So. How did I know that God was telling me I needed to be pruned? For starters, apple season just ended and I’d been quite bombarded with the idea of pruning. We have a huge apple tree, an old one, that is just overgrown and scraggly and the apples are small, teeny-tiny, and they’re so high we’d never reach them. Wanting to not leave my property to pick apples, I Googled to find out how to restore this tree to a producer of good fruit. Pruning.
Apple trees need to be pruned in the winter, their branches need to be cut away so a large bird can fly through them and not clip its wings on branches. The buds of new branches pointing towards the trunk need to be pruned leaving only branches that reach away.
I paint and draw and take pictures of trees constantly.
At the end of The Relevant Conference, we worshiped with music. I pulled out my drawing markers and notebook and prayed as I drew a prayer, a tree. A verse came to mind as I was drawing and listening, “I am the vine” and I wrote that up the trunk of the tree.
“I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer. He cuts off every branch of me that doesn’t bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more. You are already pruned back by the message I have spoken.
“Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me.
“I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.
I’ve been a fruit-bearing vine. I’m sure of it. But it seems that God is showing me who he is. I’m a fruitful person, but I guess He thinks I need to be pruned to bear more fruit.
As I was drawing that tree and writing on it “I am the vine” I also drew some wind and wrote on it “and He whispers on the wind” I heard that small, still voice in my head telling me “Give this drawing to the first person who tells you it’s beautiful.” But no one did. So I put the drawing away and I chit-chatted with some girls at a nearby table.
Then, this special friend I met, Stepahie Bowman, sits down next to me and says something…
(sorry again) …to be continued.