The Grapes of Perfection

Growing up in Michigan, we were blessed to have relatives who owned vineyards. I’m sure that when most people think of vineyards they think of the more popular ones in California or in Italy. But there is a very small town in Michigan called Lawton that has beautiful rolling hills filled with vineyards that are owned by individual family farmers who own the Welch’s Grape Juice Company.

My Aunt Mary and Uncle George (on my dad’s side of the family) owned quite a large section of vineyards. We used to visit them in the fall, and they would give us a bushel basket or two of the incredibly huge purple grapes they’d grown—concord grapes that we would eat right off the vine. As a young girl, this was quite an adventure. We would take those huge, plump grapes home and my mom would preserve them by making grape jelly or grape juice. There was nothing to compare with that jelly!

Because of this experience, I have always loved grapes. In 2001, the Lord began to teach my twin sister and me about the “seer” gift, which has been an amazing adventure in our lives. When the Holy Spirit shows you something through the gift of “seeing,” which is a picture in a vision, it is an amazing world of color, dimension, and beauty. It is not possible to create the vision yourself. It is a gift, and the Holy Spirit determines when, where, and how often you get to experience it.

One of the first visions I ever received from the Holy Spirit was of a very large cluster of beautiful, purple grapes. The Lord used grapes to teach me about the fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22–23. I felt the Lord was trying to talk to me about producing fruit for the Kingdom of God. I also sensed that it was not just about bearing fruit but also having the abundant life that God wants each of us to walk in.

To me, the grape is a lovely fruit, but in order to make delicious wine, the grape has to be squeezed and crushed. That is the process I have been going through. I’ve been a Christian since I was seven, so I am not unfamiliar with the fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5. Over the years, the Lord has refined many of these attributes in me. 

Two and a half years ago my twin sister was diagnosed with congestive heart failure, and I have become her caregiver. Before our mom went to be with the Lord, I was her main caregiver too. Now, I have to admit I am not necessarily someone who feels adequate in this noble-sounding position. Some people are naturally gifted to handle the daily care of someone who is terminally ill or dealing with a long-term sickness, but I am definitely not one of them. I don’t mind taking care of someone on a very short-term basis but doing it for years on end is just not my cup of tea. However, choosing your “cup of tea” is not an option when a family member goes through a serious illness.

The long-term care of someone you love is exhausting at the very least, as well as discouraging. It is interesting to learn through the many challenges that come with being a caregiver, that the areas in which you thought you were strong really need some attention. I’ve found the fruit of patience, kindness, and even love have definitely needed more grounding in my own life. There has been so much squeezing and stretching over the past couple of years; but as I look back, I realize that the Lord knows what He is doing and how much I needed “improvement.”

I long to be that expensive “wine” that will bring great glory to the Lord. And I want to encourage anyone who is in a similar situation to let God do the “squeezing of the grapes” in your life because, in the end, He will work it all out for good. You will end up becoming that beautiful woman of God, filled with more of the fruit than you had before, which will ultimately bring glory to our God. Don’t give up! Go through the pressing so that the “wine” you produce will be aged to perfection.

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