Ever nurse a dream, a promise, or a relationship for many years, praying for fruitfulness, only to face barrenness instead? God used a Dwarf Meyer Lemon Tree to teach me a powerful lesson; true Fruitfulness is not born from nature, nor nurture, but from Intimacy with God.
My Mom has been my spiritual hero of faith and watching her triumph through countless hardships and difficulties raising 9 children and staying true to her marriage vows despite harsh circumstances has given me courage to ‘Overcome’ in my own life. I felt the Lord wanted me to buy a Meyer Dwarf Lemon Tree for her 57th anniversary; she took a life of “lemons” and instead of souring in her losses, she made refreshing lemonade to impart life into many.
Mom and I loved and nurtured the tree and in the first year it produced 2 lemons, the second, 4. But then without warning leaves began to yellow and fall off, along with all the many new lemon buds. Aphids and disease fiercely attacked our precious tree and threatened its impending demise.
It was no coincidence that tragedy also struck in real life to dreams and relationships at that same time. The enemy whispered deceitful lies that just like the tree, our life and legacy would fail to finish strong and bear lasting fruit. I knew the Father of Lies has no truth in him but the reality of the dying tree and life’s circumstances rallied around those lies with convincing proof.
I cried out to God and asked Him what I should do. He spoke to my heart something that turned the tide. He said, “Stop Pretending and start Contending.” Contending means saying “no” to everything that is in opposition to God’s purposes, plans, and ways. You must first say “no” to the false in order to make room for the truth- the “Yes” of God. So I looked head on at the tree and all that it represented in our lives. I acknowledged the ‘facts’ of the apparent “deaths” but said “No,” refusing to continue to align myself with what I saw. Then I began to speak the Life of the Living God over the Tree and our circumstances. The power of agreement is crucial in our race of faith. We can agree with the enemy’s suggestions and reports empowering darkness/death to grow or we can agree with Our Dad who always has our best interest at heart.
Slowly over the course of a few months’ signs of life returned to the tree. The sticky aphids disappeared, fresh new leaves began to grow, and then to my utter amazement new buds began to appear…. everywhere! Not just a couple here or there…but bud upon bud! I knew this wasn’t a naturally occurring event and I shouted with joy and exclaimed for my family to come witness God’s faithfulness. We counted over 300 intoxicatingly fragrant blossoms on this tiny tree!
The Tree was just the Outward sign of the inner work Jesus was doing all around us. The Goodness of God passed right before my eyes as God began to open “graves,” resurrecting dreams and relationships bringing the fulfillment of promises to pass. What a Mighty God we serve! Dare to Trust in the One who not only holds the universe in His hands, but our individual hearts are held tightly to His chest for we are His beloved treasure.
Fruitfulness is born of intimacy. Listen to His whispers, obey what He instructs, and watch in wonder as He works! The harvest is breathtaking!