These beautiful dogwood tree’s are lining the streets around are parts.
They are pouring out their beautiful white flowers.
And today, with the winds blowing, it was like white snow falling all over our cars and onto the streets.
It was seriously beautiful.
And it really got me to thinking about those verses in John which talk about “the vine and the branches”-
Jesus is teaching this parable about life apart from Him vs. life with Him.
And as I was trying to remember the words, I realized I didn’t really remember them at all.
So, I got out the Big Book, and started reading.
seriously stuck out.
Like way to much packed in such a short amount of words.
Like a lot of posts for this little party today.
So, I will share what really grabbed at me. Quickly, without being too wordy (goodness me, this has always been an issue).
“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me… I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”
(verses 4 & 11)
Both were the two highlighted in my Bible.
And both together when combined (in thought) just struck me today.
Remaining & Joy.
And how closely entertained these guys are together.
God’s just really working on my heart these days about the concept and idea of being.
Of remaining I guess you could say.
I see how too much of my time is spent traveling away, making my own plans, carving out my own creativity, building my own tents.
I mean, I know in theory the importance of “remaining” but in practice?
I want to literally swing on the branches of the tree, sway up high, and look from the heights of the tree out at the beauty of the landscape around.
I want to be in charge of my own tree.
Sometimes I don’t want to literally remain.
I want to know the whole enchilada.
I want the map, the keys, the outline, the guideposts, the food stops (see my snack attack daughter and I really have a lot in common after all) and the joy of the journey.
I want to KNOW the joy I am going to have before I have it.
I want it all.
Now, now, now.
And yet, remaining means not knowing.
Being a branch and not the vine means to be on a need-to-know basis.
And yet, God promises us, by remaining, by waiting it out, by staying plugged in, not only are we going to bear much fruit (love this)
we are going to experience
joy within us that is complete.
Not joy that is taken to soon, or joy that is only doled out once or twice in a day, a week or a year.
But joy that is consistent.
Joy, that is not of ourselves, from ourselves or within ourselves
(from our little branches)
but Joy that is From the Vine.
That never runs dry.
So, as I started looking up pics on Pinterest, and found that this beautiful tree that I have been obsessing over is called a dogwood tree, I was struck with a tad bit of awe when reading this on one of the captions describing a dogwood tree…
” The abundant creamy-white bracts of Cornus florida ‘White Cloud’ open before the leaves emerge”.
I was like huh.
(Being blonde, and being me, I usually have to process facts like this a couple times).
I loved this even more.
These little flowers (which came from the branches, and which are plugged into the vine)
bloom before the leaves even show up to this party.
The JOY is so complete that it can’t help but open up,
speak of its Creator
before its leaves are revealed.
The Joy is there before the plan is even revealed. And the Joy is given away for others to enjoy without knowing the outcome or the future.
The Joy in that flower is given away freely.
Kinda funny how the next verses go onto really talk about love.
And loving ones neighbor and friend as himself.
Heavy words like…
“greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends”.
Hard to do when we aren’t full of Joy.
Even more challenging to do when we are not bearing fruit.
Impossible to do when we are not a branch remaining in the vine.
Wanting to be Joyful. Full of Joy. In the remaining, like that flower, giving myself away (my plans, my goals, my dreams, my agenda)
through remaining in Him, so that I can bear much fruit, for His Glory.