This girl is NOT crafty. Hot glue guns, ribbon and construction paper actually kinda make me break out in hives….so when Mark came up with this amazing idea to create some craftiness to help out with our exciting new endeavor that we announced over here:) ….I took some Benadryl and reluctantly agreed to tackle it. I just feel so out of my element and unsure when it comes to anything artsy. However, I jumped in and asked a friend if I could cut down some grapevines in her yard and attempt to make wreath-shaped things.
Cutting the tangled mess and transporting it in the van with the boys was humorous enough. Then once we had it home I started to try to untangle it and make it twist and turn into little circles! As I wrestled with the stuff all afternoon and my fingers were pricked and scratched…it got me thinkin’.
You know in John 15 where Jesus talks about how He is the vine and we are the branches? Well those grapevines were alive before I pulled them out of the woods. They were dormant I suppose and not currently growing, but when I cut them inside each branch was green. The outside was brown and appeared dead, but if you followed that branch, eventually it led to a life source. But I cut them off from the life source. I corralled and captured them in the back of my van and drug them home. By the time I was wrestling them into wreath shapes they had been cut from the vine for about 5 hours. When I first started working with them they were bendy and pliable but by dinner time they were almost useless. They wouldn’t bend into a circle. Instead they simply snapped. Slowly their flexibility ebbed away and they pretty much became useless. As they became more and more difficult to work with, I was certain I had entered grapevine purgatory. Early in the afternoon I even soaked them in my bathtub to see if that would help the elasticity of the branches. It helped for about 15 minutes after I pulled them out of the water. Without receiving the moisture and energy they needed from the vine, their life source, they quickly became useless.
It made me think of Jesus’ analogy. We are the branches. When I stay connected to my life source, Jesus Christ, I am alive. I am useful and I can produce fruit. Even when I may not be producing much and I may not be looking very “pretty”…inside I am still alive and green and filled with potential. However, when I remove myself from the vine…I quickly become hardened, empty of potential, brittle, easily broken and useless. Even when I try to connect to false sources of energy, it may perk me up for a short amount of time, but eventually I return to being dried out. Oh, I can find plenty of false sources…fill me up with a great girls’ night out, or lots of exercise and fitness, how about a new project, or a super busy, productive schedule. I still end up empty and useless to the One that created me for His good purpose!
“5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.” John 15:5-6
I can certainly see how this happens in my own life. The further I disconnect by oversleeping and not spending time in His Word, by being lazy and not memorizing Scripture, by focusing more on Facebook, Twitter and my favorite sitcoms instead of intentional choices with my time that push me toward Jesus…well, the more easily broken I become by simple, daily struggles of life. When I am not plugged into my source of Living Water I soon begin to scratch and prick the people around me and quickly snap and break under normal pressures.
This was big for me! I want to be pliable in the Perfect Gardener’s hands and I do want to produce great fruit for Him! It was SUCH a tangible reminder for me that I HAVE to stay connected to the Vine. It also reaffirmed my great aversion for all things crafty:)