I love my children. They are an amazing bundle of personality and all my good looks. But, at 6:00 am—I’m not fond of them.
I must literally drag my son out of bed. He never wants to wake up. He makes getting dressed a true chore. He carelessly puts back on his pajama t-shirt instead of the shirt of choice for the day. Most days he greets me with his shirt collar flipped up, shirt half-tucked in his pants, socks on inside out, and shoes on the wrong feet.
I don’t have an issue getting my daughter dressed. The problem is she only wants to wear her princess gowns and cowboy boots. It’s a challenge convincing my daughter that she does not need to take every single doll baby with her to daycare. She seems to think they are her children and gets upset when I leave any of them behind.
It is a scramble to get everyone out the door on time and most days prior to even making it to my office I’m already on my “last nerve.”
“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 15:1-2 (NIV)
God may not immediately deliver us from our uncomfortable situations. God uses these moments to control and direct our growth. It’s an act of pruning. Every morning He’s pruning me. He’s helping me to bear fruit. Each morning I have a choice. I can choose to snap at my kids, allow myself to become overly stressed out, and give away all the peace and joy that a relationship with Christ affords me, or, I can choose to operate within His spirit and allow these moments to prune the branch of patience, prune the branch of compassion, and prune the branch of self-discipline. I can be a mom who loses her mind every morning or I can embrace each challenging morning with the knowledge that He’s making me better. He’s making me fruitful. All I have to do is reject my initial reaction and respond in the Spirit.
God needs us to bear fruit…continuously. Not just one time, but again and again. God has broken off every unfruitful “branch”, but in order for us to continue to bear the fruit of love, joy, peace, kindness, faithfulness, compassion, and self-control we must be pruned. God will skillfully cut and trim within limit to ensure that our branches remain prolific, but it’s not without some discomfort.
So, today if you feel like God is out in your garden in a full-blown pruning session…just thank Him. Right there…in the middle of every single irritating challenge….thank Him. He’s increasing your supply. He’s increasing your ability to bear fruit. He’s increasing your future harvest. Then ask Him for a fresh supply of energy and strength to remain and act within His spirit as that co-worker, child, friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, or client tap dances all on your “last nerve!” You can do it. As long as you stay connected to the one true vine...JESUS!
[photo credit: Shannon Lee Miller]
Ashley Ivery is a single mother of two brilliant children, Aiden and Devyn, with an overwhelming desire to empower women and help them to realize the importance of a relationship with God. Through her writing she hopes to encourage women to claim their strength and value in Christ. She graduated from Fayetteville State University in 2012 with a BS in Psychology. Her motto is: "Be Authentic. Live Honestly. Dispel Light."