Wednesday, August 25, 2010

R.E.A.L. Women Devotional - Bloom Where You Are Planted

A little less than two weeks ago we moved from Irvine to Mission Viejo. Yesterday I was reading the passage from John 15.

This particular passage is very precious to me as it was something the Lord spoke to me in 2006 when we were at the International Foursquare Pastors Conference. It was at that time, I was still grieving the closure of our church New Horizons that we had planted in Irvine. The Lord was gracious to place us at Cornerstone in Anaheim so that we would not have to move. In my heart, I truly felt the Lord had called us to Irvine and was so confused as to why our church did not survive.

While sitting in an evening session, I was listening to a pastor speak on Joel 2 and the greater days ahead. As I looked down at my name badge, it had written on it, “Jayme Hamilton, Irvine, CA”. Apparently, those in administration had not changed our location to Anaheim yet. As I looked at that, my heart ached because even though I lived in Irvine, our assignment to pastor there was no more. It was at that moment the Lord spoke to me, “Jayme, spell Irvine.” As I proceeded to spell it, all of the sudden I realized, “I R – vine.” The Lord said, “I R vine, U R branch, apart from me you can do nothing. Continue to bear fruit.” The Lord was telling me to continue to do what He had called us to, even though our church location was different.

It’s now August of 2010 and as of last week, I no longer reside in Irvine. The name of the city alone reminded me of my purpose. First of all, change is very difficult for me. I’m not one who transitions easy. Not to mention, this particular move has been incredibly difficult. Moving to Irvine seemed so smooth and yet this move just 13 miles south to Mission Viejo has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Not only in location, but it seems as though Mission Viejo is resisting us. We can’t get our mail, we’ve had a hard time getting our children registered for school, not to mention many other challenges.

Yesterday, I opened up the special devotion Pastor Jeff has asked us to do this week which was in John 15. John 15:1-8 says, “‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.’”

The verse that particularly spoke to me was verse 2 about cutting off the dead branches and even cutting off the fruitful branches. If you are familiar with gardening, the branches that die on the plant or vine, literally suck the life away from the plant. It’s kind of a gardening oxymoron. The dead branches have to be cut off if the plant is going to survive. On the other hand, the branches that do produce fruit or flowers have to be cut back so that they will produce more the next time around.

This move to some degree has been like that for me. I’ve had to purge so much of me in this move, not just materially, but emotionally too. I currently am feeling lost and as though I am bare. My heart seems to be empty and the dreams I once had for Irvine I’ve had to let go. But in reading John 15, verse 7-8 were comforting. As long as I stay connected to Jesus, I will live and new desires will be planted in my heart. His promise is that I will bear much fruit and the Father will be glorified.

Gardenia’s are my favorite flower. A month before we moved, I bought a gardenia plant and put it in a pot. It did not bloom for the whole month that I had it while I lived in Irvine. Three days after we moved into our new “temporary” home in Mission Viejo, that plant bloomed its first flower. That was no coincidence. That was God telling me, I’m still connected to Him and that I can still bear fruit. Since then it has sprouted new growth and another flower. I need let Him prune “me” so that I may bear more fruit. I need to bloom no matter where I’m planted.