I will learn to remain in Him and therefore bear much fruit.

I have recently watched my roommate go through a pruning process. Poor thing has had two infections from wisdom teeth, lost her dog, lost her grandmother, her car got hit, Enterprise wanted to charge her $500 for the (nonexistent) damage on the rental car, and she has experienced some kind of ear problem.

I cannot even say all of that stuff in one breath. Side note: I have also watched another dear friend here at college struggle with many tough unspoken circumstances in her life.

My roommate came into my room tonight explaining a situation that just really made her heart happy. So much so, that  it compelled her to tears (this girl does not normally get moved to tears over things). Her heart has not been happy in a long time. But this particular situation was something she would have never thought possible. It would not have been possible had all of the other stuff not happened. God is SO GOOD.  She looks back on the past two months of small train wrecks and just thanks God because He knows that she would have prayed for every one of those unfortunate events to happen had she known the end result. Going through it sucked, but God is going to do some AWESOME things in her life through everything He has taught her.

If you feel as if the life is getting sucked out of you, like you’re in a pit, or that the bad days don’t have an end… hang in there, take joy in the fact that God is pruning.

He is lifting you up.

Grenada. Love this picture because it shows beauty in brokenness.
Grenada. Love this picture because it shows beauty in brokenness.
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Livin’ the dream.

A lot of friends read my first post and told me they really enjoyed it. Thank you for the encouragement to keep writing!

This morning, (well, yesterday morning, because I am writing this past midnight… it’s not unusual for me to be up so late) I had what a lot of people would consider a bad morning.

  1. I woke up later than I would have liked to.
  2. I spilled a good amount of OJ while pouring myself a glass to get my vitamin C in for the day. (I have to boost my immune system, because there is some nasty cold/sickness/flu thing going around and I want no part of it)
  3. When I got in the shower, I realized my new body wash was in my bathroom drawer. So, soaking wet, I stepped out of my shower (avoiding my pile of dirty clothes… which my mom would be somewhat upset at me for) to get the soap. Then, I got back into the shower, to almost use it as shampoo. I saved myself… wiped the body wash on my loofah and saved it for later. Later, meaning, for when I conditioned my hair. (I soap up while my hair conditions… shower routines are no joke)
  4. I was also having a weird outfit day. I had to change my shirt twice. I was also not too crazy about the only clean pair of appropriate denim pants that I wore today. But I was in a rush, so I had little time to explore other options. I was in a rush because I had this gut feeling that parking would be terrible. My roommate reassured me before she left that I would be okay if I used our regular parking garage. Then, she texted me when she got there to let me know that it was actually pretty full. In a panic, I decided not to make oatmeal and grab a protein bar instead. I was out the door by 11:09 AM. My class didn’t start until 12:30 PM.
  5. I was low on gas. I checked one parking garage… and another… and another (driving to the top of each one, and back down). Checked my gas again… then started praying I would have enough to just find a spot. I checked three lots, maybe glanced at another. Still nothing. Checked the time… 11:45 AM. Made a terrified face. Checked my gas… nearing the E. I told myself that if I ran out of gas, I would e-mail my lab TA and plead not to be kicked out for not showing up on the first day…and then declare January 13th, 2015 as the worst day of the year so far. Then, I checked what felt like my only other option… Spirit Way Garage (which is on the opposite side of campus of where my classes were that day). I pulled in the garage to find about 10 other cars circling around for spots, too.

BUT, God must have heard my prayer. I saw a girl on the second floor walking to her car to leave. I followed her, she pulled out, and I exclaimed “Thank you, Jesus!” for this spot because it was 11:50 PM now and I NEEDED to get to my very first Anatomy and Physiology II Lab early.

I sat in my car to take a deep breath and decided that my blog today would most likely be about silver linings because of my incessant positive thoughts that kept me sane.

The (slightly forced) thoughts running through my mind this morning as this “bad day” unfolded:

  1. I got extra rest that others would have killed for.
  2. I am so fortunate to have OJ to drink in my fridge.
  3. Not everyone is able to even take a shower every day.
  4. I am fortunate to have a closet FULL of clothes (cute ones, if I do say so myself).
  5. It is a blessing to have food to eat every day.
  6. Parking (if you leave your house anytime between 10:30 AM and 1 PM) SUCKS. But, at least I know that now and I DO have a car to drive (with just enough gas in the tank).
  7. Spirit Way Garage makes for a far walk (especially in the cold morning mist), but it’s good exercise and it’s not freezing temperatures. I’m grateful because I can walk and I am not handicapped… even though I longed for those handicapped parking spots.
  8. I am privileged to get an incredible education at a wonderful university.

Quotes to ponder on:

“Joy is not dependent upon situations or things. It is dependent upon how we perceive those situations and things.” Leticia Rae.

“Every day may not be good… But there is something good in every day.”

Challenge:

Be grateful, no matter how difficult, and have a GREAT day.