Wednesday, August 12, 2009

appreciating new growth

"He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit,
while every branch that does bear fruit
he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful."
John 15:2 (NIV)

When you look at this photo, do you see death or new life? Too often I focus on the areas within myself that are broken and forget to recognize the areas of growth the Lord has brought me.

I found myself thinking about the prodigal son again this morning. The Lord showed me that there is even more to what I once thought was a simple, straight-forward story. (There always is.)

When I focus on all that's "broken" in my life I end up feeling defeated. Rather than seek the Lord in relationship, I turn to Him in frustration.

The inheritance I demand is far more than a financial settlement. I demand perfection. And like Veruca Salt in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, "I want it, and I want it NOW!"

I become tired of battling the same sins, weaknesses and problems day in and day out. I want the Lord to change me and I don't want to wait any longer.

Ouch. Just reading that last sentence makes my ears (and heart) ache. It's certainly not pretty, is it?

I began to pray about my negative attitude and lack of gratefulness for all that the Lord has done for me so far. He showed me five areas that I can focus on.

First of all, I can stop navel gazing, as one of my favorite counselors calls it. :-) When I'm so focused on myself, I'm missing out on all of the blessings and goodness around me.

Second, I can stop focusing on seemingly "broken" areas and acknowledge the new life God has brought me.

Third, I can be thankful for the work that God has done in my life. Oh, He has done so much! I'm sad how quickly I forget the miracles He has worked on my behalf.

Fourth, I can trust in His timing and know that He is working in and through me, regardless of whether I see it or not.

Finally, I can continue to seek more of Him. It is only through my relationship with Him that I find the grace, strength and power I need to live each day victoriously.

It's through His grace that He sees me, not the mess I feel like, but the redeemed child He so greatly adores.

It's in my weakness that His strength is glorified.

And, it's through His power that all things are being made new.

Isn't He amazing?!?

Friend, I pray that you are able to see the areas in your life that God has brought growth and victory. I pray that God will give you the grace to trust in His timing and care.

May we may both rest in the safe hands of the Gardener. And may we trust that He will prune away the unnecessary branches allowing for new life and blossoms to grow.

Keep pursuing Him and enjoy LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!

Off to spend time with my merciful Gardener,


Searching for God in the everyday said...

From one "mess" to another I want to say, thanks. This is something that God needed me to hear today. Thank you for helping my eyes to open and realize all that God has done in my life too. Your thoughts are precious and encouraging. Thanks you for your transparency and for letting God use you to minister to others.
Blessings sweet friend,
Cory =)

Julie said...

Amy Jo,
Thank you for your visit to my blog and your sweet words there. Isn't it amazing when you write something on your heart... go to another blog and find out that God has put it on another person's heart too?

I love the prodigal son story. I've learned so much from it. What I've come to discover is that there is always a story behind the story... I had read that passage all my life and never saw Jesus in the picture until recently...

I'm sure there will be more revelations the next time I read it. God's good that way!

Thanks again for stopping by. It's really nice to meet you!

Andrea said...

Amen and Amen! The whole negaholic syndrom...good thing to get rid of, I too am a little impatient when I want God to change something within me. I would like the quick fix, when I can see that He's already done tremendous work. I need to step up and do my part. ;o)
Thank you for posting from your heart!

LivingforGod said...

Thanks, Amy Jo, for visiting my blog and for leaving a comment! We used to live in FG but now we're in Newberg. Where are you in Oregon?

By the way, you have a beautiful blog here. Have a blessed day in the Lord!

Jennifer said...

Once again, beautifully said.

I'm going to have to remember the "navel gazing" phrase. My husband and I were talking about the same thing the other day, as we're trying to adjust and process through all that's going on in our life. It's frustrating how quickly we take our eyes off the Lord and make it all about us.

Thanks again for sharing...