I picked up my phone, pressing the button revealed the time. It was 3:30 am.
Feeling frustrated that I might not be able to slip back into slumber, I lay on my side. I turn over. I lie on my back. I fling the covers off. I pull them back on . . . an hour later, my husband is annoyingly fidgety and I’m facing his back, wondering why in the world am I so restless?
Nothing terrible is going on. Usually, my restless nights are due to something regarding our kids. In my agitation, I will get up, make tea, pray, and return to bed while it is still dark.
I’ve found that getting out of bed disables the dark monster that obscures reality when I’m flat on my back in the dark.
But all is well with the kids. (Praise God!) By 4:45, I’m finished with the tossing and turning, so I get up.
Scribbling thoughts to God in my journal, I conclude that the lifestyle I’ve been forced into – the ongoing uprooting I’ve experienced since August 30th, 2013 has become tiresome. I’m weary of moving, and of my husband switching jobs. I’m tired of him living away from home for work, having two homes, and not knowing where I will be – or when.
I feel like the grapevine that Luc Teyssier (played by Kevin Kline) carried in his coat pocket, – in the movie, French Kiss. The straggly twig’s roots were wrapped in something akin to a dishtowel and tied in burlap. He took it into the bathroom on the plane, examined it, kissed the stolen diamond necklace that was buried near its roots, and tucked it back into his inner jacket pocket. Before leaving the plane, he stuck the poor little vine in Kate’s (Meg Ryan) purse. She unknowingly carried it around for an entire day. It was eventually stolen and ultimately retrieved again by Luc who had been like Esau and sold his birthright to his brother. Now he intended the stolen necklace to be his ticket to a fresh start. The vine, a ‘firstborn’ plant for a new life, one of owning a vineyard.
It’s one of my favorite movies (but I keep my remote close so I can skip the one steamy scene – WHY do they tarnish good films with one dumb scene?) I love the film because it displays broken, sinful people, moving toward and acquiring fulfillment of their dreams. Through their journey of human struggle, “shallow” is seen for what it is. The value of depth of soul, the power of selfless love, and its acquirement of redemption is brought to light.
While journaling my thoughts about being an uprooted vine, I realized I’m currently waiting for my life to settle. I want my roots to go down. I long for my husband to live at home so we can find our people, have our neighbors over for dinner. I long for community.
And I’m tempted to grumble a little.
Sitting with Jesus, I begin to express my longings. In His light, I receive revelation. I’m suddenly aware of the fact that my life is much less disrupted than many who have lost homes to hurricanes or fire. *gulp* I recall that many are experiencing horrible health issues and loss of family members.
I realize that the weight of my longing has shifted onto me instead of pursuing Him for His will for me and for the health, wholeness, and redemption in the lives around me — those on my ever-growing prayer list.
The humble cease to grumble.
I’m humbled again by His grace. I realize my restlessness is due to my failure to step back from my waiting-to-be-fulfilled desires (aka: focusing on what I don’t have) and see His love at work all around me. I am not an earthly receptacle of His goodness to hoard it, but an ambassador to pour out my life that others might be free.
How do we endure the slow drain on our lives when they become disrupted? How do we persevere through seemingly insurmountable trials?
We find peace when we set our minds on the gift of Christmas. We rest in the knowledge that He is with us. We apprehend rest-of-soul as we approach the throne of grace with confidence, thanking Him for all He’s done and all He’s going to do. We look forward with hope in His promise for goodness.
His accessibility to us is the miracle gift of Christmas.
His salvation, our eternal hope for the perfection we long for.
He came to joyfully intertwine His life with ours. He wants us completely wound around and filled to the brim with Him.
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). Matthew 1:23
“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” John 17:25-26
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10
As I think about the vine in the movie, I realize that is exactly the way I am called to live. Hands off my life. Surrendering myself to His care. Through twists and turns, through falls and failures, even through times of enemy-hijacking, I’m never outside of His reach.
I can entrust my entire life to the Vinedresser.
It seems Luc managed to keep the vine alive. Through twists and turns, through a couple of people seeing past his sins to his potential, he was able to plant his little vine in his vineyard.
And . . . they lived happily ever after.
This is the story of the redeemed. Our journey on earth feels out of control often, but it’s never out of the control of Christ. And we will – eventually – live eternally happy . . . ever after.
For your entertainment, I’m adding the trailer. Seriously, sometimes you get just enough. The vine shows up around 1:41
I’d be honored to hear from you. What are you currently waiting for? How can I pray for you?
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I intend to post more regularly during this season of waiting for and marveling at our Messiah.