Up and Over the Rugged Terrain

14 10 2016

pathHello Blog. It has been a while. I am writing because my son Josh said, “Hey, remember that blog you used to write? You should do that again.” I don’t even know why he said I should, it’s not like he reads it. So that’s interesting.  The nudge nudged, and so I am stepping in the ring without further explanation.

Psalm 37 has grabbed my shoulders with insistence. It has interrupted me and will not go away. It has moved in and it is instructing me. I bring this to you, for your consideration. I don’t know how to set this up other than to say, if you are needing clarity, if you are needing the stairs to be swept so you can see where you are walking, Psalm 37 is that broom. If you are longing to move forward with confidence to find the next stepping stone and the next in the fog, or the next rung on the ladder and the next one after that, Psalm 37 will show you the way.

As I am writing this, a deer is walking towards me, down a steep embankment without a moments hesitation; without any hint of caution. It is the perfect illustration of what I am talking about. God can give us that kind of agility, like that of a deer; He can enable us to negotiate the rugged terrain” (Psalm 18:33 NET). Any rugged terrain.

Psalm 37 has some advice about what you should not do. It isn’t that we don’t need to know the “do nots” but if you already have a “cannonball wound” in your life (as the comedian Brian Regan refers to), or think one is about to hit you, you probably know how it got there or how it happened to you. You probably know, as Regan says,  to not “stand directly in front of a cannon” again, but what do you do now that you have that gaping wound?  How do you move forward? Psalm 37 has a list of  13 things “to do.” *(If you want to watch the Brian Regan piece, here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-vKVVcw274). 

How can a person even keep track of 13 things?  That seems like a lot. That sounds like a heavy load on top of your burden. Trust me when I say, these 13 things are like adrenaline for the weary. They are the good words from a friend. They are filled with encouragement if you will grab on to them they will get you to the other side, upright. They are the lifeline out of the darkness and into the light. That’s a big claim; but these are not my words…they are the words of our good God who says that inexplicable good can come out of suffering, including joy and peace and hope and a future. So I am not going to package them, I am just going to present them as they stood up in front of me:

  1. Psalm 37 says twice to do this: trust in the Lord.  It doesn’t even matter if you understand this all right now. It doesn’t even matter if you are frustrated or confused about His ways. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what will come of all of what you are walking through. Repeat, and repeat again, “I will trust You, God.”  When you are crying. When you are tired. When you are afraid. When you are maligned or bullied. When you are embarrassed. When you are riddled with anxiety. Choose to turn your focus to trust. It might not feel authentic at first, but you are stating over and over again that you will not allow yourself to be dragged into the pit of despair. If everything seems to be in the hands of other people and their choices, if you feel helpless and lack leverage in any area of your life, you still have this choice to make of your own free will: trust. Say it out loud, say it in the presence of your “enemies,” say it and say it and say it. And somewhere along the way you will feel hints of trust, see where trust has brought you, and find more and more the results of it.
  2. Psalm 37 says to do this: do good. When you are in a place of weariness, don’t stop doing good. The enemy wins when those who follow Christ, withdraw. Are we running on our own limited energy anyway? Is the breath of God not in us? Does His Spirit become as tired as ours? When we stop doing good, we have resigned from The Mission, the Kingdom Building Mission He has called us to. We are snuffing out our own light. You don’t know what you are capable of. If you say “I can’t” do good, then you have defeated yourself. No matter how shaky that good feels right now, prove your faith in God’s abundant strength, the strength He will give you and continue to do good.
  3. Psalm 37 says to do this: dwell in the land. You may be walking through a difficult time but don’t shut down. The principal of the Sabbath is to find joy in the middle of pain at least once a week. The principal is to step out and “acknowledge” God, the one who makes your paths straight. Even when Israel was in exile, the Lord said to build houses, get married, sow seed. Live. Clean your house. Open your drapes. Make a good meal. Read a good book. Laugh. Have people in. Take a walk. Nap. Collect flowers. Build something you had plans to build. Wash and wax your car. Smile. Don’t let your adversary steal your life, God never gave it to him, but our Lord will continue to give you a surprising abundance of life in the middle of hard times.
  4. Psalm 37 says to do this: enjoy safe pasture. Don’t walk like there is something about to fall on your head. Don’t become skittish and worried, locking and double locking your life. The Lord is your Shepherd, His rod and staff are still able to guide you and comfort you. You don’t even know the number of times He has protected you so far, provided for you, and carried you. Here’s a news flash: you can’t protect yourself enough. Do you not know that He sets a table for you in the very presence of your enemies, and there in that place you will fear no evil? Don’t lock yourself away…enjoy safe pasture.
  5. Psalm 37 says to do this: delight yourself in the Lord. Worship. When you don’t feel like it, worship. When you are on the floor with sadness, worship. When you are shocked and stunned and speechless, worship. Choose it. Put the music on and lift up your hands — defy the liar, the enemy, the thief and lock eyes with Jesus and say and sing what is TRUE. Say and sing what is TRUE.
  6. Psalm 37 says to do this: commit your way to the Lord. That is, renew your oath. You are going to question and you are going to moan and you are going to be angry and you are going to ask “why” and you are going to feel guilty that you aren’t more of a saint. At the end of the day, commit your way to the Lord again. Remind yourself that you are His, and He is yours. Don’t give God the silent treatment. He knows everything about you, but will you say again, “As for me” I choose the Lord?  Do it, it is healthy for you to state your place again and again and again. Don’t give up. Later in the Psalm it says to “keep His ways” — that is what you are committed to. That will be your sure footing.
  7. Psalm 37 says to do this: be still. When you are in a storm, a tornado, and things are flying you are going to say things and do things out of pure fight and flight reaction. You are going to get caught up in the drama and before you know it you aren’t even thinking straight anymore. Stop. Stop. Stop. I don’t care if it is inconvenient or if it feels like you have the time. You have the time. Stop. Be still before God. Just be still and listen. Tune your ear to His Spirit in the middle of the disaster so that He can speak sensibly to you, so that you do not sin, so that your soul is being tended by the Master.
  8. Psalm 37 says to do this: wait patiently. Who says what you MUST DO and how you MUST DO IT? We get caught up in this urgency when we are in a place of pressure or suffering. Even when decisions are pending, knocking at your door. Wait on the Lord. He knows whether you need an answer RIGHT NOW or not, and He will supply you with what you need when you wait on Him. Consult Him. Go to Him. Ask Him. Seek Him. Don’t get all panicky.
    Be in God’s Word, every single day. This isn’t a legalistic or formulaic thing, this is entering the office of our Lord and hearing from Him directly. Do not take to heart the words of every single person around you who has something to say…go to Jesus, open His Word and listen. It is for you, He has something for you every day. Don’t wimp out and say “I just don’t get the Bible.” If you feel urgency about anything, feel urgent about this and find help — get online and study, invite a mentor into your life, and for heaven’s sake, be in fellowship in a local church and get connected to community. Why in the world would you do this alone? If you are disappointed in the church, get over it. People try and fail and stumble at everything, including the church. Jesus died for the church (its in the Word) and loves her. Wait on the Lord with other people who are waiting on the Lord.
  9. Psalm 37 says to do this: refrain from anger. Anger is a cover up for a pile of other things. You are going to feel angry, but then put the brakes on right then and there. Get before God and let Him help you examine it. “Refrain” implies being able to stop something. Practice emotional intelligence and let God examine your heart to see what is there. Don’t live in anger and kill your health (mental, emotional, physical) by swimming in it or hurt your relationships further. That doesn’t mean you are naive and unaffected. It just means you are choosing to not view your life through that lens or make decisions in that mental state. Again, be still and wait on God and let Him give you a new frame of mind each and every day and more than once a day as needed.
  10. Psalm 37 says to do this: turn away from wrath. Wrath is the outcome of anger, the action, the outrage. I could have made this a part of point 9 but no…you can seethe with anger which isn’t great, but anger happens and with God’s help you can work it out in a good way.  Wrath (human wrath) is when it flies. Remember that vengeance belongs to the Lord. You will ultimately not win, not have satisfaction, not have peace if you act out of wrath. Don’t add destruction to destruction. Choose to walk wisely, steadfastly, honestly before God. Wrath is explosive but in the flame-out there are only charred remains. God’s ways lead to life (*I should add, our wrath is very different from God’s wrath. God’s wrath is holy and is delivered righteously and justly and without sin. Let Him carry the responsibility of wrath).
  11. Psalm 37 says to do this: do not fret. Fretting leads to evil (37:8) which is our next point. How so? Fretting means you think you are the master, self-sufficient on what appears to be the positive end and on the negative end. Self-sufficient to make life good by yourself and for yourself, or to blame yourself and others when life isn’t good. Fretting is selfish because the focus is all on you and how you feel and how your world is impacted by circumstances. Fretting is trying to be a fortune teller, which God despises, because it means you are deciding the future based on the present…who are you to know anything about the future? Fretting diminishes the God of our universe to boundaries you set and believe in. Shall I go on? We are all prone to fret because we are all sinners. We all lower God and raise ourselves more often than we should. So develop a habit of stopping yourself in your tracks when you fret. Capture your thoughts. Don’t let them take root. It is a practice you will do over and over again.
  12. Psalm 37 says to do this: turn from evil. Tempted to self-medicate? Tempted to resort to revenge? Tempted to lie? Tempted to self-pity? Tempted to dabble in escapism? Tempted to compromise? Tempted to blur the lines? Tempted to just grumble and complain? When we are trying to find our way there are lots of things to divert our attention or make us temporarily feel better. Keep this “do this” in front of you and don’t let the enemy lie to you about what is going to feel good. Eventually it is not going to feel good and you will regret these actions. Be accountable during this time to a few good people who will see you through and to whom you are willing to receive words from.
  13. Psalm 37 says to do this: consider the blameless and observe the upright. This is about finding people you admire and imitating them. When the way is unclear, look for people who are walking upright and do what they are doing. You might not be able to trust yourself right now because you are tired and weary or confused and unsure…so be careful now who you are looking to. Be intentional to find godly people to watch and learn from. You will find them in your church, you will find them in other churches, you will find them around the world, you will find them in the Bible, you will find them in history, you will find them in books, you may even find them in your ancestors. Pay attention, and get in line behind them.

The wisdom of Psalm 37 is a light to our paths. It lifts 13 things we can concentrate on when we can’t see much else and are trying to navigate the staircase of our circumstances. It is what we can DO while we are longing for resolution in our situations or looking for the open door or wanting to know the way…

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to God. I pray that you would be strong in the Lord and not bow down to the temporary things of this life but would fix your eyes on Jesus who will bring you through to the end…safe pasture.

  • Teresa Klassen

The Project That Began 28 Years Ago And Is Ongoing With No End In Sight

8 10 2016

Dear Michael

Right from the “get go” you and I have taken on projects. Almost always, these have begun with the phrase, now legendary in our family, “How Hard Can It Be?” The answer to this becomes clear between “It is too late to turn around” and “there is no end in sight.”

Our current self-inflicted project looks like this:

img_8890 img_8891 img_8892 img_8893



























It began with, “We should put a bathroom in downstairs…how hard could it be? The drain is there, the lines are there,…” to the current conversation, “We need to replace all the water pipes in our entire house.” Why do we do this to ourselves? We take on a project (usually late in the evening) and before you know it, it’s Frankenstein.

As I sit here this morning, reflecting on October 8 — our anniversary — I am seeing a parallel between the trench in our foundation, shards of drywall, open studs, fingers of pipe and what life has been like for us.

Twenty-eight years ago we began this thing and since then we have been in constant construction mode. We started with “How Hard Can It Be” with our dream life in mind. We didn’t know anything about  anything. Maintenance and repairs weren’t on our radar. Within the first year of actually BEING married though, we realized “two becoming one” was not not going to build itself.

So we have been at this thing for 28 years. You’d think at 28 years there wouldn’t be much to do. It isn’t like we have been sitting around letting the house fall apart. We have been diligently at it, yet here we find ourselves constantly addressing new challenges. Is it easier, now that we have all this experience under our belts?

Not easier, but more equipped. Over the years we have accumulated a garage full of tools and each new challenge has some similarity to old challenges. We know where to begin with them. We know the kind of energy it is going to take to resolve them. We know what we want to see in the end.

What you and I have here and today isn’t a stack of Hallmark cards but a collection dusty blueprints, rolled and unrolled a thousand times with markings all around the edges, ideas that made it or didn’t make it, material lists and measurements…all the things we have done and redone together. We have been working side-by-side “day after day after day after day” and as I think about all this…I have a happy tiredness. It’s the thing you feel after a long day when you have accomplished much and what you have put your hand to is actually not that bad. The lines might not be perfectly straight, there are some holes we missed, I can see some of the old paint through the new here and there…but we have done this together. It’s what we have made and it suits us.

Thanks for never shying away from the ugly projects, Michael. Thanks for always leading our marriage back to Jesus, and back to Jesus again. Let’s keep going…sawdust in our shoes. Dirt under our nails.

You are my one and only, and I love you TNT.


P.S. I leave you with this old SNL bit because I think it is what we have always done and what every marriage that makes it, just needs to keep doing:


To the very, very end.

11 10 2014

pruningtool1“He prunes every branch that bears fruit so that it will bear more fruit.” (John 15:2b)

It’s really dumb to think you can be perfect, but sometimes I think I have achieved some measure of it. When things are rolling just right

I’m on time,

work is done,

made a list,

followed the map,


said something smart,

was extra nice,

my ego kisses the mirror. It’s delusional, but it happens.

If it was simply about doing things the best I can, that would be one thing, but behind it I know I want to be right…and standing behind that I don’t want to fail…and behind that is a fear of exposure…and behind that is a fear of rejection…and behind that stands a whole row of fear and lies and this my friends is why John 15:2b exists.

Yesterday’s post was all about “non fruit bearing branches.” You get the impression the gardener is trimming whatever is stubbornly refusing to really be a part of His design. I have never wanted to be that person. I have stayed as far away from that line as possible. I have always wanted to live the way the Bible leads us to live but here I read even the ones who are on track, producing fruit, get pruned.

“There is no one righteous. Not even one.” Romans 3:10

No one gets a pass. No individual branch is “right” or good to go, not even one. There is no exception or loophole, every branch is tended.

This could really be fuel for the perfectionist to add to the to-do list, but as I have been reflecting on this, I realize how important it is to remember who is doing the work in this passage. It isn’t me deciding what pet-project to work on today, it is the Gardener pruning. The Gardener deciding what must go, what must change, what needs binding, what needs supporting…it is the Gardener. He can tell: the Vine is One Way and if we are another the Gardener can tell. To anyone else we may seem just fine, but He knows. He knows about the lineup of fear and lies that get in the way of the Life and Freedom He offers.  This is not about adding something more, it is about trust and surrender.

“O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.” (Psalm 139:1)

The Gardener looks at me, what is inside of me, and sees what I can’t or what I refuse to. It may be the smallest thing or it may be an elephant but, for my own good and the good of His kingdom, it has got to go. Maybe it can go with one little snip; maybe it will take years but we can be sure that all of us will receive this kind of attention. This kind of loving, hard, patient, persistent attention.

I am 46 and my earliest memories all include Jesus. I have always loved Him and have wanted to be a follower in “right” standing. At the same time, I have always known I fail at this. I am a sinner. At 46 I haven’t stopped sinning but at this age I have a deeper understanding of it. When I was younger, I really thought I could trick the system, but at 46 I know I do not have the capability.

In my heart I see sinful tendencies, so there is no way I could ever accept that I am a “good person.” I can think noble things, do noble things, but lurking there in the shadows is always the ignoble. My confessions come quicker, my admissions are more readily made. My gratitude is more profound. I think I am more honest today then I was when I was 20 and still attempting to be perfect.

I recognize pruning more than I did back then. Here too there is pride, and not the good kind: I ask myself, “Really, at 46 you haven’t learned (interpretation: perfected) this?” No, I haven’t. But at 46 I recognize God’s love mixed in with the pain of His pruning. I still squirm when I see those shears; I wish I sat still right from the start, but I don’t. It taxes the plant to be pruned, that’s for sure, but I do know it is because I matter enough to my Father that He prunes me and this is pretty amazing too. In the end it will be good.

God is all about the good.

One day, as my mother was dying she was very restless. She was literally wrestling in her spirit and asked us to pray for her. I could see the turmoil and I was a little angry with God that this woman of faith should have to experience such a hurdle at this point,

“Really Lord? She has to go through this now? Hasn’t she been through enough?”

And then, some time later this peace washed over her and she said, “I needed to know, am I really forgiven? Is it true what Jesus has said, that He has really forgiven me for my sin? I am really loved?  And yes. I am.”

It was like the Gardener could see in her that little doubt and to finish her walk here on earth, for the very last bit of her journey He wanted this branch He had tended for 75 years to be free of that lie, the one that says Jesus is not quite enough and we are not quite adopted.

Fellow sojourner, He prunes every branch, even the ones so dedicated to bearing fruit, so that we will bear more fruit. There is no retirement, no Florida, no “old and useless.”

We are branches planted by the water, roots drinking from the stream, not fearing when heat [or pruning] comes; leaves are always green. We have no worries in a year of drought and never fail to bear fruit (Jeremiah 17:8 paraphrase).

Green to the very, very end.

— Teresa Klassen


Needing a Trim

9 10 2014

pruningvine“He takes away every branch that does not bear fruit in Me.” (John 15:2a)

This is referring to us now. Jesus is the vine. The Father is the gardener. We are the branches and right away we need to admit that branches can be about themselves. Branches can take from vine, drink in its goodness but grow rogue.

  • They can be glory seekers
  • Then can be false teachers
  • They can be selfish saints
  • They can be followers in name only.

Verse two is blunt. I like this about the Bible, it doesn’t really mince words or dance around subjects. Time is of the essence and followers of Jesus need to face who they are quickly:

  • Sinner?
  • Helpless?
  • Repentant?
  • Surrendered?
  • Saved?
  • Following?

John 15:2a is like this. It is an immediate heart check with 12 words that ask, who are you? We are to be off-shoots, little representatives of the vine: same look, same heart, same fruit (check Galatians 5 for fruit identification).

So what about these branches who don’t bear fruit. Everything in the Bible points to a God who fights for us. He doesn’t run His hand along the branches and snip us off just like that. He is so patient. He leaves so much time, puts so much energy into coaxing us to be fruit-bearing branches. I see this in my own life: the tedious work of keeping me grafted in. The Patient, tender, relentless, merciful, fine-tuning work of the Spirit.

I have felt it when he has adjusted me to be closer to the sunlight, the degree of change in the shade. He has come out late at night, tarp flapping in the wind to cover me in a sudden rainstorm.

Every last effort is made.

What requires trimming? It is revealed…

  • When we are in a hard season it will prove where our beliefs lie
  • When we are shaken, our next step tells a lot about us
  • When we are pressed or angry or confronted, our words tell a story
  • When we plan our calendar it says something about  us
  • What we do with and how we feel about our finances shows our colours.

As a branch, I have never known “me” as well as when I am in times of uncertainty. I hit the wall of my belief and unbelief hard then. Finally, with a few more bruises than I would like (I can be stubborn) I end up opening my hands and pleading, “teach me,” because I realize how much I have to learn.

But some branches will have none of it. Some refuse counsel and shun the expert handling of the gardener.

This verse says the Father will let go of what will not bend. There are those who will only serve themselves. There are those with a clear yes and a clear no. Let us not be mistaken, with 12 words John 15:2a says let us not be mistaken. There will be some who “depart from the faith” (1 Timothy 4:1).

Not my will, but Yours Lord. Win in me, please win in me.

— Teresa Klassen







26 Years: It’s Complicated

8 10 2014

mikeandtDear Michael,

I can’t let the day go by without giving it space here. It is our anniversary. Number 26. Today I was thinking about how people describe the status of their relationship and, when at a loss for words, they often just say: “It’s complicated.”

I actually think this is a great way to describe True Committed Love: It’s complicated.

We match each other and are opposite of each other at the same time but not for a second would I want anyone else.

We conspire with each other and disagree with each other and not at any time would I want it to be different.

We love spending every second with each other and sometimes we are on opposite ends of the earth and I can’t imagine any other journey.

We are each others biggest cheerleader and most honest critic and this is hard and awesome every day.

We know so much and yet have so much to learn and this isn’t going to change.

It’s complicated.

Over the past twenty-six years we have gotten under each others skin in a pretty literal way. Your life is wrapped around mine and  mine around yours so that I can’t even tell anymore where I begin and you end. We are still two individuals, but the colors are all mixed now. It’s complicated.

How two people can do this, be with each other like this, how we hold each others attention, how we make decisions, how we pray together and agonize together, together, together. It’s complicated.

Especially right now — in the season we are in — we get each other and don’t get each other, we agree and disagree, we trust and we question, we decide and second-guess, we are filled with ideas and then filled with question marks. It’s complicated.

I want you to know, I love being in the dead-center of complicated with you. Our cord of three strands has not been broken by anything, we have 26 years to show for, and I’m not going anywhere.

Thanks for your stubbornly committed love to me, to complicated me…





Life From The Dust

8 10 2014

gardener2(A slow walk through John 15)

After Jesus describes Himself as “the vine” He says, “And my Father is the gardener.” Roles. What does a gardener do?

  • Decides where to plant
  • Prepares the soil
  • Plants
  • Tends
  • Weeds
  • Feeds
  • Troubleshoots
  • Harvests.

When I first wrote out this list, I left something out. It didn’t occur to me until I was reading a commentary where it says the Father “planted the vine of his human nature and filled it with all the graces of the Spirit. He supported it, upheld it, and made it strong for Himself, for the purposes of His grace, and for His own glory, and took delight in it…” (John Gill’s Exposition). Funny that I left off how the gardener takes pleasure in the plant.

I am by no means a gardener, yet when something lives I am SO happy! I have four violets I tend religiously. One is blooming right now and I look at it every day. I am so happy it is doing well. I am so proud of myself that I haven’t killed it. I think about my violets, try to put them in just the right kind of light, and I try not to over-water them in my enthusiasm. When I go away I am concerned for them. I went out and bought some nice pots for them and, yes, they give me pleasure. One of my little violets is struggling, but it too gives me pleasure.

All these feelings and hopes and delight I have in a simple little plant and God the Father is described as a gardener. What gardener does what they do just for the labor? Who does not stand back and take pride in the straight rows? Fooling the crows, fighting off the intruder? Picking that first delicious carrot? Who doesn’t urge that struggling one along? Who isn’t proud of the work of their hands?

For me, for me, the Father does this: He finds ways to help me grow and takes delight in the whole process, the whole person! In the cool of the morning, in the garden of His making, “He walks with me and talks with me and tells me I am His own…”

I was thinking of a coffee I had recently with a friend who had been to Africa. She showed me pictures of a garden her missionary friends so carefully planted. They surrounded their garden with a thick hedge of thorny branches, provided water for the parched desert soil, and all this effort produced a little green crop of Swiss chard. The desire to grow something in impossible places is an idea “planted” by the Father, I think…to bring life from the dust.

Today I spread my heart out like an open leaf, mindful that I am not the vine but a branch off it, tended so carefully by a Father who takes delight in working with me. He is not content to see me wither, to age dry and brittle, but urges me to drink deeply of the Living Water and thrive.

— Teresa Klassen


Upside Down In the Jar

7 10 2014


I don’t know where Jesus was the day He said, “I am the vine,” but I have a hunch it was a vineyard. It isn’t hard to imagine, since little Israel has hundreds of wineries even today.  I live in vineyard country as well, in this little jewel of the Okanagan Valley called West Kelowna. Everywhere I go there is a vineyard or a winery, it is impossible to miss. I love staring up a hill at the row upon row of well-tended vines or going for a walk along the border paths. Often there are gardeners pruning this, weeding that, making little adjustments all along the row to help each vine thrive.

It should be noted there are many varieties of vines, not just grape-vines. Mike and I planted a creeping vine on our hill a few years ago. It is the kind that is supposed to grow rapidly and cover a lot of ground. It is green in its growing season, turns red and orange in the Fall and then eventually loses its leaves and is dormant for the winter months.  I like it because it requires little attention, which is best for someone like me who lacks gardening skills. This is not the kind of vine Jesus was referring to however because our vine, as nice as it is, does not produce any fruit.

Translations of this verse often add in the word “true vine” or “real, true vine” and that is important. Jesus isn’t just any kind of vine, as we learn if we skip ahead. Jesus is the kind of vine that bears fruit. If a branch begins to grow that is only about leaves, if it is “anti-fruit” it is out of place. Jesus’ life produces life. If I am a part of His way of living it is never a question of whether I might be like Him. If I am wanting to follow Him, I need to decide: is that what I want to look like too?  Am I willing to allow Him to make me that way?

I think it is a harder question than I think. Do I actually want to be worked on so that I am like Jesus? Wouldn’t I rather hang out with Jesus and get away with just being myself the way I am. Wouldn’t I rather blend in? I think I can seem like I am growing His way but not actually be.

Without going on and on about it, I know I am being worked on right now rather intensely. My blog has lain dormant for some time because I have not had the words to put together. I have been wrestling with God and His work in me. I have been upside down in the jar. I would like to say something that sounds spiritual, I would like to be Billy Graham but I think I have been more like Silly Billy (follow the link if you don’t recall the story, which is by now in the vintage category). Less a stalwart saint and more a somewhat frayed and bedraggled one.

The Vine I am a part of is all about life though, I know this. The fruit He bears is wine producing: He fills my cup with celebration and I am to pass that cup on and fill someone else’s with the best that He offers. Though I cry “stop pruning” now, I remain because I know that after it will be good. He promised.

— Teresa Klassen