Since preschool, I have lived on the edge of my seat, yearning (and often striving) for what I was to become. I longed to be "vine ripe" right out of the gate. The time it takes to get to where I'm going as a person seemed too lengthy of a project for the satisfaction of my spiritual thirst. My humanity has always been a bother to me. Something to be conquered each day in effort to silence the hindrance it was from my purposed life of victory in Christ as a champion for Him in His world.
To bear fruit has been my goal. Not a bad goal at all but God has given me a new goal for the "Month of Moldova" (As we have affectionately titled it). Forget the name September because on the World Race the months are really unimportant in the regular time keeping way. Things change day to day on the race and yet somehow are also all the same. Life changing movements of God in and around us become the timeline we move along. Not at all a bad way to live. Time just seems more precious and scarce.
John 15:1-2 says, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the Gardener. He cuts off every branch that does not bear fruit, while every branch that does, He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful."
The fact of the matter is that I will never be "vine ready" until I recognize that Christ IS the vine and between He and His Father, Who is the Gardener, my dependency for life and growth is solely in divine provision. All day can be spent bettering myself for the purpose of reaching the unattainable perfected harvest OR each moment of every day can be in surrender to the Life giver, the Vine.
Surrender is sort of a white flag mentality. It is a giving in though, as well as a giving up. Acknowledging that Christ in me produces life and growth and that my efforts are not to be great but to seep out God's greatness is giving up. Beginning to abide in THE Vine, Himself, well that is the very process of giving in. What does it mean to "abide?". . .yeah, I don't really know either. Haha! I'm learning too.
So this brings you up to date as to where I'm at inside of this growing time called the "Month of Moldova." Sorry if it seems cut short or like this lesson is not complete. That would be correct. The pruning stage is in process and although some moments hurt, the reaping will be delicious, bountiful, and all for the glory of the Gardener. God is teaching me a lot about the growing of fruit on the vine, literally and spiritually, the harvest of veggies and souls, and the raw truth of what it's like to abide. One day I will be "vine ready" but it will come as a surprise and then, well, I might be heaven bound and that's okay with me.
I close this post with a beautiful picture of the Month of Moldova:
As I lean my head back against the hut that contains something of animal kind in the spring, the shelter offers me just enough shade to rest my body and my heart for just a few moments. I've chopped wood with my team for several hours and at the summoning of our sweet little Babushka (Yes, the grandmother that can be found at the top of a 10 foot pile of trees, haling them down in pairs to be chopped at her own hand. She's incredible), we head to the a fore mentioned spot for a feast of vine ripe grapes (both purple and green , watermelon, and tomatoes of various colors and size. Spitting my many seeds out towards the eagerly approaching chickens, I peer across the earthen walkway at our Babushka who has plopped down on her bed, resting on the porch of her house. She sleeps outside as to not roast this time of year indoors. Everything she needs hangs on the pegs nailed into the exterior wall. Her bifocals are thick and the curvature of her spine has a radical bend from the weight she has carried for so many years. My heart did not need rest from the work load, no that was beneficial for body and spirit. My heart needed rest from the way it was being broken for the Babushka's of Moldova with every stick that flew to the near by pile. These grandmothers represent the past and the present of the country of Moldova but who will bring it into the future? So many have left it's parameters for a better life outside of what I currently sat among. As I swallowed my last bite of tomato wiping the juice with my glove from my chin, and slung my axe from the ground to my sore shoulder, I prayed. Moldova is great. God is not finished with Moldova, that is for certain and if all I can do is chop wood for our Babushka and pray until the end of this very day, that's what I'll do. And I'll remember the fresh fruit that grew among the dust of the country that is being left behind.