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Pruned to Bear More Fruit
by Annie Jedick
“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
In 2007 God called me to move to Virginia. I didn’t want to come. I was happy with my life back home; I had family and good friends that loved me, but God made it clear to me that I was to move to Fredericksburg, and I had only two weeks to do so. I had to leave everything behind. I threw out or gave away everything I had except a mattress, a few books, my clothes, and a few personal items. He even took away my car. Although, I didn’t want to move, I knew deep down that I had grown all that I could where I was.
A year later due to an obscure law and roommate conflicts, I had to move again with a few weeks notice. I still had nothing here. I had gained a headboard and a dresser that was to heavy to move, but that was it. I still had no real friends. Since I was moving from a house with roommates to a one bedroom apartment, I needed furniture. Some of my coworkers pitched in and donated some. I still needed a couch, and I had no money to buy one as I was still recovering financially from the move from Ohio. So I prayed for a couch, and I looked everywhere. I finally found the perfect couch at a thrift sale for some missionary organization, but it was too expensive, and the man wouldn’t come down in price. So I left, and when I went to the car, I prayed about the couch. An hour or so later, the man called and told me that his wife told him to give me the couch for the price I offered. My prayer was answered.
I was allergic to the apartment, so I had to move again. God clearly showed me where I was supposed to move. He had shown me which house, but I needed a roommate. Without my knowledge Debra, my most recent roommate, was praying for a place to live, and I got her contact information from my former landlady. During the four years we lived there, God had blessed me abundantly and used me in a variety of ways. I was truly bearing fruit.
This past summer, I had been feeling down and worn out. When I came back from my annual visit to family, I noticed a strong musty smell in our house, and I started feeling very sick. I realized we had mold, and so I went to stay with my coworker until the situation could be resolved. Unbeknownst to me, she told her sister, who lives in Tennessee. Her sister, whom I never met, had dealt with mold problems in the past, and she decided to fly in to help and offered to buy me a couch. However, I didn’t want a new couch; I liked my old one. It was pretty and super comfortable, and God had provided it for me. Why should she waste her money on me? After much insisting, I finally accepted.
Then when we were moving out, we found mold EVERYWHERE. It had crawled into everything I owned: bed, dresser, mattress, books, file cabinet, pictures, bookcases, tables, and more. My house was truly contaminated. Then I was finally glad that I accepted her offer of the couch; it was the only thing I really had left.
Awhile back I was reading a book by Andrew Murray about the Vine. He wrote, “Consider a moment what this pruning or cleansing is. It is not the removal of weeds or thorns, or anything from without that may hinder the growth. No; it is the cutting off of the long shoots of the previous year, the removal of something that comes from within, that has been produced by the life of the vine itself. It is the removal of something that is a proof of the vigor of its life; the more vigorous the growth has been, the greater the need for the pruning. It is the honest, healthy wood of the vine that has to be cut away. And why? Because it would consume too much of the sap to fill all the long shoots of last year’s growth: the sap must be saved up and used for fruit alone. The branches, sometimes eight and ten feet long, are cut down close to the stem, and nothing is left but just one or two inches of wood, enough to bear the grapes. It is when everything that is not needful for fruit-bearing has been relentlessly cut down, and just as little of the branches as possible has been left, that full, rich fruit may be expected….What a solemn, precious lesson! It is not to sin only that the cleansing of the Husbandman here refers. It is to our own religious activity, as it is developed in the very act of bearing fruit. It is this that must be cut down and cleansed away. ” It’s not the sinful things that God prunes, but rather earlier fruitfulness. “While every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful” John 15: 2.
My couch and my house were from God, but they were last year’s growth. I liked them, and I enjoyed them, and they were comfortable, and I didn’t want to give them up, but without my knowledge they were becoming infested with disease. Keeping them would have hindered future fruit and brought disease instead. Just like with my couch, how often does God want to give us new things and better blessings and new fruit? Instead we tend to cling to his blessings of the past hoping to keep our old swindling and occasionally diseased fruit alive?
I had known for awhile that some of the areas I had been involved with were no longer bearing the same quantity of fruit as they had in the past,so I had been doing some small pruning and trying to make some small transitions. However, God had a deeper pruning in mind. For most of my adult life, God takes everything away and moves me so that I will grow and bear more fruit somewhere else.
I have learned that immediately after we are pruned, we are just a short stubby branch without any leaves or anything else growing on it, and it will take awhile to adjust and grow back and see how God is going to bring forth in our life, and it is easy to get impatient in the midst of our pruning. But in his time, he is faithful and he will accomplish what he desires though our pruning so we can bring him glory by bearing fruit.
My challenge to each of you is to reflect on which past fruitful activities you need to let go or those he has caused you to let go so that you can bear even more fruit.
About Annie: I moved to Fredericksburg 6 years ago to teach at H.H. Poole Middle School in Stafford. Currently I am teaching Math, but I have taught several other subjects including Language Arts, History, Bible, and even P.E. Before moving here I taught in Christian schools. I came to New Life in Christ 3 years ago through my roommate Debra Smith. Here at New Life, I’ve been involved with the Young Adult group, Women’s Ministry, and the Baseball Ministry. Some of my interests include reading, running, playing Frisbee, art, and cooking.
Child Protection Program
As a reminder: If you are over 18 and involved in any ministry involving children or anticipate becoming involved in the future, you must complete NLICC’s child protection application and online training. Several folks have asked for the link for the application again. Thank you for your faithfulness in serving and protecting our children!
- Click here to fill out your initial application online.
- If you have already completed the application, remember to complete the Child Protection Training on-line. If you have lost the link that was emailed to you, or if it has expired, please contact Jack Burrows for a new link.
Baby Shower for Tracy Greenberg, Sunday, September 29th at 2pm
At the home of Taniya Capitano, 1026 West Kensington Circle, Fredericksburg, VA 22401. RSVP to Taniya at by Friday. Invitations are in the foyer.
Taste and See
Have you been thinking of getting involved at church? Want to try something just one afternoon to be of great service? Consider folding bulletins on a Friday afternoon. A great opportunity for home-schooled teens, college students or for you and a friend to talk and work together. The job usually takes about 1 1/2 hours beginning around noon. Contact Pam Lopes in the church office to schedule a Friday afternoon.
“Mental Health and the Mission of the Church”
For some time now the Women’s Ministry Committee has been planning a mini-conference on mental health to be held November 16th from 8:30am-1:30pm. Almost everyone knows of someone who’s life has been affected by mental illness. How should the church respond? With loving compassion and help. We intend to dispel some myths of mental illness and educate us as a church to understand the significance mental health in the lives of ourselves, our families, the church and those we minister to. We’ll share basic information on mental health to address both the physical and spiritual causes and treatments of mental illness. We want your questions – what would you like to learn? What questions do you have? Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org , speak to Pam Lopes in the Office, or drop them anonymously in the Women’s Ministry mailbox in the Office. We plan to have a physician, Biblical counselor, and Pastor as a part of the planning team and program and we’d like to address your questions or concerns as a part of the conference.
Pastor Gary has challenged us as a church to help support our mission to Capernaum, Younglife’s ministry to disabled children and young adults, through hospitality to the teens and their families. One of the ways that you can help is by providing refreshment and hospitality to the parents who meet in the Youth Room upstairs. They were thrilled to have coffee and cookies last week! Check out the sign up sheet – is there a place where you, your family, care group or you and a friend would be willing to serve? The priority is to provide hospitality to the parents, but treats for the kids would be appreciated.
Women’s Breakfast October 19th at 9am followed by Blessing Bags
Ever wonder what to give the homeless guy begging at the intersection? Want to have a blessing on hand to share ready in your car for someone down and out? Join us Saturday, October 19th at 9am to enjoy breakfast and make “Blessing Bags” – ziplocks filled with toiletries and treats. Bring your daughter or a friend and join us for fellowship and an assembly line. We’ll have tracts on hand to put in your bags to share the good news. It will take some planning ahead and everyone following through to bring the contents. Sign up here. Breakfast food sign up is here if you’d like to bring something to share.
Has God has been teaching you through His Word and the fellowship of His church? We’d love to share your encouragement! Contact Annie Jedick with your testimony or let her place you on the schedule for the future.
in His grace,
for the Women’s Ministry Committee