It’s almost the “chicken and the egg” question at first glance.
I came across a fellow blogger, http://clydestyle.org, whose words resonated with me this week:
“The second type of pruning is when the vinedresser does an assessment and determines that the direction of your life is going to a place that is too much for you to bear. This type of pruning is very common in the wine making industry because if a branch bears too many clusters not only does it break, but some of the grapes become sour. We know that God promised not to give us too much to bear and he is faithful to that cause (1Cor. 10:13).”
I didn’t get that job in Oregon that I had hoped for, although I was the second choice. At first I was devastated. Then angry — after all, I had lost my job over this! Then came peace. It might have been that God knew that the burden or the job plus my health and other variables in my life would have become too much to bear. I’ll never know, of that I’m certain.
God knows how much we can take on and knows the possible futures of each of our miniscule decisions. He sends that little voice of insight to guide us, but that only works when we listen to it. For me, that voice told me that I have nothing to fear and that I will find the security I need for my family in a job that will I can physically handle. I’ve tried to deny that voice and get mad again, but it keeps gently reminding me to listen and trust. So I shall.
I find myself creating a new life out of the ashes of my former one. I’m reminded of “What Dreams May Come” when the main character was asked what made him, him — was it his hands, his brain, or something else. Am I less of an educator because I do not currently have a full-time job? No. I am an educator, and this last pair of job interviews made it crystal-clear that I need to remain an educator, in the classroom with my beloved students and their energy. Am I less of a mom? No, my children reminded me. When I was particularly down a few nights ago, they told me how amazing I am. Me– really? I’m just me: self-centered, sometimes foolish, trying my best, and sometimes not achieving what I strive for. So what makes me, me?
I think it’s that spark. You know the one — the spark that makes you know your name down to the depths of your soul. The spark that makes me seek the best in all people, events, and things. The spark that marvels at the tide and the storm clouds, the one that can gaze proudly back at myself in the mirror and know that I have done right by everyone.
The spark that is God.
So are we the vine or the grapes? Or is it all one, continuous extension of the same spirit that breathed life into us from the beginning, that loves us where we are, and quietly accompanies us through every moment of life?
- Jesus – I am the true vine (clydestyle.org)
- Treasures From The Vine – The Cleansing (gospelbondservant.com)