Hi, friend! Welcome to Planting Vineyards. I’m Audriana Smith, a married stay-at-home mom of 4 from a small town in West Virginia.
But more importantly, I’m the daughter of an Eternal King. I know, I know–we hear a lot about identity these days. But can I be honest? For the majority of my life I haven’t walked in it. Even after I was taught what I had, I put it under a basket and saved it only for special time with God.
Whether it was fear or lack of understanding or doubt or a myriad of heart issues, I could NOT walk this thing out. I was growing and hearing God more than ever before (even though I was raised in church). But I couldn’t understand how to just be the person God created me to be. The deeper I allowed myself to go into relationship with Him, the more I saw myself differently. But how could I suddenly show up in life acting like this person I’d never been before? How could I show her to my family and friends? How could I still live within my old life while this new person was blooming up and out of the ashes within me?
That’s part of why I created this blog. In the beginning it was for me to write it all out. But it quickly became something more than that. It became a place for me to weed out lies of the enemy and replace them with God’s truth. A place for me to speak into women and help them fully realize who God designed them to be. A place for encouragement and the fruits of the Spirit.
But I never want to fake it. To act like I have it all together or know every answer. To play along with the world and scream perfection when God created us for authenticity. Instead, I want to ask questions (even the hard ones) so God can lead us into all truth.
Are you with me?
I hope the words written on this site can highlight God’s truth in your life and set you free from whatever lies are holding you back!
A Bit of my Story
As I mentioned, I’m married (to a really awesome man) and am blessed with the opportunity to stay at home with my babies! I’m living a life I’ve dreamed of since I was little girl, running my baby dolls up and down my road in their stroller with a diaper bag slung across my body.
Don’t get my wrong–it’s TOUGH! Especially when I get my eyes off God. But there’s so much joy in it.
I couldn’t say that I’ve always lived in joy, though.
As a teen, I struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts. I still have notebook pages of dark poems and songs that I would write back then. But I hid it well. I made good grades, had a handful of good friends, and stayed out of trouble (except that one time I sent a very compromising picture of myself to someone and it was forwarded to the ENTIRE school–JUST SAY NO, GIRLS!). I even found a passion in theatre and stuck with it throughout my high school career. But it didn’t change the internal struggle that I faced with self-worth and purpose.
I got married straight out of high school. He was my best friend, but we were young. Don’t think I’m saying young marriages can’t work. They can! But not for us. Poor decisions were made, toxic relationship patterns were formed, and before I knew it, we were in a cycle that we couldn’t quite break.
After 2 babies and 4 years of trying to make it work, I made the decision to walk away. Like any mom, I didn’t want my kids to have a broken home. But the divorce ended up being one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. For more on my thoughts about divorce, follow the link. (And thankfully, even after all of the difficulties between us, their father and I are able to co-parent civilly.)
As you can imagine, there’s a lot of breaking and healing (and breaking and healing again) that takes place with divorce. But every step somehow made me more aware of God’s closeness to me. The season I was in was hard. I was living with my parents again. Going to school. Working to cover expenses for my kids and myself. Learning to share them even though I never wanted to let them go. Figuring out who I was all over again. And forgiving when all I wanted to do was hold onto my pain.
But by the grace of God (His EMPOWERMENT in my life), I got through it. I met Chris at church and fell in love, and we started building our new life together. Was that exactly “easy”? No. Entering into another marriage and learning that you can’t drag all your baggage along with you is hard. Becoming a functional blended family is hard. It’s messy and imperfect. But it’s worth it.
And if I can just help one person through their mess, I’ll call that a success.
Why “Planting Vineyards”?
She considers a field and buys it;
From her profits she plants a vineyard.
Proverbs 31:16 (NKJV)
Shortly before my first marriage ended, God led me to Proverbs 31. He breathed on the words there, and they came alive to me. One minute I was perfectly fine and the next, I was sobbing uncontrollably while my babies napped peacefully beside me! In that moment, I felt some unspoken promise from God ministering to the deep places within me. (Little did I know how much I was going to need it!)
Ever since, God has continued to bring me back to that passage during different seasons of my life. It’s like He uses it as a road map to show me where I’m going. Certain verses stick out more to me at certain times.
The 16th verse never really struck me as anything important until almost a year after starting this blog. I used a different name for it at the time–a Life so Sweet. It was an okay name, but it felt like something was missing. Like that wasn’t really the name of my blog. Still I had no idea what to change the name to or if I even should. Then while studying intensely in Proverbs 31 (writing the devotional series, Heart of a Woman), this verse clicked in a deeper way for me.
Without going into the meaning of every original Hebrew word, I’ll give you the abridged version. When it says “she considers” the field, it actually means she’s fixing her thought on the field to obtain it.
And the “field” isn’t just some piece of ground. This is her domain. This word can also mean battlefield. Picture her suiting up to wage war against the enemy. Another description says, “a pasture where sheep are fed.”
That’s what this blog is to me. Getting it started wasn’t easy. It was pretty rocky, in fact. But I’ve fixed my thought on it. I’ve decided I’m not moving. This is a platform for me to feed God’s sheep and push back against the enemy. This is my field.
So what does she do after she obtains the field? She plants a vineyard–a place where fruit is grown for pressing into wine. In scripture, wine symbolizes the new covenant and the Holy Spirit (which was poured out, signifying the new covenant).
That’s my hope for Planting Vineyards. I want to plant seeds in the hearts of my readers that lead to fruit and Spiritual understanding in their own lives.
If it sounds like this is the place for you and like I’m your kind of person, stick around! You can follow me on social media with the buttons at the very top of your screen and you can join our growing tribe of email subscribers by giving your name and email address here (I won’t pass it along to anyone and promise not to SPAM your inbox):
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I’m glad to have you!
Live blessed ♥
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