Sometimes the things we get most attached to, the things we are most proud of, are only taking up space where lasting fruit could be growing. – Jennifer Kennedy Dean, Life Unhindered!
Wow. I read this quote this week while sitting in our hotel room at the Legacy Center on the campus of Southern Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Southern was and is a place very near to our hearts – Chris has three degrees from there, I worked there for a number of years, and we lived in a nearby neighborhood for almost eight years.
I realize that, at times, our years at Southern and serving at New Salem Baptist Church in Cox’s Creek, Kentucky, could be those “fruitless” branches for me now. We spent some wonderful years in Louisville. Chris thrived in the academic environment and in his part-time ministry position, and I made some great friends, met some wonderful and influential people, and was able to serve our denomination and the greater Church through the work that I did. I am amazed at all we were able to do and experience while we lived there.
But now that God has moved us on, I have to let go of those days. They are the past, and while it is wonderful to remember God’s hand in our lives then, it is not the life that He has for us today. Don’t misunderstand me – we believe that we are right where God has called us to be, and that makes ministry a joy. But, we are in a different season – we live in Western Kentucky, we have a small child, Chris serves in a fulltime ministry position, and I stay at home. Our days now are very different than they were when we lived in Louisville.
I am learning that if I hold the past too close to my heart, I will be unable to be fully present in the “now” – the place that God has for me today. The past is a wonderful testimony to God working in our lives, and the future is unknown. Doing what God has called me to do TODAY is most important.
I want to bear fruit that lasts. Pruning hurts – we have to let go of a part of us so that we can produce the kind of fruit that God desires. But just as my plants look so much better after I have pruned them, so will we, if we will just submit to the process.