Thursday, July 10, 2008


We all have these kind of days. I've had a bunch of them lately. I guess the first trimester this time really threw me for a loop. With the other children, I was able to rest more. I still can rest, but I'm just extra tired this time. I could sleep 24 hours and it doesn't seem enough. Now that I'm in my second trimester, insomnia has kicked in during the middle of the night, and come morning and throughout the day, I'm just tired, and well, for me that can lead to blahness. But as I meditate on Scripture, the Holy Spirit is convicting me, that its likely more than just early pregnancy tiredness and blahness.

The Lord has led me to some wonderful scripture lately, both through a sermon at church, and through a friend. It is John 15, where it says Jesus is the vine, and we are the branches. A branch cannot bear fruit if it is apart from the vine. Many times in order for a branch to bear fruit, it needs to be pruned - if you've ever done any gardening, it just seems wrong to prune what otherwise seems like a healthy branch, but when you do, and the branches multiply, and you get more fruit or more flowers, you realize it was what was best for the plant.
When I'm feeling blah, feeling like doing nothing but taking naps, driving through drive-thrus, in other words, taking the easy way out, its because my focus is on me, not on Jesus. I'm trying to bear fruit, but on my own strength, without trying to draw my strength and life from the Vine. Because I try to do it on my own so often, I end up burning out and feeling blah - and then I go through a number of days not doing what I should, but doing what I feel like, and that is nothing. John 15:4-5 says "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the Vine, ye are the branches; He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." So the Scripture here tells me, that if I try it on my own, I will in fact be able to do nothing.

"The goal in life is FRUIT not happiness" (quote from our Pastor). Oh how I have this messed up! How much of my life is focused on my comfort and happiness? "I'm feeling blah today kids, how about McDonalds? Honey, can you pick up a pizza on your way home, I didn't feel like cooking tonight. Mommy needs her rest kids, you need to watch this video and not talk so I can sleep." Okay, doing this once in a great while is not bad in and of itself, sometimes when sickness comes (or just for fun), its okay - but when one day leads to the next, and the next, and the - it does become a very bad thing.
So how do I get through the blah days when I don't feel like it. Well, first and foremost, I need to take the focus off me and put it on Christ where it belongs. I will have no fruit if I'm trying to grow and do things on my own - remember apart from Christ "[I] can do nothing". Cut off a branch from the main Vine - and it will slowly die. When my focus is completely on Jesus Christ, I will do things because it is the right thing to do, because it is pleasing to Him, whether or not I feel like it or not. It doesn't matter if I'm tired, or if I'm wronged, or.....I still need to do the right, and godly, thing. I am a wife, and a mother. The right thing for me to do is to be a help meet for my husband and to care for and train my children. Getting out of bed just as my husband is heading to work, throwing the kids a bagel as they watch Clifford and a bunch of other shows, is not accomplishing what I must do. Ways I could help and bless my husband, is to get up with him, keep him company in the morning, lovingly make his lunch, pour his coffee as he's heading out the door, etc. Ways I could care for and train my kids is to make them a healthy breakfast, read the Bible to them as they eat, take them to the park (even when I don't feel like it), smile at them, etc. You see what I'm saying?

A poem that I've come across many, many times is one Elisabeth Elliot quoted:

Do The Next Thing

At an old English parsonage down by the sea,

there came in the twilight a message to me.

Its quaint Saxon legend deeply engraven

that, as it seems to me, teaching from heaven.

And all through the hours the quiet words ring,

like a low inspiration, 'Do the next thing.'
Many a questioning, many a fear,

many a doubt hath its quieting here.

Moment by moment, let down from heaven,

time, opportunity, guidance are given.

Fear not tomorrow, child of the King,

trust that with Jesus, do the next thing.
Do it immediately, do it with prayer,

do it reliantly, casting all care.

Do it with reverence, tracing His hand,

who placed it before thee with earnest command.

Stayed on omnipotence, safe 'neath His wing,

leave all resultings, do the next thing.
Looking to Jesus, ever serener,

working or suffering be thy demeanor,

in His dear presence, the rest of His calm,

the light of His countenance, be thy psalm.

Do the next thing.

Today, I will reconnect with the VINE so that with His strength, I can do the next thing.

All these pictures are from my gardens last year. This year, my vegetable garden bed is a bunch of weeds, kind of symbolic as to what's going on in my heart. With the Lord's help, I can have victory, and those weeds can become beautiful fruit, pleasing and glorifying to Him! But it can only happen if I'm connected to the Vine - Jesus Christ. It is all about having a personal relationship with Him. Want to know more? Here is a link that explains the very first step into entering a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.


Liz said...

Hi Jen - good stuff...our mom's class at VBS is doing a study on the same exact topic that you just blogged...Christ is the vine, we are the branches....oh how wonderful it is to really "get it" and produce fruit from our Lord! Keep it up, you're doing fine...remember you are pregnant, and it's ok to take it easy. Don't stress the small stuff.....keep your eyes on Jesus, He will give you strength for each day. Take a nap, and rest some, there's nothing wrong with that. Love, Liz

Jen said...

Thanks Liz!

Yes I agree 100% its okay to rest and take it easy, but for me its more than that. It isn't just when I'm pregnant, this is a common way that I've been long before I ever was pregnant with our first baby! I thought that if my life was pleasing to the Lord, that I would have nothing but happiness and life would be so easy! Well that just isn't how life is, and as I've been searching to figure out why, the Lord revealed some ugly selfishness in my life (notice I said how I thought how happy *I* would be, etc. My life focus has been all about *ME*, not uncommon for today's American Christian unfortunately).

Its been through this time of resting a lot because of being newly pregnant, that I've been able to really meditate on John 15 and other Scripture, and realize for the first time in my Christian life, that it really, truly has absolutely, positively nothing to do with my comfort, rest, happiness, etc. but it has all to do with JESUS! You know what? There's been a peace in my heart that I haven't had ever. There is so much more to learn, I know, but I think I'm finally getting a little bit of a grasp on something that I never have before, but that is very vital for a Christian to learn - that is, it truly is about JESUS :) Simple as that :) Life can be tough, I can have "blah" days, but when my focus is on Jesus, and my contentment is found in Him alone, I don't get caught up in how I'm feeling, but I get caught up in what I can do that is right and pleasing for HIM. You know what I mean?

Thank you Jesus!

Liz said...

Hi Jen - I totally know what you mean, I'm not there yet....still getting caught up in my "life" and anxiety, but it's getting a bit better...but I'm learning that true happiness isn't gonna come from my family, friends, or material things...but only in Christ alone...I'm learning it - and it's funny how you blogged about it, and how we are learning about that in VBS Mom's class this week...the Lord is speaking to me through you and our class. Thank you so much! I've been struggeling with this so much lately, about my anxiety, and know and believe all I have to do is turn my eyes to Jesus! Keep up the good work, you have blessed me so!!! Love the pictures of your gardens, go and do some planting - that will help motivate you too! Love, Liz

Anonymous said...

It's always SO hard not to focus on self, especially in a self-filled world. We have every modern convienence to "help" us but it become more of a self-focus and a market to make us feel good.

What a good post!

Get some rest ;)

Loni said...

Oh Jen, this is so true and exactly what I am going through right now as well. I have been so busy with life that when I get any time "off" I am selfish and lazy and feel empty becuase I am not using my time for His purpose.

Sometimes we know what's right, and yet we are still missing the link that actually gets us to DO what's right.

Personally I feel closest to God when my life is quiet and I am often at home. This is hard for me becuase I am a social butterfly and I really like to be involved and in the middle of things. And right now there is a lot going on with my friends and school. But then when I come home, I feel empty in a place that usually fills me. So, this is just what I needed. Thank you!!

Stay, stay at home, my heart, and rest;
Home-keeping hearts are happiest,
For those that wander they know not where
Are full of trouble and full of care;
To stay at home is best.

Weary and homesick and distressed,
They wander east, they wander west,
And are baffled and beaten and blown about
By the winds of the wilderness of doubt;
To stay at home is best.

Then stay at home, my heart, and rest;
The bird is safest in its nest;
O'er all that flutter their wings and fly
A hawk is hovering in the sky;
To stay at home is best.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow