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l

Day 1 in the Holy Land – What I Learned from the Olive Tree

March 21, 2014

No one wants to have their heart crushed. But being wounded in deep places happens. Sometimes it just seems to be a part of the rhythm of life.

And when these hard times come, we feel it all so very deeply. And we wonder if others have these hard, hard moments. After all, we don’t snap pictures of the crushing times and post them on Instagram.

We just wonder if we have what it takes to survive…

…when the doctor calls and says he needs to talk to me in person about the test results.

…when the teacher sends one of “those” emails about my child that evokes tall shadows of fear.

…when something someone shares online feels as if a dagger was driven deep inside me.

…when someone I love closes their heart and turns their back on me.

…when I feel so utterly incapable and unable and afraid.

I suspect you know the tear-filled place from which I speak.

So, let’s journey first to the olive tree and learn.

To get to the place I want to take you we must cross the Kidron Valley. I’ll post more about this place later but here’s a picture:

Experience the Holy Land without having to leave home!

John 18: 1-2, “When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was an olive grove, and he and his disciples went into it. Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples.”

Jesus often met in the shadow and shade of the olive tree.

The olive grove mentioned above is the Garden of Gethsemane. In this garden is where Jesus, just before his arrest said to Peter, James and John, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” (Mark 14:34).

Jesus knew the crushing heart feeling. He felt it. He wrestled with it. He carried it.

And I don’t think it was a coincidence the olive tree was there in this moment of deep sorrow for Jesus.

Experience the Holy Land without having to leave home!

The olive tree is such a picture of why our hearts must go through the crushing times.

First, in order to be fruitful it has to have both the east wind and the west wind. The east wind is the dry hot wind from the desert. This is a harsh wind. So harsh that it can blow over green grass and make it completely wither in one day. (The east wind is also the one that blew over Job’s house.)

The west wind, on the other hand, comes from the Mediterranean. It brings rain and life.

The olive tree needs both of these winds to produce fruit… and so do we. We need both the winds of hardship and winds of relief to sweep across our life if we are to truly be fruitful.

Experience the Holy Land without having to leave home!

Another thing to consider about the olive tree is how naturally bitter the olive is and what it must go through to be useful. In October if you were to pick an olive from the tree and try to eat it, its bitterness would make you sick.

For the olive to be eatable, it has to go through a lengthy process which includes…
washing,
breaking,
soaking,
sometimes salting,
and waiting some more.

It is a lengthy process to be cured of bitterness.

If we are to escape the natural bitterness of the human heart, we have to go through a long process as well… the process of being cured.

Experience the Holy Land without having to leave home!

The final thing I want to consider about the olive is not just how bitter it is, but also how strong and hard it is when picked straight from the tree. If you are harvesting olives for oil, you must pray for a soaking rain to come if you hope to get oil from the olives. It needs a hard rain of at least 2-3 hours so the water can make it all the way up the roots, through the tree, and to the olives.

Then the olives can be picked and preserved.

And the best way to preserve an olive for the long run? Crush it and extract the oil from it.

The same is true for us. The Biblical way to be preserved is to be pressed. And being pressed can certainly feel like being crushed.

But what about the verse in 2 Corinthians 4:8 NIV where it says, “we are pressed but not crushed”? Let’s read verses 8 and 9 in the King James version:

“We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;”

This was one of the biggest “aha” moments for me standing in the shadow of the olive tree: crushing isn’t the olive’s end.

Crushing is the way of preservation for the olive. It’s also the way to get what’s most valuable, the oil, out of the olive. Keeping this perspective is how we can be troubled on every side yet not distressed… pressed to the point of being crushed but not crushed and destroyed.

I think I need to revisit this truth often.

Experience the Holy Land without having to leave home!

But here’s the thing I must remember as I think back about my time with the olive tree:

When the sorrowful winds of the east blow, I forget they are necessary.

When I’m being processed, I forget it’s for the sake of ridding me of bitterness.

And when I’m being crushed I forget it’s for the sake of my preservation.

I forget all these things so easily. I wrestle and cry and honestly want to resist every bit of this. Oh, how I forget.

Maybe God knew we all would.

And so, He created the olive tree.

Oh Holy Spirit, speak to us in whatever way You need to. Whatever part of this is for us personally, may we see, receive, and be revived.

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117 Comments
  1. Elissa P

    Beautiful Lysa. Thank you for sharing this with me today.

    I am going through a ‘bitter’ time in my life right now and now I know God is refining me like the olive fruit. Also, like Job “…he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold”(Job 23:10).

    Peace to you.

    Reply
    • Lysa TerKeurst

      Oh how I understand Elissa! I’m praying this blog is a sweet comfort for you.

      Reply
    • Nico Smith

      I ♥ my wonderful husband. My wonderful man is always trying to have a wonderful time in life, always attempting to be as happy as possible. Unfortunately, that’s not lways the… case. He’s almost always dealing with tims of up and down if someone tests his emotios by seeing how he is going to react if they try to say something bad about hihind his back. My incredible husband’s got a good heart, and he is always sticking up for me when someone has hurt my feelings. Im glad to have a husband, who doesn’t stand for people picking on me whenever they feel like it. “Just like y husband, God wants us to draw near to Him whenwe are in a place where we are feeling hurt because of something someone said or did to us. God wants us to rely on Him in all our needs, call to Him in prayer when we are in need of somehing from Him. “We need both the winds of hardship and winds of relief to sweep across our life if we are to be truly fruitful.”~Lysa TerKeurst What a wonderful quote! I am so glad that God allows us to exprience so many things in our lifetime. In order to acheive success, we are to endure rough times before we see light at the end of the tunnel. I can’t believe that the devil only wants us to have times of hardship that won’t get us anywhere in life whatsoever. “.No one wants to have their heart crushed. But being wounded in deep places happens. Sometimes it just seems to be a part of the rhythm of life.

      And when these hard times come, we feel it all so very deeply. And we wonder if others have the…se hard, hard moments. After all, we don’t snap pictures of the crushing times and post them on Instagram.

      We just wonder if we have what it takes to survive…

      One of the greatest lessons I learned on my trip to Israel is from the olive tree. Believe it or not, the olive tree is such a picture of why our hearts must go through the crushing times.”Lysa TerKeurst Things can seem to not be going right for us whatsoever. God can use the difficult situations to teach us how to use our circumstances in a way that shows us that positive things can come out of whatever bad things may be plaguing us. I <2 knowing that God is always there for me, no matter what I may be going through at any season of my entire lifetime. "No one wants to have their heart crushed. But being wounded in deep places happens. Sometimes it just seems to be a part of the rhythm of life.

      And when these hard times come, we feel it all so very deeply. And we wonder if others have these hard, hard moments. After all, we don’t snap pictures of the crushing times and post them on Instagram.

      We just wonder if we have what it takes to survive…

      …when the doctor calls and says he needs to talk to me in person about the test results.

      …when the teacher sends one of “those” emails about my child that evokes tall shadows of fear.

      …when something someone shares online feels as if a dagger was driven deep inside me.

      …when someone I love closes their heart and turns their back on me.

      …when I feel so utterly incapable and unable and afraid.

      I suspect you know the tear-filled place from which I speak.

      So, let’s journey first to the olive tree and learn.

      To get to the place I want to take you we must cross the Kidron Valley. I’ll post more about this place later but here’s a picture:

      John 18: 1-2, “When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was an olive grove, and he and his disciples went into it. Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples.”

      Jesus often met in the shadow and shade of the olive tree.

      The olive grove mentioned above is the Garden of Gethsemane. In this garden is where Jesus, just before his arrest said to Peter, James and John, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” (Mark 14:34).

      Jesus knew the crushing heart feeling. He felt it. He wrestled with it. He carried it.

      And I don’t think it was a coincidence the olive tree was there in this moment of deep sorrow for Jesus.

      The olive tree is such a picture of why our hearts must go through the crushing times.

      First, in order to be fruitful it has to have both the east wind and the west wind. The east wind is the dry hot wind from the desert. This is a harsh wind. So harsh that it can blow over green grass and make it completely wither in one day. (The east wind is also the one that blew over Job’s house.)

      The west wind, on the other hand, comes from the Mediterranean. It brings rain and life.

      The olive tree needs both of these winds to produce fruit… and so do we. We need both the winds of hardship and winds of relief to sweep across our life if we are to truly be fruitful.

      Another thing to consider about the olive tree is how naturally bitter the olive is and what it must go through to be useful. In October if you were to pick an olive from the tree and try to eat it, its bitterness would make you sick.

      For the olive to be eatable, it has to go through a lengthy process which includes…
      washing,
      breaking,
      soaking,
      sometimes salting,
      and waiting some more.

      It is a lengthy process to be cured of bitterness.

      If we are to escape the natural bitterness of the human heart, we have to go through a long process as well… the process of being cured.

      The final thing I want to consider about the olive is not just how bitter it is, but also how strong and hard it is when picked straight from the tree. If you are harvesting olives for oil, you must pray for a soaking rain to come if you hope to get oil from the olives. It needs a hard rain of at least 2-3 hours so the water can make it all the way up the roots, through the tree, and to the olives.

      Then the olives can be picked and preserved.

      And the best way to preserve an olive for the long run? Crush it and extract the oil from it.

      The same is true for us. The Biblical way to be preserved is to be pressed. And being pressed can certainly feel like being crushed.

      But what about the verse in 2 Corinthians 4:8 NIV where it says, “we are pressed but not crushed”? Let’s read verses 8 and 9 in the King James version:

      “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;”

      This was one of the biggest “aha” moments for me standing in the shadow of the olive tree: crushing isn’t the olive’s end.

      Crushing is the way of preservation for the olive. It’s also the way to get what’s most valuable, the oil, out of the olive. Keeping this perspective is how we can be troubled on every side yet not distressed… pressed to the point of being crushed but not crushed and destroyed.

      I think I need to revisit this truth often.

      But here’s the thing I must remember as I think back about my time with the olive tree:

      When the sorrowful winds of the east blow, I forget they are necessary.

      When I’m being processed, I forget it’s for the sake of ridding me of bitterness.

      And when I’m being crushed I forget it’s for the sake of my preservation.

      I forget all these things so easily. I wrestle and cry and honestly want to resist every bit of this. Oh, how I forget.

      Maybe God knew we all would.

      And so, He created the olive tree.

      Oh Holy Spirit, speak to us in whatever way You need to. Whatever part of this is for us personally, may we see, receive, and be revived."~www.LysaTerKeurst.com Unfortunately, I know that hard times seem to follow us, no matter if we think that life is always going to be easy for us. I know that God puts us through trials to se just how much we believe that He can help us overcome whatever we may be dealing with in the seasons of life.

      Reply
  2. Michele

    Hi Lysa, once again Thank You for being open & obedient to our LORD. So many times You speak right to my heart & we experience the same things at the same. I’ve been to Israel twice back in the eighties as a young Christian(about 10 years) on pilgrimages. It was really the “start” of my unbelievably greatest/hardest time of my life. Thank you for describing so well my walk in our LORD with reference to the olives trees, oh how Blessed we are to know HIS Love that surpasses all understanding. It’s all so clear now. May You Continue to Grow in the Grace & Knowledge of Our LORD & SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST. You’ve been Blessed with a Beautiful Gift to express HIS message to us….. With Love in HIM, Michele

    Reply
    • Lysa TerKeurst

      Thank you Michele… Praying for you right now.

      Reply
  3. Sabra Penley

    What a beautiful message God has given us in the olive tree. Thank you for your insight, Lysa, and for sharing this with us. I certainly needed to hear this today as I am feeling the east wind starting to blow once again. I will keep this near my heart today.

    Reply
    • Lysa TerKeurst

      Oh friend… I understand how hard the east winds can be for sure. And the thing about this wind is all the fear it can evoke when we sense it coming. Sometimes the fear of it is worse than the actual wind. Praying with you.

      Reply
  4. kl

    This is just awesome! When I saw the first picture, I got chill bumps. Thank you soooo much!

    Reply
  5. Jill Beran

    Wow Lysa, thank you for sharing!! And what a wonderful illustration…one I struggle remembering as well!! Asking God to help us each recall these Truths when we need them. Looking forward to my “trip” to the Holy Land with you! Blessings!

    Reply
    • Lysa TerKeurst

      Yes Jill… I’m praying we remember for sure:)

      Reply
  6. Gussie

    This is one of the most touching illustrations I have read in a while and I love this perspective of the olive tree and how it serves as a guide to us. Thank you for sharing this special trip with us. I will share this with others who need this encouragement

    Reply
  7. Phyllis Rice

    Thank you so much for sharing the Holy Land experiences with us. As I mourn the loss of my sister, I find your writings to be quite comforting and uplifting. Are you going to print these in book form? How may I get a hard copy?

    Reply
    • Lysa TerKeurst

      I’m so sorry for your loss Phyllis. I would eventually like to write a book and include these devotions. Pray for me to know exactly how and when? In the meantime I just want to bless my blog friends with all this.

      Reply
  8. CIndy Jansen

    Thank you so much for this, Lysa. As someone who would crave to visit the Holy Land one day, this is a wonderful experience to live it through you. Thank you for sharing your experiences and opening your heart so freely so we can all learn. I am looking forward to reading all your posts on your visit. The pictures you include are amazing. We read so much in the Bible about these special places and I know each of us has own picture of what it looks like. It’s wonderful to be able to actually SEE what it looks like in modern day . That is such a blessing!

    Thank you again ( from an imperfect momma) on everything that you do for women and for our future women. You have helped me to become to better Christian woman, mom, wife and daughter. For that, I am grateful.

    Reply
  9. Veronica Shorey

    WOW! You have helped me to see the olive tree in a new way!

    Reply
  10. jenn

    Lysa,
    This is so beautifully written. What a message God gave you! This week I have been “crushed”, but it was just last night God reminded me to TRUST Him. Oh, how I needed to hear this. Thank you!!

    Reply
  11. Heather

    Never stops amazing me how God has a word for me when I need to hear it.
    Amazing lesson repeated to me in your post this morning.
    Some times God has to say it twice in a row to get through my rock-hard places of mis-understanding.
    Thanks.

    Reply
  12. beth willis miller

    Lysa, I love this post…the Mount of Olives and the Garden of Gethsemane were some of my favorite spots when I visited the Holy Land in 2000 with Beth Moore and 850 other ladies for the filming of her Jesus the One and Only Bible study…here is blog post I wrote about my experience there… http://bethwillismiller.blogspot.com/2009/11/blog-post.html

    Reply
    • Lysa TerKeurst

      I read your post earlier today and loved your thoughts and pictures as well. Thank you for sharing. What a trip that must have been:)

      Reply
  13. Pam

    Lysa, So beautifully written and such encouragement/perspective! Thank you sooooo for sharing your journey not just to Israel but everyday with us! You are a beautiful servant of God that I am so thankful for!

    Reply
  14. Linda Ann Zader

    Dear Lysa and Gals at proverbs 31,
    Thank you so much for your daily wisdom. I start every day with you. Your emails have brought so much insight , love, and joy into our household. Thank you for helping me be a better mom, wife, friend, and grandma. A better Girl for God.
    I have a question that maybe you know a place that I can reach out for our family’s current struggles. My family needs God’s help to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis costs. We have created a FundMe account but can not seem to reach out to other Christians for help. Can you suggest anything??? Can you help us get people to our site?? I am scared and trying hard to lean on God/Jesus. MS is scary on its own without the piling up of medical costs.
    Thanks for your time and look forward to a reply.
    Here is the link.
    gofundme.com/79amns

    Reply
  15. Cindy

    Love this! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  16. Karen

    Thank you, Lysa, for sharing this truth. I have been going thru this process of being pressed and crush now for almost a year. I have been asking the Lord to preserve me an not let me leave Him, to stay in His truth. Times I have thought I have walked away from him because of the crushing and pressing. Now I see, in the example of the olive tree, why I desperately needed to go thru these things. Praise God.!

    Reply
  17. Nola

    What a great blog entry today. Very thought provoking. It makes me wonder how people figured out that all that had to be done to the olive to get the oil. Just think if they just gave up and thought it was useless (ornamental) fruit. How many things do we give up on when there is wonderful oil waiting to be used.

    Reply
  18. Judith

    Lysa, Thanks so much for this special sharing. It is very meaningful to travel the Holy Land with you in this way, especially during the season of Lent. We have treasured friends who travel to Israel to visit family, and now I, too, have a visual because of your precious sharing. This allows me to ‘see’ what they have seen, and much more. … The perspective of the physical reality connected to scripture and daily life. God bless you and your wonderful work.

    Reply
  19. Liz C

    Lysa, thank you so much. I am so thankful for the gift God has given you! He has given you amazing insight and the gift of writing that gets straight to the heart of things! I think I need to print all the blogs that speak to me, write on them with how they speak to me then make a mini book for my reference! Thank you Lysa for all you have done for me!

    Reply
  20. yvonne williams

    Lysa, Thank you, thank you for sharing this wonderful journey with us. I am a visual person and I am enjoying and feeling the excitement of just being where you were and now I want to go and have that experience. Love the message using the Olive Tree.

    Reply
  21. Carrie

    Just praying with my whole heart to have God remove my bitterness. Thanking Him for His perfect timing and patience with me. But I am not patient. I can’t understand why I’m still having moments of such bitterness. So I ask Him. And then I open this email and wa-la! It takes a long time to be cured of bitterness. Ok, I can wait some more as long as keep looking to Him 🙂

    Reply
  22. Vic

    Wow! I just got some gut wrenching news this morning from a loved one, then read this…God spoke to me! Lysa, thank you so much for sharing your faith & love of God with us. I know my loved one & I will be pressed & crushed for a short time, but will be preserved and come through victorious in the end.

    Reply
  23. Janet Dunn

    Lysa, thank you soooo much for your insight into the olive tree. I am so excited of taking this journey with you. I would have loved for you to have been on the trip I took in 1997. There is no way that I have ever been able to express what a wonderful experience this trip was. To be able to stand on Holy Ground, knowing that was the same spot that my Jesus walked and taught. And the roads where he carried His cross. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about that trip. I know that I will never be able to go again but just thank you for sharing your trip and what it has meant to you. Just wish you had been with us on our trip!!!! Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  24. Lisa

    Sweet Lysa…..when you have experienced being crushed…and being a christian it is so hard to understand and not ask God why. Thank you for giving me perspective today that I so needed and please pray that I will someday be able to forgive the other Christians who tried to crush me.

    Reply
  25. Mirna

    Hi Lysa. Thank you for your perspective on the olive tree and bitterness. It’s very true when we face the truth about our hearts, at least when I face it anyway, the root is very bitter. Maybe it’s because of harsh winds I grew up under in combination with Adamic sin, and hereditary predisposition. What a giant size thing we must deal with, get through, come out of to be fruitful with and in Jesus. It is no small feat with life happening around us as we do it. Praise Good for the help of good counsel, His Holy Spirit, His word, His girls ( like you) to help us along the way through all the tears and pain. Now I know to have hope in the process as I am not alone. The wired tells us that he’s collecting all our tears do maybe one day I will have my mansion in heaven being situated on waterfront property made up of my tears 🙂 lol. Thank you doll for your shared wisdom. Can’t wait to see and hear you at my church in Chandler, AZ (Cornerstone). Hugs and blessings dear sister in Christ. You wear Jesus so beautifully! Ty. Mirna

    Reply
  26. Jennifer

    Thank you for sharing this. Just experienced different parts of this process in different areas of my life. For the last two years, God has been working in me to turn my bitterness into sweetness, a miracle to say the very least! And just this week I experienced an unforseen, crushing experience that could do one of two things in me: cause me to turn from my faith in my faithful God or press in closer to Him and discover a greater measure of His faithfulness. Jesus endured the most tormenting crushing known to man FOR man;… will I not choose to lift my eyes during my own crushing moments? Oh Lord, let it be so of me!

    Reply
  27. pattis

    Excellent object lesson!

    Reply
  28. Leslie

    Thanks so much……so much in nature speaks God’s truth. His truth seems to be everywhere around us….but we don’t always notice. We need those reflective times to connect with God and let Him teach us!

    Reply
  29. Janet

    Lysa, thanks for that great explanation of the need in our lives for hard times/things to mature us, give us patience and compassion,the knowledge that even though we don’t know at the time, maybe we won’t know while in these human tents, but God has a plan in which the experience will be used for good.

    Reply
  30. Martine Bykowski

    What a beautiful correlation! It really comes down to faith, doesn’t it? Our Father knows what is best for us. It’s so hard at times.I have always wanted to go to The Holy Land. Hoping to get to go with your next group! 🙂

    Reply
  31. B.

    Lysa, Your words are a balm to my soul. Thank you for sharing this illustration. It is just what I needed to read today. We have been enduring a “crushing” for a very long time. We know that God intends this for our good, but in the meantime it hurts so much.
    Please pray that we will survive and be preserved.
    We need His wisdom for every step that we take.
    We need courage.
    My husband needs healing and a job.
    God willing we will make it…

    Reply
  32. Cheryl Chandler

    Lysa, Love your report on the Holy Land..Thank you sharing your journey with us. I also would love to get a hard copy of this .A friend will be going in Sept. and this is so good for her to be able to see and read about these special places before she goes. There is no place like Israel. You feel so at home there.
    In Christ, Cheryl Chandler

    Reply
  33. CarolAnne

    Love this series, Lysa! Thank you so much from this arm-chair traveler! XO

    Reply
  34. Nikki

    Awesome post! Love the history and the application to the scriptures and what you saw in the Olive tree! Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
  35. Cyndee

    Lysa, thank you for sharing. I will never look at olives the same way again! Though it is difficult to endure, there is purpose in the pain… Looking forward to the next stop on your journey!

    Reply
  36. Chantel Ferraro

    Hi Lysa, thank you so much for this blog. I’m going through and have been going through a rough roller coaster of a life for the past 2 years. Well my whole life actually but I’m now trying so hard to surrender and let God help me. Somedays and a lot lately a big time depression has just fogged over my heart and mind and I feel as if I’m barely making it. Reading this today was exactly what I needed to hear. I’m looking forward to more posts of your journey. I’m leaving for Africa myself April 3rd with my oldest son on our very first missions trip. I look forward to seeing how the Lord speaks to me. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  37. Kathy Schwanke

    Riding on your coat tails. So grateful that you will be sharing this. I keep gazing on the top photo, wanting to memorize it, wanting to see Jesus there. It is so moving.

    Reply
  38. Nichole

    Goodness gracious, Lysa. This might be my favorite post. I will never look at olives or the crushing in the same way again. Thank you.

    Reply
  39. Kenzie Bergloff

    Thank you so much for allowing God to work through you. This week has been a rough one and I have felt that crushing feeling you talk about and as an avid reader of your works it blew me away when this one felt as if it were written just for me. God works in amazing ways and never ceases to amaze me. Keep letting the Son shine through you

    Reply
  40. Angie Spinelli

    Beautiful analogy!!! Love the pictures! Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
  41. Angie Spinelli

    Beautiful analogy! Love the pictures! Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
  42. Dee Dee Scartozzi

    Thank you for this timely post. I don’t really care for this refining process. I miss my husband. Please pray for our marriage. I’m still believing this marriage is God’s will. I’m praying for his heart to be softened and his ears to only hear God’s words not others with motives. Please pray. My husband and I need this. He just is having too much fun right now to miss his family. Our children need us back together. Thank you for all prayers. Thank you for this post. I know I still need some processing and I’m willing to work on that while I cling to God’s promise.

    Reply
  43. Denise G

    Thank you,Lysa, this is just what I need as I am still living through the “east wind”. This give m encouragement and hope !!

    Reply
  44. Gayle

    Lisa, Thank you for sharing your photos and your spiritual interpretation of the olive tree. It is the perfect Lenten addition to my prayer life. Sending a prayer for safe travels and continued spiritual insight.

    Reply
  45. Charlene Kidd

    Lived this post, I am sure your trip was amazing. Blessings.

    Reply
  46. Becky thomas

    This is huge for me. You have no idea. I have 2 boys, a 3 year old and a 6 year old. Both with autism. I was just diagnosed with fibromyalgia. And now we’ve found it necessary to homeschool. Talk about pressing! But my father spent his life with a bitter, vengeful heart. So If that’s what this is all about, preventing bitterness, then bring it on! If it takes hardship to bring a heart full of peace, then I can handle hardship. With His help I can handle anything. Thanks so much!

    Reply
  47. Andrea

    I read this and thought,”I am a cranky olive.” Thank you for this. I will be sharing with my husband as we are working though our bitterness.

    Reply
  48. Trinka

    Just what I needed to read my husband and I are going through a painful time with our only child right now. Our daughter has turned away from God and us and the pain seems unbearable sometimes. We continue to seek Jesus our Lord for peace, strength and wisdom. Thank you!

    Reply
  49. maggie

    Thank you for this post in a time of need. God bless you and your ministry

    Reply
  50. gretchen

    Thank you Lysa. I needed this. Bless you.

    Reply
  51. Shauna

    Thank you, Lysa, for your insight of the olive tree in comparison to a journey I am currently on as well as others. I love your posts and messages of faith, hope and love.
    God Bless

    Reply
  52. Denise

    Thanks Lysa for allowing God to use you for my life. Everything you speak on is exactly what I’m going through & you put it in such a way that I get it. God bless you! Thank you LORD JESUS 4 Lysa!

    Reply
  53. Kelly

    Thank you for the beautiful and thought provoking olive tree article. Please pray that I can keep bitterness at bay; been dealing with the same old stuff for 20 years. I am a Christian , that’s the only way I’ve managed!

    Reply
  54. Debi

    Although I’m not currently in the “olive press”, several of my sisters in the Lord are, and I’m so thankful to be able to share your excellent exhortation with them. It’s encouraging and offers hope. Thank you for drawing this message out of your experience in Israel, and for sharing it.

    Reply
  55. Veronica

    Thank you for sharing 🙂

    Reply
  56. Jane

    Thanks Lysa. I value this. I’m ashamed of how I hate trials and always long for relief and comfort. I am a very stubborn learner and have been in a hard place for a long time. I pray to have my eyes open to the lessons I need to learn.

    Reply
  57. Donna Russo

    Thank you Lysa. This was a divine revelation for me. God bless

    Reply
  58. Paula

    Thanks Lysa. I needed this. I’m having a difficult time in my marriage. Feeling hurt and alone and in return hurting my husband because I’m lacking patience. Lacking the wisdom needed to hold my tongue. This week I’ve heard 2 good messages. I’ll be applying both to my life to bring the good fruits and overcome as a conqueror through Him!

    Reply
    • Martha Nelson

      In response to the lady having issues with her husband, I have
      been married for almost 33 years and it has only been in the
      last few years that I really took to heart the fact that the Holy
      Spirit has been trying to get through to me – fixing my husband is
      NOT MY JOB. Once I humbled myself and asked The Lord, “What
      needs fixing in me”, did the Holy Spirit begin his healing work.
      My husband is responding in such positive ways – ways that
      would never have happened if I had not begun giving him respect
      no matter what happens and focusing on my faults instead of
      his. My Mama always said, “It does not matter what anyone says
      or does to you – you are responsible for how you act ”
      We must make the first move of moving toward our husbands (or
      anyone for that matter) by doing what is right whether they are
      or not. God’s pleasure in that and thankfulness at all times is
      ‘off the charts’!

      Reply
  59. Sunaina

    Oh Lysa! I have no words to express my admiration & depth of joy & wonder I have after reading this beautiful article. It has truly blessed my Sunday, my circumstance & my perspective deep down to the bone marrow. Love you for this!!! God has blessed you with an effortless ease & simplicity that flows from your pen & an amazing power that decodes the mysteries of his word & kingdom through your devotions & write-ups. You have been nothing short of an inspiration to me not only spiritually but through your testimony and outlook towards life , its challenges and your tendency to look to HIM & tap into HIS mighty power to be blessed & become a blessing to many like me.
    I reckon this a your BEST write-up EVER!!! I would l;ove to be mentored by sumone like you. Loads of love & respect, Sunaina.

    Reply
  60. Margie

    Hi, My friend who is overweight has started your study on made to crave, satisfying your deepest desire with God not food. We are best friends but I suffer from anorexia and I am finding what you teach to be very useful. Of course I need to turn some things on it’s head i.e. I don’t go to the fridge and eat all the cinnamon rolls, I go to the fridge and cant eat anything!Going to a buffet or pot luck my problem is that instead of feeling overwhelmed and wanting to eat everything, I feel overwhelmed and walk away and eat nothing. So together my overweight friend and I are using the same material to be ’empowered’. Just wondering if you would be interested in me emailing you how I use your materials for my problems. How I change the words around to my perspective. Maybe this might be useful in later editions you could have anorexics and overweight people together. We are all suffering, just on a slightly different road. I wont post my personal journey on your blogg. If you would like to hear more about how I am using your materials just let me know. If not no worries. God bless Margie

    Reply
  61. Erin O'Grady

    I couldn’t figure out how to send a note other than this, so I apologize. I’m reading Made to Crave daily and I just finished day 17. You don’t have any verses on it, but I was wanting to share what verses it brought to mind for me:
    1 Cor 6:12-15a
    1 Cor 10:23-31
    Gal 5:1, 13

    I’m really LOVING this devotional. It’s amazing how right on target it is for someone like me (us, obviously) who struggles with food and weight issues. Thank you!

    Reply
  62. Pat

    I understand the pressing process. But in your article, you state the olive tree also needs the winds of relief. Where are those in my life. God has taken me from pressing to pressing, with no winds of relief in between. Some of the pressing is constant: my lifeless marriage, my husband’s porn addiction, my chronic back pain. Some of the pressing is situational: my husbands unemployment, attack from a neighbor that cost money and strife, job stress, financial worries. I have been a faithful through this, choosing to stay in my marriage, tithe and give cheerfully, do what is required. But right now, I’m just about on empty and I have seen no winds of relief.

    Reply
    • Margie

      Pat, I’ll pray for relief from the adversity in your life. May God shower you with His blessings! Find someone else to pray for also. It will ease your burden.

      Reply
      • Pat

        Thank you Margie. I am part of a small group working through a bible study and there are several women I am praying for there who’s struggles are much greater than mine. Hopefully, spring will re-energize me to get back on track.

        Reply
    • Sharie

      Dear Pat,
      Your email touched me deeply. I am asking God to releash you from the burden of fixing your spouse and cover you in refreshing winds, rains of joy, and spring sunshine. And give you the rest and energy to see God mysterious way of covering you in tiny deep, life sustaining surprises that give you refreshed joy. Let’s Give our heavy life up to God and keep asking -100 times a day if need be -to be filled with hope until we are filled to Overflowing with hope and joy. You are not alone Pat.

      Reply
      • Pat

        Thank you Sharie. You’re reply is water to my soul. Funny that you used the line “fixing my spouse”. I have had that phrase come into my life several times in the past week. Also, I was at a concert with my daughter on Saturday and the song “Free to Run” was performed. I think God is telling me to be free of some of my reponsibilities. But I want to choose carefully what I lay down to stay in his will. I pray double blessings on you and your family.

        Reply
        • Sandra

          So grateful to see how God’s comfort flows through His people! Excited for you, Pat!!

          Reply
    • Stephanie

      Pat, your post brought me to tears. I feel for you as I too am struggling so badly right now in my life emotionally. I do not know what to do with myself, my thoughts. I hope for you to be led down the right path and find your way. You seem like a wonderful person, I will pray for you.

      Reply
  63. Sibonakaliso Ndlovu

    Thank you Lisa. I’m going to forward this to my sister, she is having a difficult time

    Reply
  64. Danielle

    Hello lysa !!!
    I just wanna say thank you so much for helping me to relate everyday things to the scriptures!! I’ve always believed in god but am a rookie when it comes to reading the bible . This message was so touching and comforting to be reassured that god is there for you and that the tough times are to help you not hinder you … Thanks again n have a great day !!!

    Reply
  65. David

    There are several things that God wants each of us to learn in life… humility, because pride is so inappropriate in the Presence of God Almighty, who will alone be praised… Love, because selfishness flows from the spring of pride to the ocean of sin. But, love flows from a grateful, humble heart to the needs of others. To live daily in His presence and to walk in His ways, not in self righteousness, but in acknowledgement of His holiness, His grace, His love, His purity, and His presence for His pleasure and Glory… May every human be humbled and Good alone be praised!

    Reply
  66. David

    *God alone be praised. (Auto correct)

    Reply
  67. Amanda Evans

    Dear Lysa,

    I just wanted to thank you for all that you do and especially for your Facebook posts. They are so real and relatable. I recently had baby #3 (unexpected pregnancy for my husband & I) and went from a full-time working mother to a full-time stay-at-home mom. WHAT A TRANSITION. Home all day with 3 little boys ages 5 and under. Oh my. But God has used this season to grow my faith and big (awesome) changes are taking place. I look forward to reading your posts (both FB & on your website) and admire you for being so honest and encouraging. God has certainly blessed you with wisdom (among many other things!) and I aspire to be as godly a woman as you. I’m hoping to attend the Women of Faith conference in Philadelphia this year to hear you speak and I got Unglued for my Kindle. I would love to meet you in person one day… I’ll have to pick up a hard copy of one of your books for you to sign… that would make my year! LOL. Thanks again! Sincerely, Amanda Evans

    Reply
  68. Sue

    Thank you Lysa for your illustration of the olive tree. You always explain things in a way that I can understand and relate to in my own life. I thank God for the way He is using you to touch so many lives every day.

    Reply
  69. Karlee hawkins

    Beautiful word! I just love your writing… this one in particular provoked understanding. I love the way the Lord constantly uses you in other’s lives to see the truth. I know you have touched my life and my heart. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 is one of many of my favorite scriptures… it is one of many that reminds me to persevere! Thank you again, Lisa!

    Reply
  70. Jennifer Smith

    I received Day 1 in the Holy Land but have not received another. How often will they be posted?

    Reply
  71. Michelle F.

    So BEAUTIFULLY worded. This was for me, Lysa. And I THANK YOU and the Holy Spirit that is working within you. Be Bleesed Always,
    Michelle

    Reply
  72. Deedee

    Lysa I’m so blessed when I take the time to read your postings.
    I pray to God that he allows you to continue with your writings. May he keep you full of grace, seasoned with salt, healthy and joyful. I ask in Christ Jesus name. Amen sister.

    Thank you . Keep it up… I appreciate your writings.

    Reply
  73. Tumelo

    Thank you Lysa for the illustration, sometimes when we are experiencing the crushing times, we fail to see beyond them, that something good and positive can come out of that. Thank you once again for reminding me, that in every situation God remains supreme and i can come out polished and shining. that indeed oil can come out of a crushing moment!

    Reply
  74. Kimberly Green

    Thank you for the insight. It has been a year of crushing. It helps to know that it is to rid me of bitterness. All things for the good of those who love God. My harsh east wind has forced me to learn how to rely on the fathers refreshing west wind. Thank you again for these words of wisdom.

    Reply
  75. Jennifer Dougan

    Lysa,

    My parents just got back from the Holy Land too, right around the same time as you. I appreciated their photos, and yours here too, of the Kidron Valley, especially with the truths buried in the olive tree analogy. Thanks.

    Jennifer Dougan
    http://www.jenniferdougan.com

    Reply
  76. Frog

    Love reading all your post. Thanks for posting your daily blogs. Enjoy reading and God is using you to do good work:)

    Reply
  77. monica

    Thank you this helped. Going to The Holy Land is on my bucket list.

    Reply
  78. Holly

    A friend sent me this blog last week. It sat in my inbox, but didn’t get read until this morning. And it was perfectly timed. I have been in tears, undone, broken for months now. Yesterday, the pain intensified and it has felt as if each day brings more heartache. More sorrow. Reading this brought me some comfort. In my grief and in my tears, I’ve begged Jesus to take this all away, but my heart knows He is using this (ALL of this) to make me more beautiful. It hurts, but He is good.

    Reply
  79. Beth

    Dear Lysa,
    I am writing to you because years ago, you were generous enough to share on “Encouragement for Today” your testimony of deciding to have an abortion. At the time, I wrote an email to you, thanking you because your story made me realize that God truly does forgive completely. If God uses someone who’s had an abortion as a beautiful instrument of His will, and blesses her with a loving family and faithful ministry, than He will also forgive me completely, and I could forget my sins and move into his love. That was a tremendous blessing to me.

    However, now I’ve grown in my walk with the Lord, and I’ve realized that the logic in my email contained a flaw: I assumed that your sin was greater than my own. In this, I was imitating the older brother in the parable of the Prodigal Son…judgments like that take away my own joy at being with the Father. It made me realize that categorizing sins is inherently replacing God’s judgment with my own, and is itself a sin which should be avoided.

    So, in an effort to tidy my heart before Easter, I wanted to apologize to you. I hope I didn’t “bump your happy” for too long that day! Judging steals my joy, but I hope it didn’t steal yours as well.
    May the Lord Jesus Christ bless you greatly in your current ministry,
    Beth

    Reply
  80. Chris

    Thank you so much, your blog about the olive tree is what I needed today. My world is crashing around me and I’ve felt like I’m being crushed and that things are hopeless. My marriage is in grave danger, my 13 year old son is out of control, a male friend of ours from church, whom our children are very close to has been asked to step down from children’s ministry because they saw possible signs of grooming children and our daughters were involved. Also, my husband is quitting his job and I will need to go to work after being a stay at home mom for 16 years. I have felt very overwhelmed to the point I don’t feel I can take anymore. Thank you for helping me focus again on God’s plan for the hard times. Please pray that no matter what happens, that I will stay focused on Christ and know that God holds me securely in His hand and will never let go, and He is growing and preserving me through all this. Thank you and God Bless!

    Reply
  81. Veronica Romero

    Beautiful way to experience The Holy Land and learn how we can relate it to our lives now 🙂 Thank you Lysa for sharing and carrying out God’s purpose in you

    Reply
  82. Bernice

    I never thought about the olive tree in this way and I’m so glad you shared this with us, it’s a truly awesome way of looking at what we sometimes go through and how God uses every tiny detail of his word in order to teach us and transform us. I’ve really enjoyed the journey so far. Thank you so very much for opening my eyes to all of this.

    Reply
  83. Deola

    May 2013, I stood in front of those same olive trees in the garden of Gethsemane and God knows I wasn’t thinking of the olives. Thank you Lysa for letting God use you to remind of such a beautiful time in Jerusalem. This article helped me see it all again. Best part is that now it’s through your eyes, and I’m learning again. God bless you.

    Reply
  84. Linda

    Years ago I met a woman that showed me how to brine olives with lye to process them. Wonderful tasting they were. I will never look on the olive tree the same after knowing how they are processed and this spiritual application so beautifully written.

    Reply
  85. Chris Carter

    Oh how I love this Lysa… (Spelled it right, and it’s close to 3:00am, so I am ON IT)

    Thank you. Your insight is so powerful…it resonates so deeply in my wounded heart. And this Truth is real. I revisit my past record of crushing times and I have come out of each one stronger in Him and somehow more ‘processed’…”grown”…”purposeful”.

    I am always so amazed at your precious authenticity. This is why so many trust you, and your words… and your message of His Grace, His Hope…His Love.

    Reply
  86. Michelle

    Lysa, you are such a blessing. I love reading your posts, blogs and books. God has truly blessed you with an extraordinary gift to touch so many lives. I thank my almighty God for directing me to Proverbs 31 Ministries. It helped me when I experienced my crushed spirit and broken heart and still continues to. May God continue to Bless you, your family and the ministry beyond measures.

    Reply
  87. cheri

    Beautiful…just Beautiful!
    Thank you for sharing your journey!

    Reply
  88. Sandra

    Such a timely word. Thank you, Lysa. What a reach and teach word you shared with us!

    Reply
  89. Kelly

    Thank you for sharing this. I really have no words that havent already been said. He KNOWS and your sharing is at the right time in the right place.

    Reply
  90. Linda Annear

    Once again Lysa, God has used you to speak to my heart. I am in a deep valley right now (I think I’m trying to dig to China) . Your messages lately have so inspired me. Given me peace in the middle of some very painful and confusing times. God Bless you and your ministry

    Reply
  91. Sarah

    I love how God uses so many different ways to speak to us, and through out time those ways can change. When my husband and I were first married we had a pretty tough “adjustment” period. God sent a stranger down our path that was the pastor I needed words of encouragement from, and he was also a retired Marine (the voice of reason my husband need to hear). God is good. And he knows exactly what we need better then we ourselves know.

    Reply
  92. Sherry

    Thank you Lisa for the insight, I brlieve God sent thos message to me as the trials I am going through have made me bitter in some ways. I do not want to live this way. I want to live ad God planned for me to live. I saw those Olive Tree’s. Amazing that they are 2000 and 3000 years old and still produce Olives.

    Reply
  93. Lisa

    Beautiful. Something so simple yet so touching. God is so good. I can relate to being hard pressed yet not crushed. Perplexed but not in despair. Persecuted but not forsaken, struck down, but not destroyed. God is in control and I love him. Thank you for allowing us to walk this journey with you, Lysa.

    Lisa

    Reply
  94. sherry

    Thank you for breaking it down to my understanding 🙂

    Reply
  95. Kathy Schwanke

    Love, love, love that you are sharing your experience with us!

    He was crushed for our sins and the punishment for our peace was upon him. This place of His grace-in the olive grove, providing oil for lighting our lamps…. So grateful. Perfect timing.

    Reply
  96. Jovita Torres

    The anointing oil …from the olive tree has brought alive to me at this moment of pressing. god used you to revive me today. shallom. Baruch haba b!shem Adonai.

    Reply
  97. Debbie

    I recently bought your book What Happens When Women Say Yes To God, and I am reading your blog postings as well as the daily devotions authored by you. Physical spiritual mentors are hard to find, but I believe I have found an excellent online mentor. You speak on a level that is very easy to understand and relate to – not so far above me like some of the theologians I read. I am seeking a deeper prayer life and relationship with Jesus. I think I can get there with your help. I am thankful for your ministry. May God give you many more years so you can continue to reach and effect others as you are doing for me.

    Reply
  98. nicki

    What a beautiful story. I so needed that. I just recieved a new liver Dec. 2013. This is alot of what my journey is. I am so blessed to be alive.

    Reply
  99. La Shonda Cyprian

    Love it !

    Reply
  100. Michel

    Thank you Lysa this is such a blessing to read the meaning of the olive tree..My faith in Jesus helps me to go through the process of crushing to experience His love and power.He washes away all my bitterness and heals me nowThis is the process from the cross to the resurrectionBy faith we all can invite to live in our heart

    Reply
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