After each chapter the author's ask great questions like...."If you were certain your life as you know it would end in a few weeks, what would be your biggest regret?", "What was the biggest time waster in your past week? What was the payoff for you? Did it distract you, entertain you, allow you to avoid someone?", and "What are the current barriers to spiritual health in your life?". There are also tasks the author's ask you to partake in...Write a letter or prayer to God, being as honest as you can about your present disappointments and frustrations or Keep a time journal this week, and jot down how you spend each day or Instead of a roller coaster, what symbol or metaphor would you choose to describe what your life would look like if you were fully engaged? Try to come up with something as unique as you are. It has been great to reflect on these questions and scenarios and trying to make changes in my life that can really impact my self-esteem, my marriage, my religion, my friendships, my job, and my EVERYTHING!
Last night, I read the fourth day (Chapter 4) and the section titled Fruitful Living REALLY caught my attention...
Jesus said: 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. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.~John 15:1-5
WOW!! This made such an impact on me...first it reminds me that I can do nothing without my faith. I can not have the baby that I so long to have without putting God and my faith first. God is the vine..with Him, all things are possible. I am the branch and the branch can bear the fruit, but without the vine, the branch can't produce the fruit. Sometimes I try to become the vine...I set up agendas, plans, and schedules and I try to make everything happen according to my timetable. Then I get frustrated and feel like giving up. But it's not up to me to produce the results...it's up to Him.
Right now I'm in the pruning stage. Pruning, by definition, is to rid or clear of anything superfluous or undesirable. Pruning, as most gardeners know, is the key to producing the best fruit. I am constantly asking Him to make my life more fruitful...with my infertility, my marriage, my family, my job. Sometimes I feel as if He is not hearing my desires or prayers, and although the pruning process is painful, it is also productive. He continues to prune me so I will be able to bear more fruit and not just any fruit, but the best fruit.
I am telling you this book is AMAZING and a MUST read!! I must admit, although I LOVE the title of my blog and thought I was OH SO clever coming up with it...this book is helping me to realize that God is the ultimate Gardener...I am merely the branch.