“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” —John 15:4–5 ESV
As moms we have a tendency to feel that doing anything for ourselves is selfish. This warped mentality often results in us becoming run down, stretched thin, and unable to cope with the demands of family life. When we refuse to take time to refuel, refuse to make time to foster life-giving relationships, and perhaps most perilously, refuse to protect time to connect with Jesus, we dry up like a branch that is severed from the nutrients of the vine.
Nurturing a relationship with Jesus doesn’t have to mean extended periods of silence before the sun comes up. But God does call us to seek Him in prayer, to have an appetite for His Word and to read it often, to worship Him, to serve Him, and to work to be more like Him. Those things won’t happen by accident and they require intention on our part, especially as the demands of motherhood increase.
These verses from John 15:4–5 are a reminder of our ultimate source of strength. Jesus is the Vine; we are just branches. Jesus is able to bear fruit in our lives and in the lives of our children, but we are just conduit for the change. Apart from Him we can do . . . nothing.
In order to be truly made over, we need a radical shift in priorities. Too often we work ourselves silly trying to keep the house clean, the kids in line, and our family schedule tamed. We treat eternal matters as if they are optional. Our undercurrent attitude says we will pray and study the Word only if we find the time. God’s Word urges us to note that unless we are clinging to the Vine, we can do nothing . . . including those things on our mothering plate that seem so urgent.
Action Step: Plant a reminder.
Place a small potted plant somewhere you will see it often, such as your kitchen window or bathroom. On the pot or on a plant marker, write out John 15:4–5. Read it often as a reminder that nurturing your relationship with Jesus is to be your first priority. Without that step you are guaranteed to wither.
A Mom’s Prayer: Jesus, thank You for the abundance that comes from clinging to You. Without You I cannot handle the responsibilities of motherhood, but when I cling to You, I can be fruitful. Thank You for this promise. Teach me to cling.
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