Ephesians 3:17-19 I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power together to grasp how wide and how long and how deep is the love of Christ.
A month ago, I wouldn’t have bet a million dollars that folding laundry for a month would change my life. But I left 25 days of stain sorting and towel folding with strangers turned sisters in Christ and a heart overflowing with the joy of the Lord. I returned home praying for bravery, eager to tell about the treasure I’d found and to start building the kingdom at home.
But it’s been a week of being back in Gig Harbor and I still find my mind constantly wondering to another home. I’ll be honest, trying to navigate how to live fruitfully in the real world has been a royal pain in the neck.
For a month, God gave me the opportunity to live in a picture of what the world was intended to be like. Where every single day is designed for the type of joy we were created to live in. Where relationships are built in genuine selflessness and unconditional love. Where people are motivated by purely by God’s grace.
Coming home is bittersweet. Sweet to be back where I’m rooted and belong. But bitter because I can’t help but feel like my faith grew stronger roots and my heart feels a greater sense of belonging in a community centered on Christ. The kingdom of Young Life camp makes it so evident how broken the world is. That this beautiful world created by and for a king has been so plagued by empty routines and meaningless intentions and worldly temptations.
Yeah, I’d give anything for one more day of life on the ranch. The real world throws so many more wrenches at walking with the Lord.
But one thing is for sure – I would ten out of ten times rather run in the fresh Puget Sound air than in a one-hundred-degree desert oven. An August run in the Pacific Northwest feels like home. Salty air and the comfort of shade and mountains everywhere you look? Sounds like a deal to me. What makes August, August, however, is the sweet wild blackberries on my walk home. Time when the Big Man says come be still and hang out with me, and I’ll provide some free dessert. That’s when God and I have our best conversations.
Or maybe I’m just a whacko who thinks metaphorically about fruit. Whatever floats your boat.
All I know is that I want to bear fruit the same way God’s dang good wild blackberry vines do.
Blackberries grow on vines that considered to be nothing more than a nuisance. They grow on tangled branches. Not to mention surrounded by thorns. Heck, I don’t even know where they come from because somehow they grow in the middle of the freakin’ woods.
But by some miracle they still grow from the same sun and are rooted in the same earth as God’s vibrantly painted flowers and sky high trees. I hope I’m getting my point across here.
The reality is that we live in a broken world and YES it’s pretty twisted. It’s tangled and thorny and messy. But, we are still called to grow from the same sun. We are called to be ripe and colorful fruit among thorns – to bring meaning and taste to something that is wild and uncontrollable and flawed.
I think we are called to grow in the wild, grow abundantly, and grow among thorns.
Jesus, today I feel compelled by your grace to bear fruit with resilience, understanding, patience, presence, and grace. Remind me what a joy it is to grow in the wilderness and to be a light wherever that happens to be.