The In-between. Saying No.

(This series of devotionals spanned over a three year period of my life. I wrote out of truths that God shared with me throughout every season of this process. I love how he brought this all together and I pray that you will receive encouragement from what he allowed me to experience. Praise His Name!)

I had to say the word "no" the other day and it was so very hard. I know my voice shook the entire time and I'd like to say it was from conviction, but honestly it was out of fear. There was fear of upsetting the person I said no to, and fear of never being asked to do anything again because I'm now one of those people who says "no."

There is this burden of non-productivity when you're living in the in-between. An emptiness that we can't help but feel needs to be filled. To be useful, feel useful or appear like we're altogether fine, we say "yes" to whatever comes our way. This is one of the biggest enemies of living in the in-between.

The in-between is all about waiting patiently while the Lord does His hidden work - not to run ahead of His plans. You can read the first encouragement from my last blog post, but for now let's talk about the next step in the in-between.

Let's revisit our passage on the vine and branches.

John 15:1-2 "I am the vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful."

I mentioned last time that pruning is painful, but necessary for optimal fruit bearing. If we want to be fruitful, we must have things cut away. I also mentioned that it takes up to three years of pruning just to have the potential for production! Pruning is a practice in patience. Oh, me. So is spiritual growth. This is what we're called to do while living in the in-between. God is at work in those deep places of our lives that may never see light, but are necessary to produce fruit.

Let's examine that thought while we read further advice from our author of the about pruning:

"In you