Friday, November 11, 2011

#235 - Don't Die on the Vine!

Good morning!
Slow but sure... I'm coming back! An update? Trinity is doing great! We are working on getting into a routine with her. She has been sleeping very well through the night, which is a blessing! Anywhere from 6-11 hours through the night. Praise the Lord!! The house? Well... as most of you know, we have been building a house. The original "closing date" was October 21st.... well, we still have not closed. At this point, I've decided not to get frustrated despite the delays. My new mindset? We will be in the house SOMETIME!

Well... let's jump into the Word for today! :)
Proverbs 11:2 - When swelling and pride come, then emptiness and shame come also, but with the humble (those who are lowly, who have been pruned or chiseled by trial, and renounce self) are skillful and godly Wisdom and soundness.
Proverbs 31:10 - A capable, intelligent, and [a]virtuous woman--who is he who can find her? She is far more precious than jewels and her value is far above rubies or pearls.
Wow! This morning as I began reading Proverbs 11... I barely got to verse 8, as each verse just jumped off the page at me! Verse 2, verse 3, verse 5.... it was as if I had never read Proverbs chapter 11 before! But we all know, through this monthly journey of Proverbs & the Proverbs 31 woman.... we HAVE read Proverbs 11 before! Many times!

I can relate to Proverbs 11:2... and unfortunately, have personal experiences that ring in my mind when I think back over the years. Swelling & Pride. Firsthand, I can relate to the whole cycle that Proverbs 11:2 is talking about! Swelling & pride, leading to emptiness & shame, then leading to what for me has been painful pruning & chiseling, but now coming out on the other side with soundness. A cycle somewhat unavoidable if one wants to bear great fruit. I'll share a personal story shortly, but as I was meditating on this verse, this is what the Holy Spirit had to say to me about it:
Being pruned IS part of the process. For every great tree, bearing great fruit, pruning is necessary. A time is involved where cutting back may cause a season of no fruit, BUT because of the pruning GREATER harvests are to come. As long as you are willing to grow through the process of pruning, as long as you are not willing to give up, to throw in the towel, to lose home & lose your dream - as long as you are willing for the pruning to lead to the harvest - you will experience the joy of completion. The joy of fullness! The joy of expectations being fulfilled. Will you come out strong after the pruning takes place? Don't die on the vine.
I read briefly how this actually takes place with the growth of grape vines. "Pruning is simply getting the plant or in this case grape vine growth to encourage more growth. Grapes will not appear on your grape vine for at least a few years, in the meantime you will need to maintain and care for your vines and this is done through careful pruning. How you prune your grape vines will have a massive effect on the sort of harvest that you will yield." 

OK... take off your robes & put down your stones for a minute.... I'm going to share ONE of the ways I've personally had to change in this area. Back 8-9 years ago after Tyler & I started our own business, with good intentions, I remember speaking to a group of people saying if they didn't do "________" they were "saps." I remember saying that everyone should be able to grow their numbers and business to a certain level within a certain period of time. I know, horrible, huh? What kind of terrible person would be so cold? I was fiery and excited, I spoke with passion & believed what I was saying. I was just overly excited. I look back on that time and season, and I now would love to apologize to anyone who may have been in hearing distance. My zeal most likely hurt feelings and was based in a degree of pride versus humility. 

Shortly after that time, the pruning process in me began. If you are the one being pruned, is it fun? I would answer that with a HEARTY NO! :) But, has the process been good? Absolutely. Some of the things I have gained from the pruning include; feeling compassion for others, seeing where others are coming from, being able to truly empathize, learning how to allow GOD to be in control instead of "my ability" to do or accomplish through my own efforts, not judging (I'm still learning this!), allowing people to grow at their pace versus my pace for them.... and the list goes on! 

As I read about the Proverbs 31 woman, I read in verse 10 how she is a capable, intelligent & virtuous woman. I see her having encompassed compassion, having most likely traveled through a pruning season coming out on the other side bearing much fruit. Eyes full of compassion. A heart that sees where you are and where you have been. Ears that listen & when you stop talking, she allows the silence to penetrate so you will continue talking.... ears just listening, as if they are saying "Go on. Tell me more. Don't stop there. I want to hear what YOU have to say. Tell me your story. Share your pain, I will be here and won't judge." The Proverbs 31 woman encompasses trust. Not only does her husband trust in her (Proverbs 31, verse 11), but those she knows trust her too. 

Pruning WILL produce a harvest for you. Will you, can you be patient even in the season where the harvest is not coming in? Will you allow the pruning to produce a growth in you and around you that will bring completion? It will encompass what you are called to do and be. As the Holy Spirit reminded me, I'll leave you with this too.... Don't Die on the Vine. God is not through with you yet. Enjoy the growth. Enjoy what you are learning and allow the pruning to take place. Proper pruning produces extraordinary crops! Don't Die on the Vine, allow yourself also to be pruned! 

Have you experienced a season of pruning? Do you have a harvest you'd like to share? I'd love to hear your story!

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