This morning a good friend texted me this passage:

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 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. (John 15:1-5)

I recently tripped over a dog gate while holding my 2 month old. It was a horrific experience, and I can honestly say it was the worst day of my life. The fall left me with a hurt elbow, and initially I had to wear a cast. The cast caused my elbow to be stuck at nearly a 90-degree angle, and I was unable to straighten or bend it at all. It ended up being kind of funny once I got past the initial shock because I couldn’t even pick up a glass of water sitting on the table next to me. My husband had to help me with everything — picking up my glass of water, changing our baby’s diapers, and even putting my hair in a ponytail. Needless to say, it was an interesting couple of days.

I’ve been praying through the incident in the following days as my daughter is recovering from a skull fracture. I no longer have to wear a cast, but I can’t help but think about how helpless I was during that time. I was so dependent on other people — my husband, my mom, or a friend had to be over at all times to help me for several days. I have started to consider how much more fruit my life would bear if I depended on the Lord the way I depended on others during those few days. If I truly trusted God with each step forward that I took and really believed that apart from Christ I can do nothing — especially in regards to bearing fruit.

God tells us in His Word the most important commandment is to love Him and secondly to love my neighbor as myself (Matthew 22). As I strive to live by these commandments I so often fall short. When deciding between loving a neighbor or loving myself, I so often chose self. What if I depended on the Lord as if my arms and feet literally couldn’t work without His strength? What if I prayed through conversations with others? What if I trusted Him in areas of service? How much more fruit would my life bear for His glory? Praying I can grow more dependent on the Lord. Where I am weak, HE is strong.

Standing on the Word


I am being tested in ways I never imagined these last few weeks. All of this is happening while we are studying and looking in depth at what earnestly seeking the Lord looks like. I didn’t truly know what earnestly seeking Him would entail. The little I did know seemed to be for the really “holy people.” But just last night, I got up from my sleep and for the first time ever in my life all I could do was pray and think on His Word. For the first time I found myself seeking Him first, before anything or anyone.

That morning we had done a ton of work in the Falling in Love Again with Your Lord study. At first I was having such a hard time because I wasn’t sure how writing down tons of Scriptures in our lesson would help me. But slowly His Word started to speak to my heart. Each verse brought new understanding. It brought such a peace knowing more about my Lord. It became more personal for me. It may seem silly, but honestly through all this pain I have been feeling, I kept being pointed back to Christ. I will admit, I was mad at my circumstances. I wanted to react to things my way. I wanted the satisfaction of reacting in a manner that I thought justified my feelings. It hurt letting go of my way. But His Word kept being unfolded before me in the morning, noon, and now at night. I began to have a peace and a love for my protector, provider, friend, and Father. He is becoming so much more to me than a faith I claim or a weekly routine to go through because it feels like the right thing to do. He kept leading me back to the verses about understanding in Psalm 119 and I feel like I have lived off of these Scriptures:

Make me understand the way of your precepts, and I will meditate on your wondrous works. (Psa. 119:27)

Your hands have made and fashioned me; give me understanding that I may learn your commandments. (Psa. 119:73)

How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. (Psa. 119:103-104)

When I woke up in the night, I didn’t care if I was praying right or following an exact formula. My heart was hurting and I felt a longing for Him and His Word. I had been having trouble with even knowing if this kind of love was possible in my relationship with Christ. Now, I feel as though it is more real to me than before.

Even though I had doubt and fear going into this study, He is showing me that He is the only constant in my life. I never thought I would think of Him in this way. But just as the study said, I had a bad habit of “putting God in His place.” I have marginalized Him, and for so long I was “making Him part of my life” instead of my everything.

All for His Glory


I saw my heart today and it was not a pretty sight.
My Father, in his mercy, showed me that my heart is not quite right.

You see, there was a little girl, and she wore a pretty hat.
Not just any hat, mind you; but a beautiful hat that made her look just that!

There also was a mommy, and she loved her little girl.
She loved to buy her dresses just to watch her twirl.

The little girl looked beautiful, of that there was no doubt.
The mommy always wanted her to look just so whenever they went out.
You should have seen her in the hat that day, pretending to be so grown.
I took great pride in knowing that she was my very own.

I saw my heart today; and it was not a pretty sight.
The darkness there was so stark compared to the beauty of the light.

Really, the day had gone quite well.
Then I made the discovery, and my heart completely fell.

The hat was gone, in the blink of an eye.
You must remember where it is, just try.
“I put it right there,” she said;
with a sad and pitiful look of dread.

My heart started to pound, the reaction so intense.
Such feelings about a hat truly made no sense.
Until I stared right at my heart, and saw it all laid out.
There was my true treasure, I had finally been found out.

My treasure was not eternal; I was all about my stuff.
Did I even give one thought to her tiny little heart?
All I said was, “I’ve had enough.”

She looked at me with her big blue eyes;
And with just a few simple words, broke right through all my lies.
Lies the enemy tries to get me to believe.
You’ve got to have more stuff if you ever want to achieve.

She looked up at me and said, “Mom, it’s just a hat.”
And suddenly I saw my heart, and then that was that.

The truth had been revealed.
The one I’ve been trying to conceal.
I can no longer serve both the Lord and my things.
I’ve got to let go of this world and realize that I have nothing to bring.

For so long I’ve worried about how we appear;
Caring more about the outside than letting God come near.
But He is so patient with me,
Gently showing where He wants me to be.

My heart is what it’s really all about.
Storing up treasures in heaven is what really counts.
The King of kings has taught me a lesson most profound;
A hat is nothing next to a crown.

Learning to Live in the Garden of Grace