Sometimes we find ourselves on the downhill side of our journey, coasting yet unmoving as we go. We are imperceptibly unaware of the momentum, but somehow we know we are moving. And then we stop. These are the shocking moments on the journey because they reveal the true state of our being, or at least the crossroads of decision that usually disrupts us.
Traveling the road of familiarity is a monotonous path, friends, and sometimes we need a crack on the sidewalk of our traipsing to make us take notice.
Looking at yourself through the eyes of redemption is supposed to show us what changed the day grace met us at the Cross and if you are not seeing that, then you are looking through a lens that is not filtered by His sacrifice. That doesn’t mean, however, that we gloss over the hard and the difficult. Here in those places is where the seed of hope takes shape.
Hope, when it is poured out of heaven’s storehouse is meant to bloom. It will bloom because not one thing that is heaven sent will return to Him void.
So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall prosper in the thing for which I have sent it. – Isaiah 55:11
Yet even hope needs to be pruned sometimes, because the pruning produces abundance. Even when it feels like the road through our vineyard has halted, there is purpose in it all. Sometimes we have to look into the exile of the heart to see the path towards joy and peace. Sometimes, it takes a pouring out of the excess that comes in the form of distraction to reveal the vacancy of cultivation that the staking requires. When our hearts are pruned of the unnecessary appendages that only sap life, weakness forces us to be held upright in the strength of His grace.
Hope poured out is abundant and overflowing, it comes at a cost, at times. It comes with a breaking.
And I remember the sprout the root of Jesse, who grew up strong and true was broken for me. And it brings me back to this cross-filled living that beckons my heart to pause in the momentum of living and to give up these distractions that entangle my soul.
The breaking of the unnecessary seems too painful at the time. Breaking hurts. But we need to be broken by the power of the Cross so that we can be humbled but the passion of overflowing hope.
It’s the hope that fills. It’s the hope that redeems. It’s the hope that restores.
May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing with hope. – Romans 15:13
A prayer has been building in my heart that bears a repeating chorus. It is on my lips as I lay down to sleep and waiting there as I rise, beckoning the eternal hope that He has ignited to stake this battle scarred heart.
Take this burden and lead me to carry this cross walking with you, Lord. Show me how to pick up my cross and follow hard after you. Give me a heart, tender, cultivated and pruned by grace so that hope bubbles over and fills in the empty spaces of those that I bump into on the journey.
And as the day transpires, I meet the distractions waiting in the path; how quickly the head forgets what the heart desires, and life sort of gets in the way. I come back to the altar of repentance because even though He lives in me, I forget to let him live through me , too.
How can I long to be pruned but still pick up the branches that are cut off and hold them close?
And the prayer is uttered again because confession is good for the soul, and petitioning grace reveals the distractions really aren’t that big and grace was never really that far from my reach.
And the vacancy that felt like a canyon was only a gap bridged by the cross and dripping with hope.
And because even when the day starts in prayer but is loaded with distractions meant to steal, there is a redeeming promise that salvation seals tight within our heart.
Though we are bearing the cross, carrying the load, it is not on our own. We have exchanged the yoke and carry a cross where love ran red and pure. The blossom of hope , once feeling broken and stunted, will not be cut off, because a pruned your heart yields an overflow which bears the name of eternal grace.
For you shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree; and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off. – Is 55:12-13
I have been feeling the burden for those who are feeling broken by life, wounded by the distractions, and jarred by the unexpected stop where reality face plants our faith. It seems, in that moment, that you are forgotten, but friend… can I remind you that you are ever before the face of the Lord who is interceding for you. My prayer for you is the same as the one I offer… May your burden be left at the foot of the cross and may He show you how to pick up the cross and follow hard after him.
The Lord has been meeting me each morning as I go to His Word and I am challenged to be the woman who leaves it all at the Cross. I am challenged to be the one who follows hard after Him and leaves the unnecessary weight of the distraction behind. Will you join me?
>>>>A challenge to walk together friends:Having an active faith in the midst of a distracting world by letting His Word cut away and His Presence prune is necessary for hope to blossom within our heart.
I am spending September reading through the book of Acts and allowing Him to prune my heart. I’d love to have you join me over on my FB page where I will share the journey with you there through the week. Perhaps we can have virtual coffee together and ruminate on the powerful way He changes us as we let him cut away the distractions and fill us with hope.
Joining Friends on the Journey.
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I’ve never thought of hope needing to be pruned, but I definitely see your point and agree. Thanks, Dawn. Grateful with you that we can leave our distractions at the cross!
Thought-provoking post for me, Dawn. No matter what I definitely want His love, grace and mercy to sustain me. Enjoyed visiting from the #TellHisStory linkup.
I’m so thankful for your comment on my blog, to have the chance to also visit you. What a wonderful blog, so full of wisdom and rich use of scripture! I love this, “Yet even hope needs to be pruned sometimes, because the pruning produces abundance. Even when it feels like the road through our vineyard has halted, there is purpose in it all.” I’ve been facing this lately, a refining of my hope,I know for God’s purpose! I leave it all at the cross!! Blessings!
Pruning can be such a hard thing. I like the way you relate brokenness to pruning and the hope of abundant new growth. Thank you for the encouragement to see pruning as a positive thing and providing a great prayer to say in that situation. Linking with you at ThreeWordWednesday.
Discipline/breaking, for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who are trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Hebrews 12:11
Praise God He breaks and prunes those that are His! Thank you for sharing. I enjoyed stopping by today. Have a blessed day:)
Interesting, pruning in hope of new growth. What a challenge when pruning is looked at as pain. Thanks for being my neighbor at #LookingUp.
“How can I long to be pruned but still pick up the branches that are cut off and hold them close?”
Friend, you nailed it with that one. That is SO me. I want to be more like Him. I want to be conformed to His image. But then when He starts chiseling away at my stony places or clipping at the branches I thought were doing just fine, well, I’m not such a willing piece of art or fruit any longer. Oh, to be so filled with trust that my automatic reaction is joy at the pain.
As always … so blessed to be here. I’ll be popping over through Sept. to hear more about what Acts is doing in your life 🙂
Beautiful words that speak encouragement into all of us. I need to be that person that leaves it all at the cross and I want o join the journey even though I am not very good at it. Praying we all know our hope is from God and by leaving our messiness at His feet we can become who has always planned for us to be. Thank you for sharing this at Weekend Whispers.
Well, Dawn, these are powerful words … especially this right here –> ’till pick up the branches that are cut off and hold them close?’
Ouch. You hit home, girl.
And I thank you …
Your place is like a breath of fresh air. Your words calm my soul. Thanks for linking up at #ThreeWordWednesday.
This is a fantastic post!! Thank you for linking this up with us at Grace & Truth!! You’re a vital part of our community and we appreciate reading your posts!
Oh Dawn, thank you for the reminder that *He* is interceding for me. Why do I so easily forget that sweet, sweet truth? Love Him. And, your words here: “The vacancy that felt like a canyon was only a gap bridged by the cross and dripping with hope.” So poetic. Love that. Thanks for sharing. ((hug))