by Ginger Harrington
I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. John 15:5
Life on the vine is not always an easy place to live.
Certain challenges come with vine living.
Fruit grows in a process through the seasons. There is order and purpose—a plan for each season. There are days when waiting for fruit to ripen in God's timing challenges us to abide in faith.
God uses time and seasons to bring things to maturity. We can’t rush the seasons, and trying to rush God is never successful. I have tried it, with nothing to show for my efforts but frustration. Both character and kingdom fruit are subject to God’s timetable, and this includes the word-fruit of publishing.
We Can’t Skip the Process
Here’s another tactic that doesn't work: we can't skip a season just because we don't like it. This makes perfect sense with nature. The fruit God is growing in our lives seems like it should grow faster. However, God usually chooses the law of gradual growth, and we often grow impatient with ourselves. Writing is no different.
Writing as Fruit
For me, writing is fruit that increases as I abide in Christ. Receiving the life of God, my fruit matures and words flow. Some fruit is content that I work for--I stretch and strain for each word, as God matures discipline and craft. But then there are the joy-days when His words reach for me with penetrating power.
Content a gift received.
Grace and gratitude nourish a heart that too easily leans to discouragement. These are the days God whispers straight to my soul that published or not, my writing is worship. It is Kingdom fruit. Each word and concept planted is pure joy, and God’s Kingdom fruit is never late.
As a new writer, God is growing fresh words through my branch. The 2012 Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference was my first exposure the professional side of writing. Wide-eyed and eager, I was welcomed by writers and staff who generously shared from the fruit of their experience. Soaking it all in, I yearned for the coming harvest. I still do.
I have been working on some aspect of my first book—developing, revising, learning, field-testing-- for what seems like forever. With my eyes impatient for harvest, I look at my developing words and fight against the temptation to judge fruit before it is complete.
Shortsighted, I think fruit is about the book, rather than the writer that God is maturing through the process.
These are moments I forget God tends to my branch and I am nurtured in His loving care. Words of self-criticism multiply like weeds, threatening to choke out the Word-life that pulses through the vine. These are the days when my unfinished grapes look more like raisins, scorched in the heat of comparison and insecurity. Not good enough, too much this, too little that, you'll never make it--these are the thought-weeds that need pruning.
- Write in faith.
- Write as worship.
- Wait with patience.
Receive joy in the process--these are the encouragements that God, Gardener to all vine-life, plants in my heart.
- I relax.
- I believe.
- I smile.
I rest again in confidence that God brings growth, and the harvest is His specialty.
Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. Galatians 6:9
Active as a teacher, writer, speaker, and worship leader, Ginger brings a passion for encouraging others to discover practical ways to go deeper with God. This ministry focus is reflected in her blog: Ginger’s Corner: Where the Spiritual Meets the Practical. Ginger writes regularly for http://pwoc.org (PWOC International) and for http://www.northstarwomensnetwork.org (NorthStar Women’s Network). Ginger is currently working on The Quiet Time Guide, which is designed to become a series of books, applying simple ways to listen, learn, apply, and retain deep learning through a regular relational time with God.
To make reservations for the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer's Conference, call 1.800.588.7222.
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