Have you ever picked raspberries? We don’t live close to any wild raspberry bushes, but when we visited friends in the UK years back, they had raspberries growing in their backyard. The home they were renting had been built on land that was previously been part of a co-op garden, and although they didn’t tend the plants, raspberries still grew by the hundreds every summer.
We woke up on those first jet-lagged days of our time in England and found the kids in the backyard on a mini-trampoline. They begged us to help ourselves to the raspberries weighing the bushes down; there were too many to pick and the fruit often went bad before all could be picked or even eaten. We happily obliged.
Picking raspberries is a delicate process. The berries are often tucked in the bushes, and it easy to be pricked by the plant, a member of the rose family and full of tiny thorns. But picking the berries is ultimately a delicate process because the raspberries themselves are fragile. Pull too hard on a berry and the tiny cluster of drupelets–those little pods of juice–crush under the weight of your fingers and stain them a cherry red. Pull too gently and the berry refuses to part from its core.
The raspberries we picked in England tasted like sunshine and petals, like honeycombs and perfume. They were misshapen and lumpy, but their flavor was sweet and heady and full. And they came in a seemingly endless supply; every morning there were new berries big enough to be picked. We never bothered to wash them; they went into our mouths or a bowl on the table. I remember the richness I felt that summer, waking to a backyard full of raspberries I had never labored to plant. They were a profuse bounty to us, free and abundant. They were a gift.
This summer has felt like that–like a summer of picking raspberries we never planted. It has been a summer full of change for our family; we left a stable life in Chicagoland last month, and in a handful of days, we are moving to our new city and staring a whole new season of life. We have traveled this summer, we have lived with family, we have talked and dreamed and waited and prayed. And miraculously–I use that word intentionally and gratefully–God has provided for us in every way imaginable.
Because so many things this summer have felt fragile–and not just financially. The change of leaving our community and home, the tenderness of starting over again, the risk of saying yes to something totally new and unknown–these are fragile, breakable things. And I have felt my own flesh–those thorns of fear and anxiety and frustration–popping up in the midst of the fruit God is seeking to grow in me.
But God is a master gardener. And he has gently blossomed the fruitfulness of his kindness and provision in our lives this summer, bringing the best out of what is difficult without crushing me in the process.God will blossom fruitfulness in our lives, bringing the best out of what is difficult without… Click To Tweet
And although he didn’t have to do any of these things for us, as he has been asking me to trust him more, God has also taken care of us in abundant, beautiful ways. Our house sold without issue or hiccup. Our church sent us out graciously and generously. An unexpected bill was waived. A writing project came in. My husband was offered a wonderful job. Our apartment in our new city is wonderful and affordable–and close to family. We got to go on a wonderful vacation that we hardly had to pay for. Gifts and gifts and gifts, one piled atop another, generous abundance from a Father who sees us and knows our needs–and our hearts. I have been blown away and humbled by His provision in our lives this summer. At the start of it, we didn’t know where the money we needed would come from. Now, I’m looking back at the past three months, amazed by God’s generosity toward us. I shouldn’t be surprised, I know. This summer has been not a whisper but a shout from the Lord–it has been a reminder that He is in control, and that He is good.God is good and He does good. Click To Tweet
God is good and He does good. And had all of these things not come to pass this summer, God would ever remain good. Still, I am grateful–so deeply grateful–for this summer of provision. He is changing me, softening my edges and bearing fruit in me that I can’t bear on my own. He has carried us and cared for us in every imaginable way.
I woke up to a garden full of raspberries this summer, unexpected gifts given by his hand. I am so thankful.