Throughout the past week, my family and I have thoroughly enjoyed our time together. We had made a plan to visit a destination along the Gulf of Mexico many months back. It was a goal that my wife and I had that involved many hours of labor, planning and preparation. We are here, enjoying the executed plan, and spending our time away from the home life. We are doing things that will remain in our hearts and minds. The peace that this trip is bringing is a treasured gift.
There was a time when a vacation was not possible. The funds weren’t there. The planning was not possible. The time to take off from work wasn’t available either. A destination along the coast was just a dream that we had. A far-off place, for someone else. We would talk at times about the things to come, and would just daydream about the warm weather, soft sandy beaches, sunshine, marine life and the rest and relaxation of a different environment. Far away from the norm, and comfortable within its pleasures.
As I have grown into an older man, I take things in differently than I used to. There are so many times that are instilled in my memories, composed of a menagerie of sad and stressful moments. It was so consuming, for so many years. It has taken me a long time to figure out how to release past experiences, loathing, and emotional restraints. It took me time to experience thought control, and most of all, finding a place of peace within myself.
There is a foundation that was laid as I grew through and beyond all of these experiences that were hindering the love of God. That love; His guiding presence, is what now drives my desire to remain in Him. Years back, as I was learning more about the Lord through His Word, I read the words of Jesus. Within my reads, I had many verses that really spoke to my heart. One of which, was John 15:5…
John 15:5 (NIV)
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.
I wrote the verse on a post-it note and hung it in my office at work. Each day I would meditate on the realness of these few words. I really cannot do anything apart from Him. I cannot bear the weight of the trials and tribulations that come my way. I cannot enjoy this life that is now present. I cannot accept the things and people who have died that meant the world to me. I would not be writing about the power within, that is solely His. There would be no way of giving anything of myself to anyone else, because the pride that I carried for so long was because of a lack of love. Inwardly, I could not accept peace, love and joy, so there was no way to emanate these things outwardly. I could not walk along these waters without a preoccupied mind, full of stress and anxieties. I could not be nourished by His Vine.
A strong reoccurrence swept over me a short time back that had me really digging deep within. The realization of how my heart and mind connects. I push to be part of “His Vine”, in order for the heart to be supplied, the mind to be nourished, and my Spirit bearing His fruits. Love, joy peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control.
A life cut-off from the love of Jesus Christ is a life of what I had experienced. Those days of uncertainties, pains without remedy and a depressed heart. A mind of torment. If we could all be nourished by His vine of unlimited vitality, void of sin, we wouldn’t need a vacation. I will gladly embrace the experiences within his grace, until the returning of His eternal peace.