I spend a large part of my brain space analyzing my life and beating myself up for the little ways in which I fall short on a daily basis.  I calculate how many calories I consumed, how many vegetables our family ate, how much money is left in our gas budget, how many episodes of word world we watched and how faithfully I’ve been keeping up with my YouVersion bible reading plan.

I use a planner, a chalkboard, a spreadsheet, an iPhone ap, blogs, books, eating plans, vitamins parenting strategies all in an effort to find the one thing that will make it all click.  The one perfect strategy I can swear by  to hold things together.

Something that will bring us health and joy, bring me energy and clarity, patience and perseverance.

Is it in all about counting gifts and choosing joy in the little things?  Would it all be okay ig I gave up TV in favor of more reading and or daily walks?

Should I do a strict Paleo diets?  Or opt for the micronutrient right option of Juicing?

What can I do to make me a better writer?  A more engaged Mother?  A faithfully prayerful Wife? A stricter Budget-Keeper?  A more efficient homemaker?

What am I doing wrong?  I never stop trying, I feel like all these components are screaming at me constantly, demanding attention I’m running low on to begin with.

What am I missing, what system must I adapt to find joy and peace?

So yesterday I found it, a huge challenge, a truly hard way to live but certainly one that will bring my life together.


Remain daughter.  Just remain.  I am the vine, you are the branches, unless you remain in me and I in you, you will surely wither and bear no fruit. (John 15 paraphrased)

This verse quietly reminded me of my true glue, my only real system all contained in something simple and incredibly profound.  Jesus puts it simply using a word picture that his audience could understand, one that is easy to grasp for us still today.

I am the vine, you are the branches, apart from me you can bear no fruit.  None.  Remain in me and I will remain in you.

Right here our Jesus meets his audience in the space where they live by farming language.    If he were speaking to me personally, where I live, he would say this:

“You know how Noelle picks pansies from the front flower beds and it drives you crazy?  Can you count the number of times you’ve gently explained to her that when she takes the flowers away from the plant, they die?”

Well you are the flower and I am the plant, if your beauty is removed from me, you loose all your nutrients and start to shrivel up.  You can put the flower in water but it’s only a patch, a flower removed from the plant, the flower bed, will surely die.”

It’s so frustrating how easily I forget this concept and run to everything but my true source.  I flail about like a fish on a dock, trying everything else before flopping back in the life giving water.

There is no perfect diet or system that will pull it all together, there are some that may be helpful add-ons but the only true source of joy, the only true glue for me is to remain within the ever-helpful, sustaining, nutritive presence of God.

I cannot earn it
I cannot make it
I cannot schedule it
I can only, truly just remain.

To remain, just to be in Him, that’s our only real system, everything else is just details.

  • Amanda

    Sometimes I think we live parallel lives in different states. This is almost exactly what I came away with yesterday — I can’t resurrect myself. I can’t keep trying to bear fruit if I’m not remaining in Him. Thank you for putting this so beautifully, and reminding me that I’m not alone on this journey toward Him.

  • Mark Allman

    Great advice for us all. It makes me think of the link to Hebrews 2:1 where we are told to pay attention so we do not drift away. I think the paying attention is the tying ourselves to and remaining in Jesus