The Gate Left Open

I'm so excited to introduce you to my favorite "Guest Branch," my darling husband John. John is a good writer and more important, he is a kind, loving, godly person. The first time he wrote for A Branch in the Vine, it was in response to an anniversary blog post that I had written. And I have been wanting him to write again (OK, nagging a bit too) for this blog. 

So here he is in all his writing and "walking with God" glory. Thank you, John, for helping all of us, including your wife, to understand more deeply that God's grace truly is amazing and ... 

Oops, it's your story, John! Thanks for sharing it with us, my love!


We find some of the funniest greeting cards at Cracker Barrel. Some are just silly, but some have a little deeper significance. On our way home from New Jersey recently we once again stopped at CB and found this card.


Then, as we were continuing our trip, we were listening to the latest album by MercyMe, Lifer. When I heard the song "Hello Beautiful", a few of the lyrics reminded me of the greeting card.

Can you hear it?
That's the sound of me walking out
Of this prison cell
That I've come to know so well
I used to play the victim
Singing take these chains from me
They've long been broken I was free and would not leave
Somehow I got too comfortable locked up here in this prison
That I missed the doors wide open more like ripped off of its hinges

Goodbye regret
Goodbye alone (Goodbye)
Goodbye to emptiness
Say hello to beautiful (Beautiful)
Goodbye afraid
Goodbye ashamed
Goodbye to hopelessness
Say hello to beautiful

 Hello, hello, hello beautiful
Hello, hello, hello beautiful
Hello, hello, hello beautiful

We too can walk out of our self-imposed prisons of regret, loneliness, emptiness, fear, shame, and hopelessness, if we only finally grasp that in Christ we are free to live a life beautiful. God the Father has already broken the chains and ripped the doors off their hinges, and we are free to step away from our confinement.

In a similar way the dog has suddenly discovered that the gate has been left open, and he is free of his confinement, free to bound away joyously.

Hello, beautiful.
Live life like “someone” left the gate open.

Christ Himself is the gate, and grace in Christ is the gate left open.

John 10:9-10 (NLT): Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

Colossians 1:13-14 (MSG): God rescued us from dead-end alleys and dark dungeons. He’s set us up in the kingdom of the Son he loves so much, the Son who got us out of the pit we were in, got rid of the sins we were doomed to keep repeating.