Going Home Again

You can never go home – or so the saying goes because many expect to recapture feelings, or regain their sense of youth from a particular moment in time. Standing on a particular piece of land, or in a building or a room may stir memories, but it cannot recapture what no longer exists.  And that is not all bad.

You see, I never was one of those wanting to return home.  Far from it.  I found it difficult to believe stories of repressed memories from someone’s childhood because I wished I could forget mine.   I couldn’t wait to leave home and swore I’d never go back. But I did.  And it was the best decision I ever made.

After years of avoidance, fear, and refusal to go “home,” even purchasing life insurance before making trips anywhere near the old town where we grew up, I had now banded with my younger sister for our first journey back in time. To pave the way for our ultimate goal of attempting some sort of reconciliation with a childhood abuser – our mother – we did a psychological and emotional geo-caching from the surrounding area. Visits with a dear aunt and cousins were surprisingly fulfilling, providing clues to happy memories that had been deeply covered with years of  negative mental writing, like a never washed blackboard. The bad memories of physical and mental abuse had been so poignant that for years it was too painful to discuss or call into remembrance our childhood at all. Now we’d finally opened a door that didn’t reveal pain. Our healing continued at the two-story white elementary school we’d attended long ago in the form of middle-aged sisters sliding down the once-forbidden fire-escape tunnel slide and sharing the scenes that gave us nightmares. 

A different vignette awaited at the home where we’d spent our teen years. A sign advertising an upcoming estate sale allowed us unencumbered entrance to the big yard on the hill sloping to the railroad tracks, and a pleasant lady welcomed our perusing the sprawling blue home where we’d grown up.  Marvel tested the lock of an upstairs bathroom that I’d forgotten existed, noting it still worked, and shared about the hours she’d spent hiding out in there crying in fear or anguish. Together we examined my refuge – the roof outside my bedroom window where I read poetry and dreamed of a normal life, and then we stood shell-shocked at the surprisingly tiny size of the “big bedroom” we had both coveted.  Walking the outside perimeter after touring the house, I recalled part of a poem by T.S. Elliot, that said all our exploring for peace with our past would eventually bring us back to where we started, and we would see that place in a new perspective, as though for the first time.  It was true. It wasn’t just that we’d grown physically and the rooms now appeared smaller, but the specters of our past had also shrunk and no longer wielded power over us.  We knew it was because of the spiritual changes that had taken place in us, I in ’62 and Marvel a few years later (after stealing my Bible!) when we’d taken the first step of giving God not just our present and our future, but believing God could redeem our past as well.

The road to redemption is roughly paved, however, and we saw only the loose gravel underlayment that trip. Greeted with weapons, harsh words and denial of our birth, we shed more tears, and left praying like crazy that God would send someone . . . anyone . . . (except us) to “fix” our mother. That’s not exactly what happened.

Driving south the next day, we were well aware that our past was not done with us, but we determined to move on and live in the present until God saw fit for the next step. My sister tried to erase her memories by describing our mother as deceased when asked about her parents.  I copped out by saying I’d wait for Mother to change, never believing she would make a move toward reconnection. When she did, 20 years later, it was eerie.

After dinner out celebrating my birthday, I’d preceded Ken into the house while he parked the car, and I heard the answering machine chirping that we had a message.  Automatically I stepped into the dark room, pressed “play,” and then gasped when I heard the familiar but thready voice singing “Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear daughter, Happy Birthday to you.” That was all.  The click and “end of messages” from the answering machine left me standing in numb shock.

Ken came in, and wrapped his arms around me.  “What is it?  Bad news?”

Mutely, I reached over and hit “play” letting the message repeat. As we listened, his whisper echoed my thoughts.  “Why now after all these years? . . .What does she want?”

I knew I had to go. Perhaps her call meant there was hope.  Ken’s prayer led me to the place of faith where I believed God would lead each step of the way. Whatever the outcome, I knew the commandment to “honor” my parents, and I was determined to be obedient, if reluctant.

Weeks later, my 18-year-old granddaughter and I drove past the familiar sign announcing my hometown. My chest hurt with the pain of remembrance and my face must have showed it as well. 

“I didn’t expect it to hit me like this,” I responded truthfully, answering Aimee’s questions about my past, and detailing what subjects might be taboo and potentially spur a volatile episode.  A nearby hotel provided rest for Aimee, but my mind – the fixer in me – was clamoring. I have a weakness. Like the Apostle Peter, I often spoke without thinking, filling quiet spaces with whatever words came to mind, and once again I grappled with what I should or shouldn’t do or say. Grabbing my Bible, I flopped onto the blue easy chair in the corner, and the book fell open to the marker left from a recent Bible study, the yellow highlighting on the page ironically announcing the little phrase without words.  I knew instantly that was my answer. I did not have to say anything; I just had to be there. I quietly chuckled at God’s sense of humor. Now that would be a miracle.  I was stunned at the simplicity, but filled with peace, because if God said it, He would enable it to happen.  Once the choice was made, I slept and morning came quickly.

A gentle touch and meaningful glance from my granddaughter as we approached Mom’s little house silently softened in sympathy as the door opened and Aimee’s glance moved from me to my mother standing in the doorway of her trash-filled house. Together we helped an unexpectedly subdued little woman shuffle behind her walker which we folded into the trunk of the car, and began our journey.

I’d purposely planned more than a day would hold, hoping there would be no empty opportunity for an “episode.”  We visited some new restaurants for meals between little drives across the countryside, ostensibly to show my granddaughter where I grew up and went to school.   It was treacherous emotional territory, but Aimee kept up innocuous chatter sprinkled with innocent questions comparing cars, clothing, and school days “back then” with Aimee’s recent experiences. There were no life-changing conversations, but there was a constant opportunity to show honor and God’s love as Mom’s memories carried both of us to some good places from her past.

How, I wondered throughout the day, would my unusually silent behavior be interpreted?  The day’s end told all.

 “Before you go,” she asked, “would you help me change to my slippers?  It’s hard to bend down anymore.”  As I folded one knee down before her and reached to slip off a shoe, she rested her hand on my head like a benediction, noting with surprise that her little girl had silver in her hair.   Kneeling there, barely restraining the tears, I swallowed and looked up. Our eyes met and held, and I could not speak for what I saw written there.

The tender look from her spoke volumes of response to words I hadn’t had to say. In that moment before they glazed over and wandered away again, her faded blue eyes looked directly into mine clearly displaying words she’d never said before:  “I’m sorry, and I love you.” My bitterness slid away, replaced by gratefulness to God for filling the silence and going where I could not. 


Are you a caregiver? Have you been a caregiver? My caregiving story had some rough moments, but many more God was there moments. I’d love to encourage you if you are on a caregiving journey too.


In a hurry with my list to complete, I parked at the post office, grabbed my packages and hopped out.  Halfway to the entrance two women walked out – with masks on.  Ooof.  Forgot my face covering.

I returned to the car to get my shield and thought about those masks and how I (sometimes proudly) tease that even some dear and near to me do not know all of me.  I’ve kept some of it hidden to be mysterious I say.  But sometimes I’ve hidden behind other kinds of masks.

You’ve seen some of them – the mask of success only posting pretty results, the mask of ordering salad eating out, then stopping for French fries or ice cream.  The mask of wearing girdles, or all black so I look thinner. The mask of promising myself only 1 piece of chocolate but putting a handful in a dish nearby.

Moses wore a veil for a different reason  – to mask the fading of the glory of God from his face.  Or wait – is there similarity with his veil and mine?

Mask or Veil – the original word in scripture means to cover or hide.

Because I know God sees all and knows all, how can I even think I can hide anything?  I’ve been young, and now am old, and am still learning the depth of difference between sorrow and repentance.

My fluffy temple boldly reveals truth.  She’s not been exercising daily (Sorry) She’s not finished that detox, (sorry) Her list is so long…(sorry I put so many things before caring for Your temple, Lord)… sorry, sorry, sorry.

The Israelites were also experienced at repeated sorrow yet resisted change …

2Cor. 3:14 But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ.

Oh Lord, I do not want to become hardened to your voice.

 Repentance requires action but I cannot remove the veil on my own.

I read verse 16 again… and light goes on in my heart and head.

2Cor. 3:16 but whenever a man turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

The veil can only be removed by turning to the Lord – in Christ.

Once I submit the issue to the Lord, he gives desire, clarity, and energy to care for His temple.  It’s His grace-filled gift of continuing sanctification.

Might you also be hiding something behind a veil or mask?  If so, I pray you will turn it over to Christ, the only one who can clear the way to restoring His temple – in your body – and in mine.

Let’s all ask ourselves before God – what can I UN MASK today?

Feeling Disconnected?

A lot of us feel disconnected this year.  With all the “social connections” that are closed we have become dependent on the technological ones.  I know I have.

But …I recently spent weeks in a remote little spot that had no internet, no wi-fi and little cell coverage. Almost every call I made dropped in seconds or minutes, and I could not send or receive pictures or attachments.  I could not get any of what I think of as my work, completed.

I felt dis-connected.

Gratefully, a couple of friends took my place in a few areas, and that was a relief.   I was able for the first time in years to choose to sleep until I awakened naturally (no alarms), or to go back to sleep after the first awakening at 2 or 3 am.

But it was challenging not to complete my morning habit of checking connections and writing goals. I also hadn’t realized how much scripture time was poured into the writing work.  I was not only disconnected from my larger world outreach, I felt somewhat disconnected from God.

Spiritually I was able to occasionally slip away and read a devotional book I’d brought and at night the kindle worked, so I could wind down, but as to the emails, the posts, and the communication I was used to, I had to accept that there was nothing I could do to change the situation. So why not complicate it. I mean, take advantage of it (it being my regular life minus electronics).  So I joined a new weight program and spent the time I would have been writing – a new way – walking, checking out keto recipes and foods.  

The best part of the disconnect was that a sister was with me and we had no choice but to focus more on each other, and we walked from 1-4 hours a day so I came home physically stronger and emotionally settled on continuing this health program I’d started.

Once I accepted the limitations of what I could do ABOUT my situation and began to see what I could do WITHIN my limitations I had a new view of what previously took up a lot of my time.

I got a new perspective by looking up the prefix dis and finding this:

The prefix dis– is commonly added to words to give them an opposite or contrasting sense. … Adding the dis– prefix produces the rare word disenthral, a which means release – not from captivation but from captivity; it means ‘set free, liberate’

Dis-connection isn’t all bad, apparently.  The internet I’d thought was my connection that I controlled, apparently had controlled me more than I’d realized.   (I’d also discovered monitoring my eating habits how many times a day I’d snacked out of habit rather than hunger and was able to give away a lot of the snacks I’d brought along)

Have you tried to disconnect from anything? Is there something you need to dis-connect from or a dis-connect you are fighting?

OR has there been something from which you disconnected (released)  that set you free?

Now I am home and do feel freer to plan my day, to make choices for health before work or hobbies and to say to myself, “I don’t do that anymore.”

I’d like to hear how you deal with disconnect. Maybe I’ll be more prepared next time.

What’s Under the Hood?

I reluctantly admit I am the female version of Oscar of Felix and Oscar (The Odd Couple) 

I am a very visual person and need my plans for the day where I can see them. At times those towering stacks include recipes/recipe books, items to mail, writing ideas, things to do, and more.  

Yesterday I was in a whirlwind.  I’d had my list of to-dos stacked up on the table again and Mister was bemoaning the offense, when the phone rang. Long missed missionary friends were in the area and would stop over later that afternoon if we were available. Gladly we’d make ourselves available!

Racing around together, Mr. Neat started on his most important goal – vacuuming.  I on the other hand, do last things first, so I began making a pot of soup for a light dinner. We began to get in one-another’s way. I asked (ok ordered) him to leave the papers until I got back, and dashed off to the store for a missing ingredient and a dessert.

I quickly found the items and ran for the car.  It was raining lightly and a wind was picking up.

Parked behind my car was a small and obviously well used hybrid and next to the car, with a few papers in his hand was a very tall, very big man.  I felt God’s nudge to ask the man about his car. 

Now?  I still have to get home, finish the soup and take care of those papers.

But…I’ve learned if I don’t obey I will feel the loss of an opportunity, so I asked, “How do you like that hybrid?”  Next thing you know Robert began opening the hood of the dented and beat-up car and showing me things I knew nothing about but that led to some interesting conversation.  When he told me originally, when he bought the car cheaply from someone who couldn’t get much for it on trade in, he planned to fix and resell it.  But when he learned about the Prius, he began to value what was under the hood. God gave me the idea to liken that experience to getting to know one another and appreciating the value that is often hidden at first glance. We talked about how many people look at one another the way we might look at his life-banged-up car, and don’t immediately see the value.

We had some great conversation including Robert confirming that he was confident we’d meet again in heaven.  Robert held up the papers I’d noticed in his hand that had been flying about the parking lot. It only took a minute, he said, to pick up a few and leave this place a little neater.  This conversation was like that, he explained… Shouldn’t we all be leaving each place, each person a little better?


“Don’t say anything that would hurt another person. Instead, speak only what is good so that you can give help wherever it is needed. That way, what you say will help those who hear you.” (Ephesians 4:29 – God’s Word)

Turns out Robert is a new believer, and when I ran to the car in the rain, he came over and knocked on the window. Hey, he said, I think God set up our meeting with the car and everything. Would you pray for me, and I will pray for you? 

I was so glad I obeyed the nudge.

Yes, I was rushed when I got home, and yes, I hid all those papers in the closet and my Hubby praised all the wood that was exposed by its absence.  

But yes we praised God even more for the reminder to slow down, look around (and under the hood) and see what we can say or do to leave encouragement wherever we go. 

Is your life filled, too, with piles of to-do urgent things in the middle of the little details of life?

Do we know what’s under the hood or are we so busy running to and fro that we miss a God-sent mission?

Excited About The Future!

I am SO excited! I just found out more info about what our new place is going to be like!


It’s an amazing and most unusual deal. The builder is doing everything – choosing the place, designing and building the home, outfitting every detail with our personal needs and desires in mind, selecting and creating the landscaping that promises to be more beautiful than I can even imagine, and even assuring us a setting with compatible neighbors. If that wasn’t enough, He is PAYING FOR EVERYTHING!!!


Sound fantastic or fictitious? Wondering if I got an email from a Nigerian prince?


No worries – it’s not that – Our builder has a worldwide reputation for building from scratch, and personalized renovation stories that get me more excited than if I won a home makeover from the Property Brothers or Chip and Joanna Gaines!


Honest— it’s better than either of those choices.


It’s real. I got an inheritance!


Your own personal place is available to you too


1Pet. 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,


Eph. 1:13-14 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation — having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance…


Eph. 1:18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,

Eph. 1:19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.


The more I examine the facts about Heaven, and the more excited I get. Just like home here, it’s not as much what it looks like but WHO is there that makes my spirits soar.


Have you read all the verses about Heaven? Are you excited about your inheritance?

Are You Listening?

Are you listening?  Really listening?

God gave us one mouth and two ears so we would listen more than speaking – but really, we should listen with our whole bodies.

You know you can tell when someone is listening (or not listening) to you – so why do we convince ourselves that others cannot tell when our mind is wandering?   To actively listen, we use more than just our ears!

Our brain – Evaluate words – it helps you focus. Are you listening and repeating in your mind what you understand the person to be saying or are you planning a response or an exit to the conversation?

Our eyes – Look at their expression, their posture, their body language. When you listen to someone and their eyes are looking anywhere but at you. It’s a sad and disrespected feeling. Let’s not let anyone else feel that way. Live out what you long for– if you’ve ever had someone brighten when you walked in a room, you know the warm feeling to have that soul greeting “Bright eyes gladden the heart” – Proverbs 15:30.

Let my body actions tell them I am listening – I hear you.  Face the person talking, put down your cellphone, or the book you were reading, or turn off the television. They will feel valued and you will also teach by example how to honor others.

I can show I am listening with my words – clarify what I think I heard and give the other person the opportunity to clarify what they meant. Tell them I will  try to repeat what they said to make sure you are understanding, then restate their response in my own words as briefly as possible.

Proverbs 10:19 –When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise

Facial expression can convey your sincerity. I might raise my eyebrows and ask is that what you meant – giving the person the opportunity to qualify with a yes or no so we can continue the conversation.

Actions can value  differences while calmly using word pictures to explain feelings. One example is a wife who feels unvalued when husband misses their dinners frequently with business meetings and tells her about the  nice dinners and might even bring her leftovers. When she explained to him it felt like his business associates were steak to him and she was leftover pizza he got the picture.

The same conversation will sound and feel differently from each personality type perspective. Do your relationships a favor and study their personality type (and yours) so you both can better relate to each other, and understand what their bodies actions are really saying.

Happy Listening!

The Personalities – the personalities.com



The Wired That Way personality test can be found at that site.


4 Animals Personality Test


If Only…

If Only …by Scott Morton (an excerpt shared with permission) 


As I sat at my desk that day, I realized I was angry.


It was a familiar feeling. I argued a lot. Not face to face, but mentally. Usually with people from the past. This was the pattern of my life. Every five or six weeks, I’d find myself in a rough of discouragement for two or three days. Grumpy. Moody. Unable to sleep. There had to be a reason.


So, despite the pressing deadlines of the work on my desk, I went to a favorite place to reflect on my lack of joy. Scott shares details of his decision to give up the opportunity to play professional baseball, and how he daydreamed what if…


Out of desperation that day, he turned to the Bible…. and ended up doing an in-depth study of regret. Over those months he discovered some practical insights for dealing with regret – the joylessness that comes when you focus on what might have been:


Identify the source of your regret.


Regret is precipitated by disappointment. Some Biblical examples of tragedy and treachery causing regret are


EsauHis mother and brother tricked out of receiving his father’s blessing and lost the family inheritance. He was furious


Naomi – Following the death of her husband and sons Naomi was left with knowledge of never having children or grandchildren or a provider. Widows without family could expect only poverty. She was so distraught she changed her name to Mara (Bitter).


Scott was also disappointed –by himself. He wondered despite a successful ministry, if his career move made in haste caused him to miss the will of God.


All three incidences of regret were stirred up by a disappointment.


From his study Scott found when he was feeling grumpy and angry he can stop and identify the source of regret by reviewing any disappointments from the day.


Those disappointments he found “can become a breeding ground for regret unless specifically identified and surrendered to the Lord. Until then, no amount of pep talks, Sunday sermons, or days off will lift the heaviness.


Forgive yourself


Scott’s resolution to this challenge was to invite “Scott the hasty decisionmaker” to sit across the table. He named the regretted decisions, and forgave himself for hasty decisions, foolish sins and lack of self-control he’d displayed.


Don’t rehash the past


Mental arguments of how life would have been different if only do no good. They only keep me, he said, feeling sorry for myself


Trust God’s Sovereignty. “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”


Joseph made that statement (Genesis 50:20) to the brothers who threw him into a pit and then sold him to a band of gypsies heading for Egypt. He was able to see a greater purpose behind his hard times, and was therefore able to say “it was not you who sent me here, but God.” (Gen. 45:8)


Sometimes our regret centers around a sinful choice. Whether tragedy, tyranny relationships, jobs, parenting or our physical body, we all have regrets.



Though God continually confirmed his calling to His service, Scott admitted, ‘I still had days of defeat when regret wells up inside.’ But suppose it was a mistake. I could still rest in the assurance that God would not abandon me to the results of my failure.


Nothing in all creation – not our bad decisions or the results of others’ failings in our lives will be able to separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:39) or from His loving purposes for us.


Let us put away the past “forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead” – Philippians 3:13 – lookng forward to how our sovereign God will work in our lives.


What disappointments have you experienced this week, month, or year? If you can see a pattern of disappointment turning to regret, go back as far as necessary to identify the specific disappointment that keeps you discontent with your life.


Following the steps of forgiving yourself, refusing to rehash the past, and trusting in God’s sovereignty, can you use a ‘bigger picture” for your life? What possible larger arena could God be moving you into?



Scott Morton served with the Navigators in collegiate and community ministry before becoming director of Donor Development at the Navigators U.S. headquarters. He and his wife, Alma, have three children.


Website www.scottmorton.net


Scott Morton played a crucial role in Ken’s and my discipleship as young believers.  We are continually faithful for the foundation of understanding, studying, applying and sharing God’s Word he and the Navigators provided.

From Dis to Re

Ever been DIScombobulated?

Webster’s dictionary –  to cause to be in a state of confusion : upset, disorient.


Vocabulary.com says – Discombobulate is a fun, fancy word for “confuse.” If something has put you in a state where you don’t know up from down and you can’t spell your own name, you may be discombobulated.


In other words – weary. So weary that you are tempted to lose heart.


If you are a mom, you know this state well. If you are a woman who has experienced PMS, Menopause, or both, you know this state VERY well J


Another way we can get discombobulated is traveling to a different time zone and experiencing jet lag.


Jet lag: extreme tiredness and other physical effects felt by a person after a long flight across several time zones.


I thought it was clever when I saw a news article including a picture from Mitchel Field Airport and it’s unique RE-combobulated area. Apparently if you are in a state of exhaustion and confusion from travel, Mitchel Field has a place that will help you get combobulated again – in other words, bring renewed clarity and energy to you in your every day travel.

How does this relate to us spiritually?

When I am over-tired, over-inundated, over-stimulated


When I am under-rested, under-prayed, under-hydrated


My health is unbalanced, leaving me in danger of being discombobulated.



It’s time to take a deep breath and assess life balances I can do something about”


Hydration – set a timer if needed to drink water

Rest – set a limit of computer time, and create a bridge to rest (for me it is reading)

Stimulation/Activity – learn to say yes and no.

YES – to some physical action daily – walking, stairs, stationery bicycle, elliptical, rebounder – something. Daily.

YES – to daily prayer and Bible reading – and at least 5 minutes of journaling (keeps senses active and helps brain set memory)

NO – To unreasonable demands. Set boundaries that include a mandate of rest and refreshment.

NO to call anytime – Set work hours for do-not-call (other than life-or-death emergency) work-at-home (If I don’t respect my work as work, why should I expect others to?)


And finally – Remember Elijah


Exhausted. Dehydrated. Hungry. Emotionally Spent.

He forgot about the afterglow from a mission. God showed up in power and might and answered prayer in a larger way than Elijah had imagined.


Yet, because he forgot to ask for or plan for emotional recuperation God had to meet him at the edge of the cliff, so to speak, and bring in reinforcements to hydrate, rest, and revive his spirit.


Perhaps you are or recently have been on a mission assignment from God. Did you remember to plan for (or to ask for) post-mission refreshment? If not, do it now. Set aside at least some hours, or a whole day if possible. Use the day to read, pray, hydrate, build up your strength with healthy foods and at least a few minutes of exercise (and double those minutes of rest even if you cannot sleep).


That’s my day tomorrow. Preparing for the next race which means building up strength and removing all encumbrances

Hebrews 12:1-3 Let us also lay aside every encumbrance

Heb. 12:2 …fixing our eyes on Jesus, …

Heb. 12:3so that you may not grow weary and lose heart.






Pruning – Trees and Me!

My Dear Hubby and I completed our ongoing discussion about pruning today. It started about 5 years ago when he pruned the two abundantly fruitful peach trees in our yard after they blossomed. Both trees were so insulted they never bore fruit again. Wife freaked out, but recovered and forgave. Then he pruned the apple tree, which was not very fruitful. Smaller freak-out from the wife that time. Ordered a book on how to prune a small fruit tree. Changed her mind that he maybe shouldn’t read that book and hid it. Bought and planted two new peach trees. Oddly enough last summer both trees were loaded with quarter-size peaches one day and the next day every one was gone – none on the ground, none bitten into. Would a squirrel have done that? Better to have angst transferred to a squirrel than to husband who does everything else beautifully.


Found the book today and he pruned the two new peach trees. I haven’t looked yet – will look tomorrow. The reason I didn’t go out and look today was I got to thinking about pruning and when word thoughts pop up, I start hunting in the scriptures for instructions so I can react better than I have in the past.


Tomorrow has come and I inspected the trees – it was painful, but I hope, will be beneficial in the long run. I thought, tree, you are a lot like me. I too need a lot of pruning. Lots of branches need to be cut back (like diet, procrastination, running on emotion, etc). I found there are several applicable parables and advice in the Bible about pruning.

Not that kind of pruning… couldn’t resist. The most well known verses are about the vine.


The Vine and the Branches

15 “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[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

Because I was in Israel I can picture somewhat where they were walking as he told this story. We know from other passages they walked through peak season (lush vineyards) of the Kidron Valley on their way to the Garden of Gethsemane and Jesus used this scenery to teach about pruning. Imagine their thoughts as they heard the story. My first thought would be oh, no – what have I missed. I’ve accepted the call to follow Christ and trust Him to care for us. Likely it was that type of insecurity that prompted Jesus to comfort them (and me, and you, later) that we are already clean and ready for useful service (verse 3). But then he wanted to take them (and me, and you) further and closer.

What a comfort that must have been to know they weren’t about to be disciplined. Instead they were being taught about bearing more fruit and putting God before ourselves! That is what I pray for (don’t we all) and then when I find out it could hurt (I mean look at the chunks that were lopped off our little tree! It’s scary, and natural to hesitate unless we remember the huge benefits of pruning from other experiences in our past walk with Christ.

As I looked at the branches that were pruned, I thought yes, I want the sunlight (SON-LIGHT) to get into my heart to enable me to bring about the abundance He wants, but I want relief too because let’s be honest, pruning brings discomfort and deep self-evaluation.

So I went back in the house asking God for help because my natural self avoids discomfort. I pondered, which do I want more – the lack of discomfort or the deeper walk, the increased fruit and John 10:10- the abundance of life Jesus wants for me…

I thought about the story of the vine and branches again and thanked God for what this season was not – that it was not discipline like the Corinthians needed, and it was not being sifted as Job and Peter experienced. Have you ever done that – thanked God for what a situation was not? I was glad I did it, because it made my next chore a great example. I had to remove dead leaves from the peace plant, so the new buds inside could receive more sunlight!


What a Great God to give me so many confirmations that He is working in me to make me more fruitful for Him.

You can be sure God meant the message for you too, as he spoke to all did believe and would come to believe in Him when he said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. John 10:10

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