Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Apart from Him

There is a tree here in Mexico called lluvia de oro.
It looks exactly as it is named.
The name meaning "golden shower tree"
And it literally appears that golden flowers are raining from the tree.
It is quite lovely.
I love flowers and I love yellow. So you can imagine the love affair I have with this particular tree.

Once when I was taking Lincoln on a walk and we were headed home, we passed a lluvia de oro (one that is just a block from our place) The ground around it was covered in thick layers of the golden flowers. It seemed that the overnight rainstorm had pulled them from the branches.

Of course I didn't pass up the opportunity to pick a bunch up and head home with them. I feel like it's pretty taboo to yank them from someone's tree...but when they are all over the ground, I consider them to be fair game.

I had this brilliant idea.
A few weeks before, I had purchased these darling little glass vases from H&M Home. I had been in search of the perfect little flowers to put in them.
It was fate.

I filled the vases with water and trimmed the lovely little flower bunches to fit in them.

They were perfect.

I found myself hoping they would last forever. Just the way they looked in that moment.

But then something hit me.
A spiritual lesson of sorts.
I tend to learn many of these things through nature.

Those little flowers would indeed not last very long at all...despite the water and the pretty vase and my warm welcome.
They would not last because they were not meant to last or survive or thrive apart from their branch.
They were not meant to be detached and resettled.
They were loveliest and most vibrant when they were attached to the branch that is firmly holding onto and growing out 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. -John 15

Apart from Him I can do nothing.
Apart from Him I cannot survive or thrive because I am not meant to.
Apart from Him I will wither and fade.
I cannot expect to emit vibrant, beautiful color and life when I am not abiding in Christ.
Just as that little flower can only be its truest self when it is hanging delicately from those branches, I can only be my truest self when I am clinging to my branch and my source of all things, Jesus Christ.

Oh how painful it is to learn the effects of not abiding in Christ.
How often my pride has run itself smack dab into a concrete wall and I have cried out in frustration because I simply cannot do it any longer. How many times I have curled up in bed at the end of a long, draining day with tears spilling down my cheeks as I choke out desperate prayers to heaven...
only to quickly realize my fault.
My fault is hardly ever what I think it is...not being strong enough or brave enough or organized enough or talented enough...
My fault is almost always having ever thought that I was enough to begin with.
Because of course I never was. I never have been nor will I ever be.
My fault is always forgetting to express my need for Christ from the start. Failure to even realize my need for Him and my complete lack of capability to face any day apart from Him.
My fault is always failing to abide in Him and who He is.
My fault is believing even for a brief moment in time that I can remain a vibrant, life giving flower away from my life giver.

So today and for all of the days in my foreseeable future, I am doing my best to correct the error in my ways. I am consciously and intentionally praying to abide.

One of my worst fears is becoming a faded, wilting flower that lacks color and life and joy.
Today might we all abide in Christ and by remaining in Him, remain the loveliest of blooms scattered 'round His great big beautiful world.

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