The day is ripe with promise.
On Friday, we find ourselves free most of the day, and the kids request to go strawberry picking. I acquiesce.
It is there in the fields with the low green plants, dotted with sweet red fruit, under a friendly sun, a vast blue sky, and a perfect breeze, that I feel summer has begun.
Strawberry picking is a yearly tradition for us now. With four of us picking, it doesn’t take long to fill two trays weighing eleven pounds. I never purchase this much in the store, but then again, the store-bought ones can’t compare to the taste of these little beauties.
When we are home, we get to work. We “grade” our berries, saving the softer, more ripe, ones for jam and cooking.
My daughter finds a recipe for sauce. When it is done, we pour the sweet sauce, still hot from the pan, onto mounds of vanilla ice cream in our bowls. Oh my, it’s the best thing I’ve had in a long time.
I cook the berries in lots of sugar, for jam. The dark red jam tastes fresh, and sweet– but not too sweet, and oh– so much better than store-bought! I put one small jar in the fridge, and the rest in the freezer.
Now, I feel as if I am not just feeling summer, but also tasting it.
When it is summer, I can’t help but think of the Garden of Eden. It must have been a lush paradise. I imagine Adam and Eve picking and tasting different fruit. I imagine God teaching them about the fruit, the seeds, and about the entire process of planting and harvesting. I imagine their faces as they taste sweet berries, pomegranates, mangoes, pineapples, and peaches, for the first time, and pick out their favorites. I can’t imagine what ingredients might have made up an Edenic fruit salad!
After eating the forbidden fruit, however, Adam and Eve were banished from the garden, and blocked from re-entering. I wonder if it was perhaps the most enticing looking fruit in the garden, or was it simply ordinary? I wonder if at first it tasted sweet, but then turned bitter? Surely, the consequences were – and are – bitter.
It feels as if we are living under the shadow of that tree; our world is surely beautiful, yes, but I wonder if Eden wasn’t even more so. I wonder if the water was clearer, the grass greener, the foods even tastier, because sin brought death and illness for us, and a curse for the ground. Maybe Eden was like a shadow of Heaven, and we are a shadow of Eden… just as the Old Testament is a shadow of the New Testament, and each shadow cannot be as bright as its source.
One thing, though, is certain: the enemy is still trying to beckon and beguile God’s beloved. The enemy tempts with the same lies, dangling other “fruits” in front of our eyes.
The father of lies is still using the same tactics, posing the same questions: “Did God really say….? Can it really be as God says? Can’t you be as smart and knowledgeable as God?”
Doubts enter the mind and we begin to question. Yet, since his strategy has not changed, we can plan for a defense. Scripture offers insight on how we can defend ourselves (Ephesians 6:10-20, for example).
Each year, weeds threaten our vegetable garden. We have to fight them. We have to pull them, or our efforts in growing vegetables will be only that: an effort, with no results.
Lies are like weeds. They threaten the fruit that God wants to grow in us. They must be pulled.
Over the past couple of years, I have been identifying lies in my life– lies that have crippled my faith, my confidence, and my self-image.
Have you identified any lies in your life?
Lies are like weeds, standing in the way of fruitful growth. If we do not identify the lies, rebuke the enemy, and declare truth, we stand in the way of growth– ours, and others’.
It is worthwhile to stop and consider, and work through, what lies we may believe, lies that hinder our faith, and block the truth… so that our days may indeed be ripe, with promise and hope, and stand as a clear reflection of the Source that nourishes us.
Also, counting to 1000 gifts, with Ann at A Holy Experience:
822. Receiving a handful of roses from a neighbor’s garden; a surprise, and an unexpected result of a chat with a neighbor. Aren’t they beautiful?
823. Feeling– really feeling, and identifying one day this week, with a sheep that needs a master keep from going astray. Without a shepherd, I’d be clueless and lost, just like a sheep.
824. Finding a very large “super” supermarket not too far away that carries many health foods, gluten-free foods, allergy-free foods. It’s been around this area for a few years, but I finally went and found the price to be better than at my usual grocery store.
825. A nice meeting.
826. Natalie, Josh and hubby successfully completed a 25K (15 mile) bike ride on Saturday. Eli and I were the official cheerleaders. A first for them– the furthest distance they’ve cycled, and a wonderful goal, which they’ve been working on for a couple of months.
827. Strawberry (and sugar snap peas) picking with the kids on Friday at a local fruit farm. It was so much fun, and delicious. Also, I’m thankful we have some strawberries in the freezer to enjoy in the months ahead.
828. Afternoon in the park
829. Reading The Artists Way (a book by Julia Cameron).
830. Receiving two unexpected surprises recently. Juxtaposing with the sermon I heard today on Ruth, chapter 2, I realize– these things are not just “by chance”. Did Ruth, simply by chance, just “happen” to be picking up leftover grain in Boaz’s fields? These “surprises” also fit in with the book I’m reading (#829). Coincidence? No, it’s God. I may not know what next year holds, but I can see Him working. Thankful for these “surprises”. Maybe I’ll write more about these later.