crushing grapes

There is something powerfully heart-crushing about realizing you don’t mean as much to someone as they mean to you. If you’ve been reading around here for a while, I’m a pretty intense feeler, particularly since the beginning of this year, when I finished writing the talk I gave for the Women2Women conference, and made a significant breakthrough: that we are completely known and loved by the God of the universe (anyway), and to feel and understand that kind of love on earth we have to let yourself be known by others.

This caused me to be very intentional with my communications with others, my best friends and co-workers, the friends with which I feel a kinship and the family members whom I love. It’s had varying results, to be sure. It’s been painful, without question… which is where I come to the “heart-crushing” part.

You know that awkward moment when you’ve carefully and thoughtfully picked out a Christmas gift for someone and you didn’t get anything from them? That’s what this is like… when you realize that the connection you had to the other person just isn’t there on their side. While this may not be intended to feel like rejection on their part, it makes us feel rejected. It’s a lot like being in a relationship and saying “I love you” without getting it back from them.

“I gave her my heart and she gave me a pen.”

These are the moments when ask ourselves, was it worth the risk I just took? The risk to let a person see me, let a person inside my heart, and let them walk around the swampland of my soul?

I once read a devotional by Oswald Chambers, in this book, about grapes. Grapes turn their sweetest when they are crushed and squeezed to make wine. “God can never make me wine if I object to the fingers He uses to crush me,” he says. “…when He uses someone who is not a Christian, or someone I particularly dislike, or some set of circumstances which I said I would never submit to, and begins to make these the crushers, I object.” It is in moments like these, when I’m wondering if the risk was worth it, that I must remind myself that it’s not about the risk. It’s about what the risk taught me. How the risk made me sweeter wine. How being in full allegiance to God is about the sanctification process… the process that will change us. It will hurt (pruning always does) but will make better fruit.

“Let God do as he likes,” Chambers says. “If you are ever going to be wine to drink, you must be crushed. Let God go on with His crushing, because it will work his purpose in the end.”

I don’t like being crushed. I particularly don’t like being crushed by people, especially people I’ve let know me. I also know that putting the weight of my hopes and longings on the people I love will crush them with my expectations. (I think Tim Keller said a version of this somewhere.)

I think what I find so difficult about this is when I want that person to be part of my hopes and longings. I want them in there with me. And when they choose not to come – when I find out they mean more to me that I do to them – that’s when I find myself getting crushed, desperately not wanting to be poured out into sweet wine. Because that means they probably aren’t with me anymore. And that is heart-breaking.

4 Comments on “crushing grapes

  1. Stephanie, Thank you for your transparency in your posts. I always find a little bit of myself in them, and I suspect many others do, too. If they are honest with themselves.
    This thought, in particular, struck me: “it’s not about the risk. It’s about what the risk taught me. How the risk made me sweeter wine.”
    What a beautiful thought-provoking post!


  2. Thanks, Karen. That is not the conclusion i wanted to come to when I starting writing this post. But alas, God had other plans…


  3. I am catching up on my blog reading and love what you are writing these days Stephanie.

    I wish that I could not relate to the idea of not meaning as much to someone who I thought was a very close friend. Has happened a few times and it hurts to remember how I felt.

    While I do not believe that God does the crushing I do believe that He causes that crushing to work together for our good. I love how he uses the crushing pain, suffering and trials to make us more like Jesus.


  4. Agreed, Bob. God uses all pain for his good. It may not be fun, but it is certainly a result of living in a fallen world. I guess, in the midst of it all, I just want to push back the Fall.


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