No Longer Barren but Fruitful
It was one of the most amazing days of my life.
During a prayer time, the Holy Spirit took me back in a vision to when I was a little girl, back in time to a place I remembered clearly. But now the Holy Spirit was showing me something I didn’t know but that explained a lot. I saw myself as a little girl with a label across my forehead stamped with the word “REJECTED.” As I watched, Jesus came and took off the label, and in its place he wrote one word. That word was “BELOVED.” I felt the warmth of an incredible peace and love come over me. Something deep inside me settled and I felt like I had taken my rightful position in life.
True destiny never comes without risk.
I started to ask the Lord, “What does it mean to be the beloved?” He answered me with these mind-blowing verses from Ephesians 1:4. “He chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ.” Being the “beloved” means knowing that the Father chose me before he created the world, even before my parents or my husband chose me. This sense of “chosen-ness” is both a secure foundation and a springboard for life. I believe that the more we move into a place of revelation and knowing that we are the “beloved,” the more we can move into our destiny in Christ. Without it, we will never feel ready, never feel secure enough to risk for Him. And true destiny never comes without risk.
People have told us things about ourselves that lead to insecurity. Perhaps your parents told you that you were “a mistake,” or others have told you that you would never amount to anything. With these words ringing in your ears, it’s hard to believe that God has a destiny for you. But even if your parents were surprised at your arrival, the Father wasn’t. He planned you. “Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me”. (Psalm 27:10) “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”(Psalm 139:16)
So how do we get that truth from our heads down into our hearts? Paul wrote, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” I believe that we need to talk to our souls and tell them that we are the beloved and chosen. Even after my revelation that I am the beloved, I still encounter times of rejection and pain. But in the midst of that, I actively choose to embrace the truth, and the more I know I am loved perfectly the less room there is for rejection.
Ask the Father everyday for another fresh download of His love for you. Ask for an experience of Him to re-write the years of lies. Pray over yourself daily and affirm God’s word for you by saying, “I am chosen,” “I am the Beloved,” “I am loved and blessed.” When you start to feel overwhelmed by His love, don’t stop the flow, let it happen. Graham Cook once said, “You cannot make God your first love until you realize that you are His. He loves you on your worst day just as much as He loves you on your best day.”
Your destiny comes from being created by God.
As you discover and embrace your own chosen-ness, you are in effect discovering your destiny. As we become comfortable in His love, we stop comparing ourselves with others and envying their destinies. This frees us to find out what the path is that He has chosen for us. I have a destiny and you have a destiny but they are as unique as we are. As His beloved, you can rest in the security that the one who created you, who knows you best has mapped out your destiny especially to suit you. Your destiny comes from being created by God.
For my husband Stuart and I, our destiny has also come out of learning that we couldn’t have children. It was one of those dream-crushing times when you can’t see the way ahead. All that we had thought and planned for was immediately wiped off the board.
Stuart and I had a choice to make. We could either press into the Lord to know what He lovingly designed us for or fall into self-pity and resentment. We knew that the Lord put us together as a couple, and we knew that the word of God said that He has a plan to prosper us and not to harm us. So if staying in New Zealand and having children wasn’t the plan, what was it?
Sometimes God’s plans are not what we thought. Are we willing to change our plans to conform to His? For us this was the “event” that changed the course of our lives. Deep in our hearts we knew it wasn’t the end but only the beginning. We turned to the loving arms of our Father. Our constant prayer was, “Lord, we want the best.”
As we let the seed of our plans fall into the ground and die, hope came immediately and then direction. This led us to Toronto and enrolling in the School of Ministry. Just a few short years later we are now the directors and have hundreds of spiritual children around the world. Our lives are more fruitful now than we could ever have imagined, and it is all because we said, “Yes Lord your will be done.”
From Barrenness To Fruitfulness
All of us are called to be fruitful. So what happens when we find ourselves in a place of barrenness? To be barren is to be sterile, to stagnate. Stuart and I found that we were physically barren and unable to have children, but there is also a state of spiritual barrenness. Is an area of your life stagnant? Do you feel like you have become stuck in a barren place? There are two keys to fruitfulness.
The first key is to recognize that fruitlessness is only meant to be for a season. It’s the time of pruning back that Jesus talks about in John 15:1-2. “I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” If you don’t recognize this you can feel abandoned by God.
The second key is to identify why you are stuck in a season you could be traveling through. You may have unresolved forgiveness issues, bitterness or some area of disobedience in your life for which you need to repent, “forgiving” God and others.
When you are pruned back, you may go through a grieving process, but comfort comes from knowing that the closest the vinedresser ever gets to the vine is when he’s pruning it. God has not abandoned you. God prunes us back so that we can produce more fruit and be more satisfied in our destiny. He prunes back even the good branches. Vineyard keepers know that if there are too many grapes in one area of a vine, the sugar content is low and the quality of the grapes is diminished. Pruning back the vine produces better quality fruit. The Father is more interested in quality than quantity, and doesn’t want you spreading yourself so thin your fruit isn’t sweet and tasty.
What He is calling you to is way beyond your ability.
God wants you to take Plan “A” for your life, not Plan “B “regardless of how good Plan “B” looks to you right now. But to get the best, you have to sacrifice the good. We decided to give up ideas of pursuing fertility treatments or adopting children (the good) in order to find out God’s Plan “A” for us (the best). Destiny involves risk, choosing God’s plans over your own. And by the way, His plans for you are for something much bigger than you believe you can do so that you’ll have to depend on Him.
So, realize which spiritual season you are in, deal with the issues you need to resolve and yield to His pruning. Then when He gives you an opening for something, go for it even if it scares you to death!
What He is calling you to is way beyond your ability. You are not a mistake. You are not just here using up oxygen. You are here in 2002 because you are meant to be, because He decided before time began that you should be here for a divine purpose, the one that you have been designed to fulfill and that will bring contentment to your life. You are the beloved, with your own unique, terrifying, exciting destiny. As far as I’m concerned, fulfilling His destiny for me is worth the risk.