"I Am The Vine; You Are The Branches. If A Man Remains In Me And I In Him, He Will Bear Much Fruit; Apart From Me You Can Do Nothing."
The tree was tall, yet semi-bare, lots of branches, yet not to many leaves.
It wasn't grown on the right foundation, it wasn't watered nor nurtured the way it should have been, it has seen storms throughout time, weathered many of them, yet the cracks started to appear almost immediately.
Small, hairline cracks starting at the base and climbing up every few feet.
The roots aren't underground as they should have been, instead, they are surface roots, easily tripped on if you get too close.
In this tree is a birds nest, high above the ground, nestled in the only leaves the tree grows.
Inside the nest, are several birds, waiting, watching, taking in everything around them.
The birds have been there a long time, sometimes leaving the nest, yet always returning to the same nest.
Until one day, one of the birds is seen falling out of the nest.
The bird hit the ground, battered, hurt, unsure of what to do next...
She wanted to go back to the only nest she had ever known, back to her family of birds, back to where she belonged.
She wasn't wanted back in the nest though, she wasn't welcome back in that nest.
As she stumbled around, wondering where to lay her weary head, she noticed a different tree a few blocks from her original one.
One day she went seeking protection from the new tree, the elements were getting to be more than she could handle and she was tired of the storm.
She was drained, lost, confused and didn't have much strength left to continue on.
This tree was beautiful, rooted within the ground, full of branches and glorious leaves, there was fruit and even berries on this new tree.
The sun always seemed to be shining on this tree, no matter what the weather was like, the light within was almost blinding.
As she was looking around, a new bird she had not encountered before came within her eyesight.
He was kind and compassionate and took her under his wing.
He listened, he guided, he showed her what she was truly capable of, he showed her she could fly, high above the clouds, he welcomed her into the new tree and within the new tree was a new nest, a nest so big it didn't seem to have an end, filled with all kinds of birds, of every size, almost all would welcome the new bird into the family.
She was afraid when she came to him, broken and scarred by life, so unsure of what her next step would be, she needed direction, she needed someone to tell her what to do next, only he wouldn't do it, in time, ever so gently, he pushed her to the ledge of the nest, careful not to push her to hard, yet not so easy that she would feel she had to stay in that nest always.
He knew this scared little bird was destined for something big, he also knew she was terrified of taking that step, afraid of failing once again, most importantly afraid of failing someone so much bigger than her.
Once she became familiar with her new surroundings, he seemed to fade into the background, yet wasn't very far from her, he watched her, was there if she had questions, yet unlike in the beginning, he stopped answering all the questions and had her seek the answers from within.
She could see his hand in each step she took, however he wouldn't take any credit for her transformation, she had to learn on her own, something was much bigger than him or her, guiding them both towards something greater than they even knew was possible.
She began a wonderful transformation, guided by forces unseen, helped along the way by new birds, a new nest, a new tree.
She could feel the change happening within, scared yet excited at the same time and the new bird stood back and watched her, still never so far that she couldn't reach his wing if she need be, yet far enough to not get in the way of the lessons being taught her.
She would get to the ledge and then take a few steps back, each time he was there to guide her, he could see her uncertainty, yet wouldn't allow her to give up, wouldn't allow her to just sit in the nest, content to stay where she was, he needed her to keep moving forward.
The night came when it was time for her to spread her wings, he knew she could be an asset to the new birds that coming in, she just had to find the faith within herself, he had done all he could to prepare her for the new journey she was about to embark on, little by little he had seen her come out of the shell she had been trapped in, her song which once was dark and dreary was now full of light and joy, her wings fluttered to those around her, helping, even though she didn't think so, guiding, even though she didn't think so, she was ready to take the final leap and leave the nest, always welcome into it, however never to stay for very long.
Just like him, she needed to find the lost and bring them in, help the sick, shoulder the pain of the old and the new.
He taught her how to help each and every bird that comes into the nest, he showed her what true compassion is without stifling her growth, he showed her that he had been there through the lessons, he just couldn't give her all the answers she sought, he showed her that she had a purpose for life, a purpose much greater than herself.
Last night I had Bible study, once the study was over I went and spoke with my Pastor, once all was said and done, this is how I saw him.
A bird greater than myself, one who has guided me, without getting in His was, one who has shown me what I am capable of, without hindering His process in my life, one who laid everything out for me, yet allowed me to find my own way.
Yes, he could have handed me the answers on a silver platter, however he chose to let me find my own answers.
When I thought I was stumbling around in the dark, lost beyond being found, God put this man in my life, stern, loving, forgiving, kind, compassionate.
A God fearing man who just won't allow me to sink into my own self pity, a man who could have just discounted me, yet he didn't, instead he took the time to help me shed my own skin, to shed my old life and during the process, he never took any credit, instead showed me who to really be thankful to.
Today, I am thankful for my Pastor, a man that knows all my secrets and loves me anyway.
A man who took me under his wing when no one else would, showed me how to find true love from Him, showed me what it was like to be truly loved by Him and allows me to shine His light, each chance I have.
Thank you Lord, for this man.
You Know The Effort I Have Given
And You Know Exactly What It Cost
And Though My Innocence Was Taken
Not Everything Is Lost