Thursday, October 27, 2016

Fruit on the Vine

I felt it coming. You can’t spend 8 ½ hours at the fair with three kids, two corndogs, and a bucket of Dippin-Dots and expect to have a pleasant evening once you get home.
No. No, you can’t. What you can expect is to have a scary evening where no one understands why they have to take a bath or why they have to brush their teeth or why on earth you are selling the camper. What? Where did that even come from? I don’t know, but that’s how our day ended. With  you, my dear six year old, accusing me of using a MEAN voice (and you were probably right) and me accusing you of being RIDICULOUS (which was completely accurate.)

And after the storm blew over, I went in to your room to have a heart to heart chat. I apologized for my mean voice and you did NOT apologize for your ridiculousness. I tried to speak to your heart; you rolled your eyes. I reassured you of my love, and you said, “You don’t want me to be happy.”
You’re right. The entire reason we are selling the camper is to destroy your happiness.

I shared examples from Scripture and from my own life to show how just because things don’t feel good doesn’t mean they aren’t done out of love. Oh, it was good. I was on fire with this talk.
And you looked at me with your forty year old eyes and said curtly, “I don’t see how that applies here.”

Wow. I’m done. I threw up my hands and kissed your forehead. I am helpless to make you understand, helpless to change your heart.
Later I was walking through the laundry room and the most unexpected thing caught my eye.

Babe, I didn’t even care that apparently we need to step up our spelling game in homeschool. The tears came instantly and I bowed my heart before the Maker. You see, there is one thing that you, my beautiful, serious, intense and independent daughter have never done in your life. And that is to willingly initiate an apology for something that you have done wrong.
I rushed to your room, but you were already asleep. Hours before I was looking into your fury, coming out in a show of disrespect and sass . Now I was gazing at your tender, peaceful, sleeping beauty, and I knelt beside you and gave thanks.

Now don’t get a big head, because a few days later I looked down at your paper during church and you had mine and your daddy’s names written in a circle labeled “Bad”, with an awful looking scary face drawn right above it. So, you know, you still have some issues.
But here is what I realized, and what I am realizing…

I can till soil, and plant seeds and water them, and do everything I can to nurture and protect – but I cannot make fruit grow. I can’t make it grow in my babies’ lives and I can’t make it grow in my own life.
Because I am not the Vine Dresser.

There are seasons in my life, and maybe I am in one right now, when I feel…stuck. Stagnant. Maybe even regressing. I feel surrounded by my faults and failures, by fears and doubts, by unmet expectations and unfulfilled desires. In those days I simply don’t see or feel the fruit growing.
But it is.

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
And so it was that on a long day in the middle of an even longer week, in a dry season with you, my sweet girl, the Vine Dresser showed me a piece of fruit – small but utterly significant – and reminded me that He is always at work.

So I will celebrate that fruit in your life, and I will not grow weary in doing good, and I will know that fruit on the vine will never come from me. But it will come.

I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser… As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.