Tuesday, September 20, 2016

I am the True Vine: Kelly Minter Conference/ Raleigh Weekend

If you've heard it once, then you've probably heard it a thousand times how much I enjoy Kelly Minter and her Bible studies. I began her studies several summers ago after seeing a few bloggers write about the Ruth study. We gathered a small group of girls in an apartment and began studying the book of Ruth. Snacks and dinner were involved, but I greatly appreciated the conversation centering around the Truth of God's Word. This past weekend Kelly Minter spoke at the church I attended while I was in Raleigh, Bay Leaf. While Jeremy was slaving away at his PhD exam, I made it a fun trip with the girls. Friday morning came early, and by early I'm talking 4:30 - Translation: I don't see that time of day unless I'm waking up to use the restroom. But I did manage to capture this beauty while at the airport. See that sunrise. See that skyline. 

The weekend was jam-packed with seeing all the friends in Raleigh. Y'all - my campus pastor said the best friends you make are those you make in seminary. I can't agree more. The time I spent in Raleigh for all of a solid 8 years - I spent kicking and screaming and wanting God to move me. My heart is fond of this little area now, as I am realizing these are the women I've prayed with; laughed with; cried a dozen tears or more; studied His Word with; and have been in small group with over the years. He is faithful to provide friends at a time I never thought I would have any. 

Though I didn't take pictures too much, I was able to spend some time with Amanda during the day and quite a few folks that night. Jen took us to Nashers, a new sandwich place and I'm still dreaming about the sandwich I ate. The conference began on Friday night. I may have fangirled it and took a picture of Kelly while she was teaching and insisted on taking one with her afterward. 

Yep. I made the beeline and brought my friends along with me. 

The conference/teaching focused on John 15 and bearing fruit. We can be gifted to bear fruit physical but are definitely given the task to bear fruit spiritually. The fruit the believer bears cannot be done apart from Christ - This is where emphasis on John 15:1 comes in - "I am the TRUE vine, and my Father is the vinedresser." Christians are the branches, and we must attach ourselves to the vine for nourishment. Kelly gave an excellent word picture for my brain - Branches need the nourishment of the vine. We can attempt to attach ourselves to many vines hoping to find that nourishment or fulfillment - new clothes, new kitchens, husband, children, a clean house - The list could go on and on. Eventually, we will come up empty handed because these things are not going to provide the nourishment we need to grow. Jesus says, "I AM THE TRUE VINE." He is the truest of vines where we will experience fulfillment. He has come to earth to be the light in the midst of darkness. He reveals the Father to us and gives us life in His ways. Y'all I can't even begin to wrap my mind fully around this, but it's great! Only in Christ are we fulfilled, nourished, satisfied. He is the only vine who will gives us exactly what we need and sustain us. No worrying necessary. How beautiful!

Oh y'all it was a joy of my heart to gather with these two girls and pray together. We were in a small group together when I attended IDC and spent much time in prayer together. 

It wouldn't be a trip to Raleigh without seeing this red head. After the conference ended, some friends grabbed Mexi-cannnn and I shopped it up with Leah. However, I was able to make it just in time for this sassy lady's bday party. This corner of the Wake Forest world will always feel like home, even though I only lived there 8 months. However, over the course of the 8 years, I found myself there frequently - perched on a kitchen stool gabbing away to the one in the middle. This home has brought many new friends into my life, including Lane. We shared a lunch together around Mrs. Bush's table and have been friends ever since. I also finally got to meet that sweet Abby Grace. 

After a morning breakfast with Kelly and Heidi, I found myself in a familiar seat. I love a window seat. This time I was heading to New York out of RDU - not for a brief weekend, but for home with my husband. Those previous rides were filled with uncertainty due to the fact that I did a poor job of fully trusting the Lord during my relationship with Jeremy. However, this ride back was sweet - I was going home! No longer the home in Raleigh. But the home is New York. His faithfulness endures. 

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide... 
John 15:16

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