When the writing of Desert Days* began nine years ago, it was accompanied by a strong impression of a trilogy. I knew the titles with Vineyard Days next, then to be followed by Harvest Days. We have now traversed together in Vineyard Days – seven years in the vineyard! Harvest Days still awaits its appointed time.
Though I ended the Desert Days series knowing there was much more that could be written, it was time to move on. My now deeply personal Shepherd Lover was intent that, while healing and restoration would continue, it was not healthy or profitable to linger on the edge of the desert. Somewhere along the trek, Holy Spirit’s breath-wind blew and blurred the line in the desert sands. I soon found myself deposited in vineyard ground with John 15 and the Song of Songs.
I never anticipated that Vineyard Days would be seven years in its expressing; but here we are with yet more to come.
John 15 ~ how does your vine-life grow?
When I think back on the discovery of what causes a grapevine to grow and bear fruit, I am reminded of the means, love, and care with which it is tended by the vinedresser. Now transfer that to our spiritual vine-life and the Husbandman.
Even with that perspective, but especially without, we can be swift to shield from the distress that comes timely and necessary to vineyard dwellers. The vineyard is one place the modern adage, “no pain, no gain” does indeed apply. Largely because none of us likes the pruning seasons. Nor the processes by which the old and no longer productive is removed to make room for new growth.
However, a spiritual vine-life will not grow, develop, or produce fruit in keeping with repentance 1 by any other means.
Repentance carries the definition of turning and walking away from the sin – whatever it may be – that is to end when true repentance has taken place. Our lives evidence the fruit of a yielded, responsive heart – or a hardened one. Selah.
The Song ~ the Shulamite – bud, blossom, fruit
The Shulamite in Solomon’s Song is our heroine, for she is so relatable as a person of self being transformed by Love.
Throughout, Shulamite is a legitimate model of us. And in the end, a glorious portrayal of the transforming power of Covenant love, poured out in and through relationship with the One whom that soul has come to know and love.
After seven years of intimate acquaintance with the Shulamite of Solomon’s Song, I am convinced that her end beauty and maturity is the heavenly by-product of holding the Lord Jesus Christ fast in her gaze. Unveiling light. Mirrored glory. 2
…and so, the journey continues – or begins – or deepens
Every beloved disciple of Jesus Christ is on their own journey of relationship with Him. Each one has discovered that it began with answering His call to ‘come away, my beloved’. It is why I believe the Shulamite’s story is timely and timeless.
For you who chose or chanced to read this seven-year testimony, Vineyard Days is set to press on into the heart of chapter five of the Song and what is to follow. As Shulamite was then, so are we now: on the threshold of transition.
Perhaps you are in a place where ‘the journey continues’ means to start at the beginning. Vineyard Days is posted in chronological order to assist you with that. Too, a refresher reading has a way of restoring a spirit of hope and courage.
You may have journeyed hit and miss throughout these seven years. For discernment and heart confirmation of where you are in this season, Holy Spirit aids with the Shulamite’s three confessions of love and three yieldings.
More recently as Vineyard Days arrived at pivotal chapter five, you may have engaged the latest Christ’s Bride posts. The dream upon which the five writings are based is witness to the present activity and timing of Holy Spirit. In this Selah time, I have asked the Lord for His intervention to stir the hearts of those who will and who do belong to Him.
a Selah benediction
No matter on what threshold of transition you or I find ourselves standing – be it from the desert to the vineyard, from the vineyard to the garden, from the garden to what lies before – our Beloved still calls us to come away – and stay – with Him. It is in His presence and companionship we find rest for our weary selves, wrapped in life-giving tendrils of His love.
~ Gracefully Free
*written during the waiting period between my end of cancer treatment and stepping into God’s purposed new season
1 context of Matthew 3 (verse 8)
2 II Corinthians 3:18