Connected to the True Vine--Guest Post by Karen Yates
Please welcome Redbud Writer Karen Yates to Kindling. I think you will like what she has to say.I ran away for the first time when I was five years old. I packed a little purse of a few stuffed animals and made it as far as the house two doors down, the home of my friends Ericka and Laura. Their mother called my mother. Running away morphed into a glorified playdate, complete with dress up, giggles, and a sugary treat.When my mom picked me up, the only reminder of my running away was FeeFee, my stuffed hippo, stashed away in a little handbag. And my parents that night, telling me how much they would have missed me while I was gone.Truth is, I have always been a runner. As I matured, running turned into ‘pulling back,’ which sounded more reasonable, but was of the same genre. Bottom line is, when it gets too close, too scary, too overwhelming, I collapse in, pull back, withdraw, or run.I take comfort in knowing that, no matter how much I run, how much I pull back, my Heavenly Father is there. I simply cannot run from Him because I am in Him and He is in me. He is with me when I am grounded, and He’s with me when I’m afraid: “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast” (Psalm 139: 7-10).There is no running from Him because I have been grafted in—I’m a co-heir—I’m a member of His Body: “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. 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: 4a, 5). Is there anywhere I, the branch, can go, even if I’m withered from worry and fear, even if I try to escape, that is not connected to the Vine? No! We are attached—He and I.This realization that I am connected to a Source that never runs dry, to a river that reaches every secret hiding spot of my flesh and sin, brings great comfort. And overwhelming joy. Perhaps the bigness of God, the fact He is with me everywhere, should make me afraid. But in actuality, I genuinely and sincerely do not want to be alone. I crave His comfort. I long for His peace to rush into me. I desire intimacy and community and confidence.One of my favorite books is Hudson Taylor’s biography, “Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret.” In it he describes the joy of realizing his true identity in the Vine. . . . It is a wonderful thing to be really one with a risen and exalted Savior, to be a member of Christ! Think what it involves. Can Christ be rich and I poor? Can your right hand be rich and your left poor? Or your head be well fed while your body starves? The sweetest part, . . . is the rest which full identification with Christ brings. I am no longer anxious about anything, as I realize this; for He, I know, is able to carry out His will, and His will is mine. It makes no matter where He places me, or how. That is rather for Him to consider than for me; for in the easiest position He must give me His grace, and in the most difficult His grace is sufficient. .. His resources are mine, for He is mine, and is with me and dwells in me.Are you a runner too? Do you find you pull back in times of fear, worry, or pressure? What can you do to remember that you are connected to the True Vine? Karen Yates lives in Orange County, CA and is a partial homeschooling mother of 3 children. With a BA in English from Westmont College, Karen has worked for 12 years in the Christian non-profit sector, is an adoption advocate, blogger, and member of the Redbud Writers Guild. She blogs at www.KarenEYates.com and tweets: @KarenYates11.