I have asked a few of my friends who have recently gone through change and transition to share with you part of their story of growth. I am inspired by these women, their stories, and how they are trusting The Lord in the Midst of it, and I am confident you will be too.
Today my dear friend Kimberly Gillespie will share with us about the New Growth that took place in her family’s life over time in the midst of a major transition. I’m probably going to say this with each person, but ya’ll its sooooo good, so true and such a testimony to God’s faithfulness. Kim and I met years ago and were roommates when we lived in Orlando, FL. We were both single and dating. Then we both became engaged to our husbands. God gave us the grace to walk through that season together. Now we live many many states from each other and are the god parents to each other’s first born boys (and our second). She graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary and now resides in CA with her husband Reggie and adorable 3 children. She is an amazingly gifted teacher of God’s Word and I am so honored that she said yes to share with us today.
You can read her inspiring and hilarious writings on her blogs:
God has a way of teaching me lessons thru nature…
In 1998, I was living in Dallas, and the church I attended gave me this ivy as a gift after my Granny passed. I have had it almost 16 years and it has made every move with me – from Dallas, to Orlando, to Franklin and now to Richmond, CA. And, in each location, it thrived – until we moved here.
The move to Richmond, CA was a particularly difficult one, overwhelmingly so. When initially presented with the opportunity to move, I was hesitant – actually, resistant is a better description. I was comfortable in Tennessee. I loved our home. Felt safe in our community. But, God’s call was louder than my comfort. And we obediently moved across country, with great expectation. However, our reality was very different from what we expected.
For several months we were without employment or a home, staying in 5 different homes in 7 months with an almost 2 year-old boy. We were unsure of our purpose and direction here. I was pregnant, with twins. And I was depressed, alarmingly depressed. We would characterize that period of time as the darkest of our seven-year marriage. In the midst of this time (ironically, while away at my grandfather’s funeral) this ivy took a tumble. The pot that held it broke and although it was repotted, it was cloaked in darkness – housed in a dark room with one small window that was blocked by the house next door. It started dying. With very little hope for revival, we simply placed it in a garage – no water, no sun. And like us those first months, it was barely hanging on – it just…existed.
The funny thing is, it didn’t die. It didn’t grow. But, it didn’t die.
Look at it now
We looked at this plant not long ago and marveled at its comeback. Not only is it living, but, it is thriving. Yes, it went through quite a bit of turmoil to get here. We had to cut away a lot of the dead leaves and vines, find a larger pot, plant it in fresh soil, water it, and place it in a window where it would get a lot of sun. But, it is thriving. And, full of new growth.
Such a reflection of our lives. We endured a painful period of pruning. Through various methods, a lot of unproductive things were cut away, like pride, lack of faith, self-sufficiency, and control. But, God graciously “re-potted” us, using several things to begin bringing life and joy back into us – Himself, His Word, prayer, each other, our children, and our church family. By His grace, we are now thriving. It has been a long time since I have felt this alive.
If you are thinking this sounds familiar, you would be correct.
It sounds a lot like John 15.
Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:2-5 ESV)
Gratefully learning to abide,