Wednesday, December 19, 2018

The Path to Abundant, Plentiful Fruit

I realize I have been silent on here as of late. As I continue this journey of education, I realize this blog will be something I will occasionally still post to, but definitely not regularly. Thank you for understanding.

I have had a few thoughts swirling in my head this past week and felt the tug to write through them on here. John 15:1-2 "I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn't produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more." I have heard this passage has been taught on many times, yet it has taken another turn in my life. When the Lord has cut off branches that do not produce fruit in my life there has been pain, but it makes sense, yet as this passage states He also prunes those branches that do bear fruit. The Lord gave me a picture of a rose bush in fall, it is tall, the branch making it look as if next year the bush will be bigger and bloom more than ever. This is deceiving. I remember the first year I had a rosebush, thinking this would make it a better bush the next year. The problem is with the long branches now that the rosebush is putting all its' energy into giving life to these branches there is little energy left to be given to producing rosebuds, the "fruit" of the bush.


This struck me in a new way. Pruning is not all about getting rid of the dead and diseased branches, it is also about cutting back the good. We cut back the good so that our energies are for those things to which we have been specifically called. I have done this numerous times as I cut back my rosebushes and I have done it some in life. However this fall as I began this new journey I had to cut many, many things out. It has been painful. In roses it looks like we are killing the bush, yet for more fruit this is what is necessary. In our lives it can feel like death, taking from our lives these "good" things that feel like they give us life. If I am totally honest, it is not until the pain is too great that I am willing to pry open my hands and give up what have been grasping to for dear life. Others may not understand how we can give up "good" things and may resist us. However, it is a necessary season. And as everything is cut back bare, we can only rely on Jesus to give us what we need as we are no longer filled by these other things. Then, we are able to put our energies into those few branches left and they can bear abundant fruit. Living an abundant life does not mean there will never be pain, it means we pour into the few things Jesus calls us to rather than the many the world calls us to.

Jesus is so kind. We always have choice. He understands if we do not wish to set all these things aside to find our source from Him alone. Yet He also continues to invite us as He knows it is only when we surrender all to Him that we can bear abundant fruit. While it is painful to submit to His pruning, I know the life offered here is better than I can imagine once I pass through the death. This is the way of our Lord and Savior, what seems like death leads to life.

For me as I have struggled through the pain of this season, it helps to remember it is a season and it is for my good. It is not punishment, but love that calls us into these times of pruning.  

I invite you to take this deeper. Take some time in quiet contemplation and ask yourself the following questions. Invite Jesus to be present with you and ask Him what is His view in this.

Where season are you in? A few I can think of are: the budding season, the growing season, the harvest, dormancy and the season of pruning.

If you are in a season of pruning, how does it feel? Has it felt like punishment? Can you ask Jesus about this? Why is He pruning you?

Are there things to which you are clinging because of the bits of life they bring? What does Jesus invite you to? Many times we cling to these things and Jesus invites us to open our hands. Can you physically do that right now? Clench your hands, notice how you feel. Then release and open your hands, notice what happens inside.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Guest Post

I was honored to be asked to do a guest post on HCM International's website. I have been doing an internship with them for the past almost year and have learned so much. I've been so thankful for this opportunity, both the internship and to do a post for them.

Growing up I was always fascinated with the next phase, the next big achievement, for what felt like the destination. I couldn't wait for my next birthday, next school phase, driver's license, dating, marriage, kids, for kids to reach their next milestone. The list could go n. I didn't know how to be content in the moment I was in. I was a finisher and woulds set everything aside to get the task in front of me done. My vision was firmly fixed on the destination, everything else falling away, seeming to be a distraction...

Feel free to check the rest out here.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Seasons Continue

Seasons by Yucki

Ecclesiastes 3:1 For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.

I like to find a comfortable groove. I like to figure out what works and then rest there. However, I haven't found life to work like this. It seems just when I think I have figured out how to do one thing, life changes. My son graduated this year and my second child will graduate next year. Then thankfully we have some time before the youngest is ready. But this is a different season from when I was bringing each of my three children home from the hospital. A new learning curve. It's great and hard at the same time.

It's been important for me to be home with my children, and I've been blessed with an understanding husband. Even though it's made finances tight I've always only worked part-time. And now we have another season we are embarking upon. Ministry has been amazing, challenging me to learn and become more confident in who God has created me to be. And now this fall, I feel called back to school to add to what the Lord has been teaching me and leading me in. Time for another learning curve. It's exciting and scary, all at the same time.

What will my future look like? What is the Lord leading me into? I don't know for sure and that's scary, but He often has asked me to Trust in Him and to wait on His timing. I am not to know all He has for me. But I understand it is part of the seasons, it is part of trust. Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. 

What season are you in or getting ready to enter right now? What are you feeling as you enter the change?

Awakening - An Event

Have you ever found yourself asking, "Is there more to life than this?" It seems at times as if life is all about running from one task to the next. Yet somewhere along the way, Jesus promised us an abundant life! If you are wanting to find out more of what the Lord is calling you to The Awakening Conference is just for you! Join us on Friday June 22 at 6 -8:30 pm and Saturday June 23 at 9am - 2pm. Lunch will be on your own at one of the many establishments nearby. This is a free event, however, please register here so we can have enough supplies and people ready to serve. Hope to see you there!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Fledging Your Children Well - An Interview and Giveaway!

Recently Brenda Yoder asked if I would be part of a group of women to read through her new book, Fledge: Launching Your Kids Without Losing Your Mind. I quickly said yes, as this book is about launching your kids and we are entering this phase in life. I appreciated Brenda's honesty about her own journey. And the acknowledgement of how we often think that if we have instilled the values of God into our children, that we will sail through this stage of life with our children. However, it's not always that easy, as our children are looking and deciding if the values we have in our lives are ones they believe, no longer just taking our word for it.

I loved the encouragement and how I felt knowing I wasn't the only one wrestling through grief of loss, but also struggling through the feelings of realizing this child is becoming an adult whom I butt heads with. It was great to know I'm not the only one wrestling through a whole gamut of emotions. I want to walk through this season in a way that honors both my child and myself. It is a delicate balance at times and I felt Brenda got this as well.

Brenda has graciously give me the opportunity to bless one of you with this book. To win this book there will be several opportunities to have your name entered into the drawing.

1. Comment below on which part of 'fledging' your children that you are in. Please let me know what's your favorite part and what's been hardest.

2. Share this post of facebook. Comment below to let me know you've done so.

3. Follow this blog. Comment below to let me know you've done so.

Good luck to you all. I hope the Lord speaks to you through the interview with Brenda that follows. All entries accepted until 12:00 pm on March 16, 2018.

Lori: Could you talk about why you decided to name the book Fledge?

Brenda: The team at Herald Press came up with the term and I believe it was God’s perfect plan.
My original proposal was “Raising to Release” and we went through several
suggestions before they came up with Fledge: Launching Your Kids Without Losing
Your Minds.” Both terms of fledge continued to shape the book from the original
manuscript because it reflects this process so beautifully:

           • (of a young bird) to develop wing feathers that are large enough for flight
           • to provide and an arrow with feathers.

I especially love how Psalm 127 is the center for the book and fledge specifically
addresses putting feathers on an arrow, which is the image God uses of parents
releasing their children!

Lori: Do you mind sharing why you wrote Fledge for those that might not know?

Brenda: Herald Press approached me about writing a parenting book and I proposed the idea of
a parenting book for this stage of life—when you’re releasing your children and yet still
parenting younger children. I found myself struggling in this stage after the first two of
my four children went to college. We weren’t empty nesters yet our nest was emptying.
There were so many emotions and challenges during this season parenting both young
adults, teens, and younger children. I found there weren’t any resources addressing
these needs. So, I guess I wrote the book on it—literally!

Lori: What has been the hardest part of fledging your own children?

Brenda: The grief over the season of child rearing coming to the end. I love parenting and I love
children. I don’t love the hard parts of parenting, but I truly love pouring Jesus into kids.
The second hardest is not being able to see my oldest child very often. My only
daughter is a full time missionary with Back2Back ministries and I simply miss not being
able to see her.

Lori: What's been the most joyous part of fledging your children?

Brenda: The most joyous part has been seeing each of my kids choose Christ at this point in
their lives, though with some it’s been a hard journey. I love seeing each of the kids
grow into the person God is developing them to be and seeing them get excited about
their passions. It’s also humbling when they tell you they understand why you’ve taught
them different things or when they say thank you for things they never said thank you
for when they were teenagers.

Lori: You talk in the book about doing this season well. I love this quote, “But inside, I say,
Wait! I don’t want to be consoled about how great life is going to be! This is where I’m
at. I don’t want anyone to take away one minute of my family life now.” This is so
important to stay in the now and not keep looking forward to the future and longing for
the past. So how do you help women to work through that grief of the now to fully be
present in it so you can enjoy the family of now?

Brenda: One way I help women is by identifying the different types of grief in the first chapter on
Mom grief. Many times we think we’re emotional just because we’re missing our kids
but there are various types of losses a mom can experience at this time in her life.
Identifying each one helps women acknowledge which one they might be experiencing.
That process helps them grieve them individually but also helps them know how to most
past each component.

I also try to help women know it’s okay to feel these feelings. Many times, people in the
stage ahead, the empty nest or grandparent stage, say, “Oh, it gets better!” That
response minimizes or puts a value judgment on what parents are feeling now.
Validation of feelings can be powerful, encouraging, and healing.

There’s a chapter on “don’t miss this life.” I help moms to enjoy their children right now
because this stage really does go fast! Most of our parent years we’re always
anticipating the next stage. In the releasing stage, it’s the last stop on the childhood
train. So, we need to enjoy it and our kids while they’re here!

More about Fledge:
To find out more about everything related to letting go and the fledging stage of parenting,
get Fledge: Launching Your Kids Without Losing Your Mind. It’s available online and at major
retailers. Join Brenda on Facebook for our upcoming Fledge Parenting Forum, on Instagram,
Twitter, and at

More about Brenda:

Brenda Yoder is a national speaker, author, Licensed Mental Health
Counselor, and life coach whose passion is encouraging others when life
doesn’t fit the storybook image. Authentic and humorous, Brenda
connects with women and moms in a way that will have you laughing
and crying all at the same time.

Her new book,Fledge: Launching Your Kids Without Losing Your Mind is a personal handbook for parents in the season of raising and releasing
kids. Brenda’s been featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul books: Reboot
Your Life and Confident and Curvy; the Washington Post, and For Every
Mom. Her first book for busy moms, Balance, Busyness, and Not Doing
It All released in 2015.

Brenda is also former teacher and school counselor and was twice
awarded the Touchstone Award for teachers. Her ministry, Life Beyond
the Picket Fence, is found at where she writes about
faith, life, and family beyond the storybook image. Brenda is a wife and
mom of four children, ranging from teens to adults, and lives on a farm
in Indiana. You can connect with Brenda on Twitter, Facebook,
Pinterest, and Instagram. Join her Facebook page to follow the new
Fledge Parent Forum for moms releasing their kids.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Step out of the Boat

In Matthew 14 we read the story of when Peter gets out of the boat and walks on the water to Jesus. Often we can give him a hard time. After all Peter starts to look at the storm all around and starts to sink, taking his eyes off Jesus. But really, can we give him some credit? How many disciples were in the boat? It doesn't say for sure, but let's say all of the core group are in there. If that's the case, eleven didn't get out. They didn't even ask Jesus if it would be possible to come meet Him on the water. I wonder did the thought even occur to them? They played it safe, they stayed nice and dry. So why is Peter the only one who gets the bum rap???

Peter takes a chance, a leap of faith. He has faith the size of a mustard seed and he acts. He's doing something new and exhilarating. But then all of a sudden he remembers where he is, on water with strong wind and waves, where one sinks. Peter's eyes are drawn to the impossibilities of what is all around him and he begins to sink.

I wonder if you'd be willing to enter into this story and see what does Jesus want to show you? There's this great website,, that has Imaginative Contemplation Exercises and this story just happens to be one! It's also an app you can download on your favorite device if that's easier for you. This helps you to enter the story rather than just read it. If you have the chance, I'd invite you to take some time to do this exercise right now.

Next take a look at life as it is in this moment and answer the following questions.

Where are you in this story in life right now?

Decide which path feels right to follow below.

Path #1
Have you stepped out of the boat?
If so, what are the things in your life right now, the impossibilities that are drawing your eyes off of Jesus?
What does Jesus say about those impossibilities?

Path #2
If you are still in the boat, what's keeping you there?
What's your position, are you crouched in fear, or maybe you are ready to jump out and join Peter? How are you feeling?
What does Jesus want to tell you as you are in the boat?

I'd love to hear how this experience was for you. Have you ever done anything like this before or was this your first time? Feel free to comment below sharing as much as you feel comfortable or for more privacy email me at loriyoder @ maplecitychapel . org all one, no spaces.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Real vs True

On Sunday February 25 at 6:30, I am going to be speaking at an event called Real vs True at Community Church of Waterford. They are partnering with my home church of Maple City Chapel to help make this event for women a great success. Do note this address is on CR 21, NOT State Road 15, I've had several people confused!

I'll be talking about times in our lives when life feels as if it's falling apart. I wonder if there may be a different way to look at this rather than how it can feel, which for me was failure. We'll look at this concept of Real vs True and how it applies to our lives. How we need new experiences to be able to live life differently and at how transformation takes place.

I'd love to see all of you ladies there. Invite friends and family, it's for anyone in our community, not just ladies from these churches.

Feel free to share this post and the event on Facebook with your followers. The more the merrier!