Thankful for the Vine

During this season of giving thanks,
as I have been reflecting on being a
mom, a stay at home mom, a wife, pastor’s wife, 
keeper of my home, teacher of my children, daughter, sister,
friend, godmother, child of God…
I easily become overwhelmed and also humbled. 
I am so thankful for all I get to do in this life,
but I also know that I can not do all this on my own strength.
My blog post today comes directly from the book I am reading
during my morning time.
It spoke into a deep part of my heart today,
and I wanted to share it with you.
Whatever stage of life you are in,
even if you are not a mom,
I believe what Karol Ladd has to say
can touch a deep part of each of us.
I hope it speaks to you.
From The Power of a Positive Mom
by Karol Ladd

“Our children are watching our actions and hearing our words every day.   
They are learning how to act and how to live as they read us. 
It is probably the most influencial book they will ever read, 
with the exception of the Bible.
In fact, reading it is guaranteed to be life-changing.

What are some of the chapters in our Living Lessons Saga?
Hopefully the table of contents read something like this:

Chapter 1
Maintaining Self-Control Even When You’re Tired and Frustrated
Chapter 2
Showing Patience in Traffic Jams and Grocery Store Lines
Chapter 3
Saying Kind Things about Others
Chapter 4
Telling the Truth, Even About the Little Things
Chapter 5
Helping others while they need a hand.
Chapter 6
Grumbling Less, Complimenting More
Chapter 7
Using Table Manners and Other Forms of Good Etiquette
Chapter 8
Obeying Traffic Rules and Laws
Chapter 9
Praying about all things, Worrying about Nothing.

Unfortunately, Many of our texts read a little differently…

Like it or not, our lives are an open book, 
continually read by the little eyes in our homes.  
The lessons we deliver to our children verbally may be wise and good, 
but lasting lessons are caught, not taught. 
It is rather sobering to realize that all the “right stuff” that comes out of our mouths can be made null and void if our kids do not see good character qualities lived out in 
our day-to-day lives.  
It is hard to be a good example. 
In fact, at times it seems downright impossible.
The apostle Paul spoke about this common struggle of knowing what we should do,
yet doing what we know we shouldn’t.

Romans 7:18-25 
“For I have the desire to do what is good, 
but I cannot carry it out. 
For what I do is not the good I want to do; 
no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep doing. 
Now if I do what I do not want to do, 
it is no longer I who do it, 
but it is sin living in me that does it… 
What a wretched man I am!  
Who will rescue me from this body of death?  
Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!!!!”

Paul knew that apart from Christ, we are hopeless.
But with Christ, all things are possible.
Jesus gave his followers hope when he said,
“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.”
 – John 15:5

Trying to be a good example in our own power leads to eventual failure,
but abiding in Christ brings fruitfulness and hope…
Is it the branch’s job to create the fruit and make it grow?  
No, the branch simply remains attached to the vine 
and receives the nourishment the vine brings. 
Detached from the vine, the branch can not bear fruit. 
But as it stays connected to the vine day by day,
 the fruit begins to grow naturally.  
How can you live as a good example in your home
 [work, school…].
Stay attached to the vine!  Abide in Christ. 
Continue in him; keep following him; rely on him;
 remain in him.  Stay close.  
To me, abiding with Christ means opening the door of my heart and saying, 
“Come into my house and abide here.”

Is Christ dwelling in you?
Is he just an acquaintance,
or is he an important part of your day-to-day life?
Remember, without him we can do nothing,
but with his strength we can be a good example.”

A blessed Thanksgiving to you all, dear family and friends!

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