Clinging To The Vine

Jason and I had the opportunity to fly to BC two years ago to attend my nephew’s wedding. It is hard not to be awe of God when you see the mountains. In a moment you are reminded of how small we are and how awesome and glorious our God is.

 

As we were descending into Abbotsford and came below the clouds, we got our first glimpse of the mountain tops. We were struck with how barren they were. Nothing was growing on them.  I couldn’t help but think about how often in my flesh, I long for the so called “spiritual mountain tops.” I long for a comfortable life where things are easy and I am not stretched or pressed, but when I was faced with the barrenness that I saw on the mountains, I was reminded that that is not at all the place where I truly long to be.

 

It’s funny because I pray often that the Lord will do whatever He needs to do in my life to grow me in Christlikeness. I truly long to be a woman who lives her life in a way that brings God much glory. What I am realizing though, is that in the flesh, I am wanting the sanctification process to happen easily and quickly. My flesh wants to avoid the valleys in life, but it is in the valleys, the difficult and most challenging times in life, where God does His best work in my life. It is in this very place when I am reminded that I can do nothing apart from the Lord.

 

Some of my favorite verses are found in John 15:4-5 “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.  I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” I love these verses because they remind me that I was not created to live this life in my own strength. Instead, I am to abide and cling to the vine and He will give me what I need each day to bear fruit which glorifies Him.

 

My best days are the days that I fight the battle to die to self. My heart truly desires to love God and others more than myself. I long to love my family sacrificially and selflessly every day, but sadly my flesh still gets in the way at times and I put myself first. This is why it is so important for me to abide and cling to the vine. I cannot change my own heart, but I know who can, and that is why I strive to walk with Him.

 

I started praying about a year ago for the Lord to help me embrace the uncomfortable of this life, instead of trying to avoid it.  When meeting with women who are struggling or a marriage that is suffering, I completely feel my inadequacy and am scared. And yet, the Lord is so kind that He doesn’t let my fear win. Instead, He gives me the courage to enter into the challenge, trusting solely on Him, and not myself. Such freedom is found when you realize that none of us has what it takes to change hearts. Only God can do that. Our part is to point others to Christ and the hope that is found in His promises. We need to step out in faith and trust in His faithfulness. It is the Lord who does the work. He is the changer of hearts and the great redeemer. All He asks of us is to take that step of faith and enter in. He does the rest. It is in my weaknesses that God has grown my faith and trust in Him in ways that I never could have imagined. For this reason, I want to encourage each one of you. Don’t fear the uncomfortable.  Don’t avoid the difficult. Be faithful to what the Lord is calling you to regardless if it takes you out of your comfort zone. There truly is no better place for any of us to be than found clinging to the vine. So, whether I am on the mountain top or in the valley, I don’t have to fear. I can trust that He is working all things for my good and His glory.

Twyla Johnston

Twyla Johnston

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