Sep 052017
 

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit John 15:5a

Saw a random tomato plant on my run this morning.  And, “What makes a tomato plant random?”, you may be contemplating to yourself.  Well then, my friends, thanks for thinking this one through a little when you could be doing something else way more productive, and I will try not to let you inquiring, throwing me a bone, minds down in my upcoming answer.  And here it is in one word folks, “location”.

Let me dive a little deeper (mainly because I struggle NOT to go here) by giving you a little history about me and pretty much my most dreaded, hand shakes when I even write it, word, horticulture.  Now, those of you who know me well (or actually have just seen me anywhere casually outdoors), understand my talent to know exactly what any living green would not want, and then do just that.  So, truly, even discussing how or why or when of a tomato plant is well beyond me, but “here I am nonethless” (the phrase I also say more than not as I follow Jesus).  So now that you understand my qualifications to enter into this conversation, I am sure your self-confidence will only be strengthened as you read on.

Back to the random location of this tomato plant.  I would expect a typical tomato plant to be located amidst other tended-to veggies in a backyard  (Oh, how I dream of the veggies that could have thrived with most anyone else in my backyard boxed beds my father-in-law built for me). Or perhaps next to 100’s of other look alike tomato plants where a farmer raises a massive harvest for the community to enjoy. But no, this tomato plant was in an environment where it was “not like the others”.  Outnumbered big time.  Amidst wild flowers, weeds, and in a cement island in the middle of the street (no like minded veggie peeps insight).

But it was not these aspects which made me do a double take on my run.  No, it was in fact the reality that this tomato plant was THRIVING.  The color of its red beauties and abundant vines of green being presented to all who came near was magnificent.   It was bearing fruit and blooming where it was planted.  And the random location afterthought only made it more beautifully strong to me as I considered the obstacles it must have had to overcome to thrive in such a challenging environment.

If you will go with me, lets take this rising veggie to a deeper, spiritual place (and once again, I have to go here people!  Sorry!)  I wonder if you currently feel you are in a random/out of your comfort zone location right now-in a neighborhood, job, church, school, family, city in which you feel like our tomato plant friend, “out of place”.   Maybe you are feeling alone without some good friends to confide in, or feeling unequipped to handle the children God has placed in your care, or are in a school where everyone else seems to have turned down Harvard to be here, or can’t seem to do “the right thing” to save your life in your job, or are having difficulty loving your family, or are out of your comfort zone as you step out in a faith centered ministry.  Well, if this is you, let me give you a word from our loving Father today, “Hope is on the horizon”.  You are where you are for a purpose, His purpose.  Your past or present failures do not define who you are, your circumstances do not dictate your attitude and your looking to relationships to expose your spiritual giftings will only lead to discouragement.  Bloom where you are planted my friend.  Thrive in this unexpected place God has planted you in.  And find hope todayas we fix our eyes on Jesus- gaining His perspective through His living Word, thanking Him for some of the “overlooked blessings” we currently have, and stepping in faith filled courage by His Spirit to love Him and love others.

So when you see some excellently thriving veggies in this season, remember, it is not random where God has you working, living, ministering in this season.  Root and ground yourself in the love of Jesus, for you, today.  And in His purpose for you:  to THRIVE where your planted.  And do not loose heart as you maneuver this challenging environment in your own, unique sort of way.  God made you beautiful to thrive-because Kingdom fruit happens when we are connect to the Vine Jesus.  Here is my prayer for you, my sister:

I pray that out of the riches of His glory, He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.  And I pray that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to comprehend the length and width and height and depth of His love… Eph 3:16-18

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

Share
Aug 292017
 
Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love Eph 4:2
It all started with my season of “being the chair”.
To sum it up, this lovely season was about me being humbled and waiting.  It was about the “not yets” in regards to my God given dream of speaking to women.  But really, I am not seeking pity, my friends.   I had come to terms with truth- it was not God’s timing for this specific dream to take flight – I must trust Him in my now.
But you see their was still a problem-Even though I was “good to go” emotionally and mentally speaking, I felt my current purpose in this season was not “good to go”.  In fact it was all systems stop.  I felt tied down physically and spiritually.  I was getting antsy people!  I mean, I was waiting on this God given dream, sure, but were my God given giftings/passions simply on hold in the meantime?  Was my adventure rollercoaster ride as a Kingdom worker out of order?
I began to delve into my deep inner psychiatrist (and this is usually where things can go wonky real quick).  I began to ponder if this was all God had for me in the now….to just be still.  To just wait.  Anyone with me?  Because this felt fairly ineffective for the kingdom….and even as we know “patience is a virtue and those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength”, I had to ask God if there was more to this waiting thing….then just waiting.
So I did.  On one of my morning “runs of bliss” (picture a Snow White scene with the birds chirping, sun shining, in addition to children at home) I point blank asked God, “I feel I have no purpose as I wait, is there anything I can do as I wait on You?”  And it was impressed upon my mind and heart in this moment as I believe the Spirit responded to my cry by saying, ” Seasons of waiting are always coupled with seasons of loving”.  Then the scripture “Bear with one another in love” came to mind and I pictured myself again as “the chair”.  A chair is still, yes, waiting, but a chair holds others up as it is still.  A chairs job description is to bear the weight of the person sitting on it.  Likewise, when we are “the chair” spiritually in a waiting season, our job description is to “bear the weight” of another’s pains, trials, questions, concerns, fears, and tears.  And do you know what words proceed this job to bear in love-you got it, be humble and patient.  The season of being the chair involves patience, waiting and humility-all still, inactive characteristics, but they are coupled with the action word to love.  This was a comfort to me-we are called to take action in love in our seasons of being “being the chair”.
God allowed me to flashback to a painful “being the chair” season of 4 and a half years of waiting for our first baby.  I remember being real tiffed with God at His lack of ability to produce in what seemed to be everyone else but me!  I also recall the need to shift perspective.  Instead of focusing on what I didn’t have (and in the meantime being real ineffective for the Kingdom/His “now plans” for me), God gave me purpose and the action of loving those who were right in front of me.  And oh how in this “season of being the chair” I had the privilege to love on one who we now call our “adopted daughter”.  Time while we waited for our own biological daughter, meant time we were instead to be loving another of God’s children.  Now fast forward 9 years (a month ago) as I cried at our “adopted daughter’s” wedding and sent her off to start a new life with an amazing man of God.
So if you are in a “season of being the chair” never think all this waiting and being humbled and being patient is for not.  God.  Is.  At.  Work.  In.  You.  And your work you are called to take action in is one word:  Love.  Find hope that “He who began a good work in you will carry it onto completion” Phil 1:6.  Find joy in your current purpose to love those you rub shoulders with today.  And do the impossible with Jesus-be active in your season of waiting.
Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

Share