It’s Independence Day in America, and I’m wondering how it got to be this late in the year. July 4th is kind of a big deal here. We are celebrating the “birthday” of our country, the day upon which our famous document, The Declaration of Independence, was signed. I grew up watching community fireworks celebrations, and I never missed a single year until recently. It was pouring rain in our town, so the festivities were postponed for a day or two a couple of years ago.
So, how did it get to be July already? The thing is, I seem to always be sideswiped by the month of May. Do the dozens of concerts, plays, induction ceremonies, awards ceremonies, graduation parties, bridal showers, birthdays, etc. in May make you feel your are on a carnival ride and cannot get off? That is how it can feel to me.
This May, we had a crisis thrown into the traditional mix. My husband, Scott had his appendix burst, and spent about a week in the hospital. The day of his surgery was the day of my kids’ dress rehearsal for a concert, as well as my daughter’s receipt of a “letter,” neither of which she was allowed to miss for any reason.
I managed to keep myself together, with the support of my family and friends, during this time. But, all the stress and insanity of schedule eventually took its toll. I was stressed out!
In times of intense stress, it’s good to be reminded that I am not alone. We are not alone. I had the opportunity to paint in a couple of church services during May and June. Both times, I felt inspired to paint grape vines. In the book of John, we are told that branches which bear fruit will be pruned, and this is a good thing. Come to think of it, it did sort of feel like someone was whacking away at me! Jesus also tells us that remaining (abiding) in the vine (God and His love) is the only way to bear fruit. He also calls us “friends.”
Sometimes it’s not so easy to remember just how close God actually is. That He actually invites me to live “in” Him. Thinking about these verses and what they mean has helped me through this difficult time. Now, my grape vine is producing grapes. Every day as I walk through my garden, I can be reminded of the True Vine, my source of life.