What do I do with thirty extra minutes on the schedule?
I make a beeline to a thrift store in search of a treasure, loved or unloved. I scan the shop with a discerning creative eye to find something with potential or “good bones.” This is my creative passion! It’s become therapy for my soul after pouring my heart and soul onto the pages of what ended up becoming a spiritually healing book-writing journey. I relearned many things about the person I am and what I deserve out of this life on this journey. I ponder these thoughts as I scan the isles and in no time, I spy the “thing” I came in to find.
It’s a large but just-the-right-size painting of a lemon tree on a simple board. This lemon tree painting has that” je ne sais quoi” special-ness, which speaks to my soul. The leaves are ever so green, thriving full with the cheeriest of lemons.
I think everyone really needs a lemon tree. I really do.
Isn’t it amazing how beauty can speak to us in ways we couldn’t fully articulate?
This tree is so full of life. Without saying a word, this image is connecting and summarizing my life. The lemons represent the fruits and harvest of every page written. Every paragraph I carefully reviewed which took me back to the beginning. I slowly worked my way through the cross; I bore with shame and heartache until I surrendered it to God and asked him to help carry my burdens. The cross of divorce and all of my expectations from the life I had. On the cross, I had to abide and connect with the heart of a loving God. It was not easy; it was like scaling the tallest mountain only to find myself in the darkest of valleys. It took time, it was hard work, but I knew it had to be done to grow and bear fruit in this life again.
How many times do we want to take the easy way out from doing it God’s way? On His timing? How do we climb out of our own season of darkness or carry heavy crosses? I knew all too well the work that was involved. But, there is no other way. We must pass through the pain and heartache to face it head-on with God so that he can heal our wounds.
I could not make even the simplest lemonade from the lemons my life produced. For so long, I swallowed their bitter fruit because I did not abide in the vine of the Lord. Instead, I took it all into my own hands. I bartered, cried, got mad, made excuses, tried to make artificial fruit, which resulted in a withered half-dead tree. The moment I knew the only way was not my way, my life began to become sweeter. It was I who needed to choose to abide in the vine of the Lord to find the sugar my lemons needed to make lemonade.
How do you abide and connect to the vine? I remember the humble conversation I had with God. I said, “Okay, God, I cannot do it on my own. I surrender.” That was it. I had to surrender to graft onto the vine of life. God took my mustard seed of faith and my surrender, healed my wounds, and with His grace and loving care. Sometimes there was sunshine, sometimes rain, sometimes I needed to be pruned and cut back to grow even more fruit. I was becoming a beautiful lemon tree growing strong in the light of our Lord.
This painting was telling me you are a beautiful lemon, Diane. You made it through! It wasn’t easy, but you are here sprouting more creative fruit.
God surprised me with many different gifts in the fruit of the spirit.
1 Gentleness 2 love
7 faithfulness 8 goodness 9 self-control
These gifts represented each of my lemons. They flowered and blossomed, and the fruit they produced with the help of some paintbrushes, furniture, and a community-inspired message connected the journey of My Devine Heart to Faith-Filled Furniture.
The lemons on my tree tell me and the world that we are all God’s masterpiece! God is the artistic painter who is also the vinedresser, gardener, and vine. But, most of all, God is our dearest friend who wants to help you live life to the fullest. When you choose to surrender the wounds, you carry and graft on abiding and connecting to the vine. It is when you will be taken care of in every way, and you will grow and grow and grow into a refreshing, vibrant lemon full of your best lemonade life God has planned for you! Yes! Everyone should have a lemon tree, I thought! Yes! What a beautiful find! What a beautiful God! What a lovely lemon! What a beautiful you!