Bloom. A theme God has placed on my heart for over a year now; a word He has whispered to me, over and over, revealing His truth in its many different meanings.
Thrive. Flourish. Open. To produce or yield fruit. Bloom.
To bloom or bear fruit is a theme threaded throughout the Scriptures. Jesus himself uses it as a powerful, yet gentle invitation; a call to action.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He 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. Remain in me as I also 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” (John 15:1-2, 4, NIV).
Upon reading these words in the midst of a season of change, I felt convicted. A deep desire began to awaken within my soul. What could this kind of transformation look like in my own life? What kind of fruit could I bear if I truly surrendered my life, my plans, and my daily desires to God and allowed my soul to bloom?
Over the past year, in my new role as a work-at-home mom, I didn’t feel much like I was thriving or flourishing. Balancing the daily demands of caring for three young children at home with my corporate job, left me little time for myself.
Most days ended in exhaustion, frazzled nerves, and battered emotions. I was wilting rather than blooming. Losing patience, growing frustrated, and feeling like a failure were regular occurrences.
It is all too easy for me to focus on the negatives and walk down an unhealthy path of introspection. Consistently putting pressure on myself to do better, be more, and strive harder each and every day to create a perfect life that pleases God. This misplaced quest for perfection can too easily become an obsession as if somehow controlling and correcting my circumstances will yield the perfect me. Against that kind of standard, I can never measure up. I am left feeling dejected and depressed; lacking confidence in my role as wife, mom, friend, and follower of Jesus.
Yet I know that striving for perfection is not what pleases God. I know that I am already deeply loved and accepted for who I am, through the redemptive blood of Jesus Christ, being made holy each day through His grace and love. I can, therefore, grow and learn and surrender every moment to the One who holds my very breath in His hands, knowing that He already loves me and always will. What pleases God the most is my growing relationship with Him. What He desires is that I remain in Him and lovingly cultivate a relationship that will supernaturally bear good fruit. The fruit that Jesus is talking about in John 15:
“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. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love” (John 15:5, 9, NIV).
A BLOSSOMING PERSPECTIVE
When I take a step back and look at the bigger picture, I am able to see how God has used this season of change in my life. More time at home has enabled new habits and rhythms to form: an established devotion time in the morning, new study materials and resources to utilize and share with my children, a new worship station on my Pandora account, a prayer journal with entries in it, and actually reading the non-fiction books by Christian authors that fill my bookcase.
I am aware of the Holy Spirit’s presence in my life now more than ever. Bible verses come more easily to mind in times of frustration. Worship songs are more readily on my tongue. Positive messages from church, radio, or my devotional books are remembered and applied to my family’s daily life. These are all indicators of spiritual growth—in myself, my husband, and my children. Fruit from my labor of love. Fruit from abiding in Jesus.
Throughout this season of growth, God has gently revealed His truth to me.
I am not a flower. I am a tree.
A flower will bloom for a time and then slowly wilt, fade, and die. A tree, on the other hand, has a grander, more beautiful story.
A fruit-bearing tree, such as an apple tree, begins as a seed and then burrows its roots deep underground. The process is painstakingly slow. Each of the four seasons come and go and that little seedling eventually makes its way above ground and begins to sprout. After three to four years, it will produce limb, leaf, and root growth and around the fifth year, an apple tree will finally blossom in the spring, grow during the summer, then produce a harvest of fruit in the fall. In the winter, it will rest in order to prepare for the coming year. That beautiful pattern continues to repeat itself over the tree’s lifespan—bloom, grow, bear fruit, rest.
BEARING GOOD FRUIT
When I view myself from this perspective, I realize I am exactly where I need to be. In the loving hands of my Creator God, my soul will bloom in the proper time. As I dig deep and reach upward toward the light, He prunes those parts of my life that don’t belong, enabling me to blossom into the woman He has created me to be.
Then, after the blossom, comes the fruit.
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. This is the fruit that will abound in my life when I draw near to God, remain in His love, seek Him out, and grow in relationship with Him.
MATURING IN CHRIST
Like a tree in the garden of God, I will grow stronger in His presence every day. My roots will run deep so that nothing can shake me, and my branches will reach heavenward praising His glory. Because it is His life through me, my beauty will captivate, and my fruit will bring nourishment to those around me while planting new seeds of growth in others.
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other” (John 15:16-17, NIV).
God has called each of us to a specific season and planted us exactly where He wants us to be. We are chosen. We are appointed. We have the power of the Holy Spirit within us. In every season of life, He will remain faithful and strong in His love for us. We need only to respond to His call to love Him and love others, in our homes, our communities, and the world around us. Then we can fully bloom at the proper time and bear the good fruit of His Spirit.
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