Grafting into the Vine

How does a branch that is not a 
branch become one? By grafting. It must be severed from the plant on which it grew, and the severed surface is brought to a wounded place in the vine’s stem, and bound there, heart to heart, and from that wounded place in the stem the sap flows out, and seals the branch into union, and then it finds its way into the channels of the graft, and soon it needs no outward bonds to bind it there: it has become one with the vine, and the power and sweetness of the vine flow into the branch that has lost its own life to find it in the new life which flows on till leaves and flowers and fruit appear.

Lilias Trotter, The Way of the Seven-fold Secret, Chapter VII: The Secret of Abiding

17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, 18 do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. 23 And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree.

Romans 11: 17-18 & 23-24, ESV

Thank You, Papa, for the wounding You allowed us to walk through, even as Your heart broke for us, knowing that we did not yet see the beauty that would come. Thank You for being a good Father to us, for not choosing what would cause us and You no pain, but for choosing that which was best for us. Thank You for severing us from all that we once clung to and trusted in that was stealing from us and destroying Your beauty in us. Thank You for becoming our trust, as You now daily teach us how to return and rest in Your never-forsaking and abiding love for us and Your Body.

Papa, thank You for binding us together to Your heart, giving us a new and undivided heart in You. Thank You for setting us apart unto Yourself in the severing, for leading us out to pasture, where Your lost sheep are now grazing with us. Thank You for binding us together with them, through the wounding and severing you have walked us through. Thank You for giving us eyes to see Your beauty hidden inside of them, as they have become Your seeing of us and Your comfort to us, just as we have become Your seeing of them and Your comfort to them.

Thank You that before they or we even called to You, You began to answer us, setting Your plan into motion to graft us together into the Vine. Thank You that even while they and we were yet speaking, You heard our cries and set a plan in motion to rescue us. Papa, continue to call to our remembrance prayers we once prayed (even as children), and even yearnings we couldn’t even express in words (even as children), so that we might see just how beautifully You have been answering our deepest heart’s cries all along in ways we couldn’t have even imagined as children.

Wow us with who You are and how much higher and greater Your thoughts and Your plans are for us and our loved ones too. Continue to break our boxes of who we think You are to show us who You truly are. Open the eyes of our hearts to see You and to know You more and more and more, that we might grow abiding fruit and healing leaves in great abundance, as You multiply our meager gifts to bless us and Your whole Body. In Jesus’ precious Name, Amen.

Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear.

Isaiah 64:24 (ESV)

Part 3: Chapter 1 – Day 7: Sunrise in Vietnam

Welcome to Day 7 of Part 3‘s Chapter 1 of Arise and Shine. Today, Bettie is sharing our final free will offering of incense that she penned in 2016. It is a powerful story of Christ’s intercession at work in her, taking us all on a journey into the heart of God for the beautiful people living in Vietnam.

We pray that your hearts are being so encouraged to continue pressing into Jesus, to see His incense rise in intercession in and through you. Our own hearts are being so encouraged also in sharing old and new testimonies. May praise and worship rise in each one of our hearts and be on our lips as we bow in awe of our mighty God who always lives to make intercession for each one of His children, who never leave His safe hand. May we recognize His face and Presence waiting to be uncovered in those He sets before us and moves us to intercede for.

How did I get to be in that incredible place?  And why am I telling this story now, in the middle of this RA/Fibromyalgia Season of re-learning my place?

Another word-sharing-session with my counselor brought me to the place of remembering.  I told her that I still wanted to be up and doing and walking away my anxieties. I am not finding the PEACE here that I thought I should have attained by now.  So my Counselor asked if I could take a walk through the memory hall of my mind.  The same emotions that were triggered during the actual pleasant times can be triggered again, proven by studies, simply when we remember those times.

Shortly after she proposed a time of remembering, a new Blog-Friend of mine found out that I had taken a God-Planned-Adventure to Vietnam, and she stirred up these very memories when she shared her own Adventures.  Thank you Valerie, at gracewithsilk  for asking to hear about my story!  So today I am walking over the land that a healthier and stronger me was allowed to witness.

I was probably 17 or 18 years old when I had a vision while I was praying. I saw myself in an Asian Village, being so thankful to share in a love that was God-given.  I assumed I would be a Missionary. But my life took a different turn, and decades later, as a stay-at-home Mom, I found myself wrapped up in the story of my Pastor and his Wife, trying to adopt a baby from Cambodia. 

I prayed and agonized with them through a very long and difficult adoption process.  When they returned with their beautiful baby boy, I sat amazed by the pictures in their slideshow.  It looked like the Asian Village in my vision from so long ago.  Tears rolled down my face, as I felt the Lord say that I had been in that village with them through my praying.  Ahh beautiful, I thought.  Now I know why I had that vision. End of Story.

But God’s endings are not the same as ours.  Another decade later, and this time our oldest son took a trip to Vietnam with his new friend.  We didn’t know that a possible marriage with his friend’s sister was in the itinerary.  But again, Jesus finds ways to let a Mama know how to pray.  On the very night of the marriage, half-way around the world, my heart was burdened to pray for my children’s spouses, with an urgency like never before.  So when our son came home and asked us to pray with him so that his new wife could get a VISA to come to America, my heart had already been prepared.

Sunrise over a small village in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam.

Years of praying, and crying, and waiting were finally answered in the spring of 2011, when her VISA was approved.  When we finally met our new daughter-in-law, loving her was easy because my heart had been captivated before she ever set foot in America.

So when she asked me to go with her back to Vietnam for a Family Reunion Party later that fall, I thought my heart would burst.

Breakfast time in Vietnam means noodle soup (not cereal) and tea (not coffee.)
A trip to the market across the street from the family’s house happened daily. Even when I thought I would lose my way, my daughter-in-law held my hand and treated me with honor, so that I knew I was in the safest place I could be.
This Grandma, (51 at the time,) managed to stumble into the flat-bottomed boat for a ride down the river. When God calls out the Adventure, we never know where He will lead us.  As a 17 year old, looking for a future of purpose, I thought I knew what LOVE looked like.  I thought I would be the one teaching those around me what God’s Love looks like.  But HE is the teacher, and HE knows how to plan the future that will bring about HIS Beauty in every place HE leads us.
Sometimes Beauty looks like a small table, child-sized by American standards, set with simple fruit, prepared by the hands of a family that speak a language you cannot understand, opening their hearts for LOVE to be shared.

My journeys now feel large when I can take a day-trip involving a 3 or 4 hour car ride.  But my times for Adventure are not finished.  When I let Jesus plan my journey, whether through chronic illness or healthy travels, HE will set my feet in the good place of HIS choosing: Finding BEAUTY and LOVE each step of the way.

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus”

Ephesians 3:20-21

First published at: https://bettiegsraseasons.com/2016/05/18/sunrise-in-vietnam/