Being Saved, Family, Uncategorized

“You had to go through what you went through.”

That’s the last part of the story from my previous post. I chose to withhold that part because while The Vinedresser and His Shears dealt with the big picture, this post deals with a much smaller, more specific, more microcosm-y view…

Me.

This post deals with MY pruning process. And why it’s been so long since you heard from me last.

Sooo I had a baby. And she’s wonderful and chubby and drooly and happy. Her big brother and sister adore her. She’s brought a bit of Heaven to our lives in the most unexpected way. While I know you must be happy for my new addition, part of your brain probably short-circuited and recalled all that good Bible stuff I wrote in years past about living holy. Right?

Well I’m nothing if I’m not real, so I unashamedly confess that I messed up. I disobeyed and fell into THAT sin again. I sowed according to the flesh and reaped a harvest of disappointment, shame, and emotional pain. I went through the ringer on this one guys, but this post isn’t about my sorrow nearly as much as it’s about God’s redemptive plan and how He uses the shears to secure our destiny. I just chalked my situation up to my own stupidity and disobedience not really understanding that through all this God would mature me and set things right in my heart.

The truth is this. Had the Lord not pruned me, I would have continued to struggle with lust… and lust has incredible power to destroy one’s destiny. If you don’t believe me, look at Samson. My vine would have continued to produce bad fruit or no fruit at all which would have had me cut OFF instead of cut ON. I would never have the pure hope of enjoying a Godly marriage which I still have an incredibly confident expectation for. (Haha, devil! You don’t win!) What Satan meant for evil, God turned for my good. I am testifying to you today that I am COMPLETELY free from the bondage of lust, I bear no bitterness, and I’m enjoying my wonderful babies.

Here’s what I want and need YOU to understand. Pruning is painful and often humiliating. We often confuse pruning with persecution and spiritual warfare– these are tools for pruning by the way. But if you remain in position long enough God will show you what He’s doing in your heart. You will have to bear some shame. You might even have to hide yourself for a season, and that’s alright. But what you absolutely CANNOT do is remove yourself from the pruning process. It’s better to endure the shame for a short time than to continually live with an area of your life closed off from the Father.

Not to belabor the point, but I hear someone asking “How do I know if I’m being pruned?”

  • Has something bad happened in your life that you feel you didn’t deserve?
  • Did God tell you to do something that made NO sense and when you did, the situation ended up being uncomfortable for you?
  • Do you feel like you’ve been made a spectacle of?

Mmhmm. Stay. In. Position. Don’t make any sudden movements. Endure juuust a little longer. Two scriptures that helped me endure a full pregnancy and childbirth and taking said child to church with all the whisperers, etc., etc…

In the same way I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the LORD. (Isaiah 66:9)

And thou shalt know that I am the Lord, for they shall not be ashamed that wait for Me. (Isaiah 49:23b)

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

Alana

Being Saved

The Vinedresser and His Shears

The Southern girl in me enjoys few things more than sitting on the porch and drinking in the evening breeze. I have a new little person that shares that joy. She and I sit on the patio and sing just as I did with the first two. After a few rounds of Jesus Loves Me and an anointed rendition of the ABC song, the Holy Ghost pointed me to John 15.

I picked up my phone, swiped to the Bible app, and began reading one of my favorite chapters.

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 bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.  Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. (John 15:1-4)

Did the Holy Ghost speak to you as you read that?  He shouted at me and told me to read it again.

As I read those verses for the second time my mind raced back to an old white house where I lived during my early teen years. In the backyard  grew a Dogwood tree, a huge magnolia, a small peach tree, and a grapevine. My mother would give me a pair of  shears, and I’d hack the grapevine to pieces until I could find a vine that was green and pliable. Eventually we were able to get a few grapes off of it, but they were small and sharp-tasting– hardly good enough to eat. 

“Read it again!

I read the first two verses again, and Holy Ghost shouts inside of me in His old, Black uncle voice “EVERYBODY GETTING CUT!”

I gasped “Lord, what do you mean?!” Talk about a pearl-clutching moment…

Those who bear no fruit are chopped off, and those who do bear fruit are pruned so they can bear more fruit. But the point remains, everyone has to endure the Vinedresser and His shears.

The grapevine I pruned as a child had been neglected for so long, the vine became dry and wiry.  My siblings and I would pull the vine in a tug-of-war match to get it free from the trellis. The pieces that were still alive had dry ends and needed pruning, so we clipped little ends here and there and any place that we clipped, two branches would grow in place of that one. By clipping those ends, we made more room for the vine to produce fruit.

By clipping our dead, little nasty bits, the Vinedresser makes more room for us to produce the fruit we need for a Godly, fulfilling life. We don’t like to be snipped and pruned. We don’t like to be doing reasonably well, then suffer what feels like loss. Pruning even leaves a wound in a place where we felt progress had been made.  But if we hold fast, in a set amount of time, a new area of growth and promises extends from that formerly dead place.

Here’s the catch.

If you don’t allow the Vinedresser to prune you…

If you don’t yield to His correction…

If you only focus on shining up the little bit of fruit you do have, you will stop growing. Anything that isn’t growing IS dying. The short dry ends will become longer dead wires, and the Vinedresser will remove you so that others may produce fruit in the space you left behind.

Selah.

You’re going to get cut one way or the other. Will it be to separate from the true vine, Christ Jesus, or to His glory and the yielding of fruit?

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

Alana

Image courtesy of satit_srihin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Pursuit of Purity, Uncategorized

Did you know that the most basic requirement of the Christian walk is to present our bodies as a living sacrifice? We often define the sacrificial lifestyle for singles as celibacy, but God keeps poking my heart and teaching me that celibacy is far cry from purity. You can be physically a virgin, but in your soul have all the turmoil and residue from dabbling in sexual sin.

I’m challenging you, my sister in Christ, to deal with the pieces of your life that may be hidden from plain sight, but in your heart, you KNOW God is not pleased. If you are bold and ready to experience liberty, then join me for 30 Days in Pursuit of Purity.

Partner with me and a group of my closest lady friends as we explore topics like phone accountability, generational curses, and dating strategies (because sometimes it feels more like war) through the lens of God’s Word. If you’ve read any of my posts, you know I like to dig deep, and I don’t mind getting dirty as long as it brings glory to God.

Think you might want to join? Here’s what you can do to prepare:

  • Ask a girlfriend to partner with you.
  • Follow @PursuitOfPurity on Twitter or like my Facebook page for general information.
  • Buy yourself a nice journal, pen, and  a big, pretty water bottle.
  • Subscribe to my blog to keep up with daily posts and prayer points.
  • If you’re interested, check out my book Late Nights on the Straight and Narrow. You can purchase it on Tate Publishing’s website.

The challenge will start July 1! I’m in the process of blog-writing, gift-buying, and sanctifying, and I pray the Lord will impress upon your heart to join me.

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

Alana