Posts Tagged ‘black raspberries’


“What does this bowl say?  The Pioneer Woman?  Mom, are you The Pioneer Woman?”

“Well.  As much as I would like to take credit for that woman’s success in homemaking, no, I am not her.  But, I am a pioneer, I think, and I am a woman, so, yes, I guess that does make me a pioneer woman even though I am not The Pioneer Woman.”

The inquisitive, almost too mature to be called my little girl, girl with freckles and braids follows me into the backyard.

“You look like a serial killer with that sword.”

I cut a path and I pick a pie-filling bunch of black raspberries from the picturesque providence surrounding my fully covered tick and thistle fearing body.

“See.  I am a pioneer woman.  I cut a path.  I blazed a trail.  I made a way where there was no way.  Now, the next person who wants a berry can get one without a hazmat suit.”

I carry my sword – which, by the way, is a large machete-looking knife – and I find it becoming cumbersome as my picking is prolonged.  I put it down for a moment only to pick it right back up.  There is not too far I can go into this jungle I call my backyard without it.  If I want more fruit, my sword must remain my best friend.  I tuck it underneath my arm and I continue further back into the weeds.

“Of course,” I think to myself, “There is never a fruitful harvest without a brave, willing pioneer willing to risk being bruised by the thorns, brushed by the poison, and bitten by the bloodsuckers to make a way for others to find the fruit.  There can be no fruit -finding without a constant carrying of the all-important sword.”

Oh!  How all of life is Christ!  Fruitful Christian life is never found without a pioneering spirit.  We must be willing to go where we have not gone before.  We must be unafraid to do things we have never done.   We might even have to know people we have not known and be people we have not been.  Fruitful Christian life is never found when our sword is lying on the ground.  No matter how cumbersome and difficult that sword may prove to be, we must never fail to not only carry it, but use it, everywhere, always.  Our sword is our greatest weapon in this fallen world full of thorns and thistles.  The Word of God is our sword.

We must always be willing to risk being bruised by the thorns, brushed by the poison, and bitten by the bloodsuckers if it means making a way for others to find the fruit.  Pioneering hurts.  It is hard.  If it were not so, everyone would do it.  Pioneers are the few who are willing to take the risks, endure the pain, and go the distance so that those coming after them can do the same more readily and with the confidence of a good example.

Pick up your swords, brothers and sisters!  Fail not to carry them, everywhere, always, and in every situation!  Your Bible must, must, MUST be your very best friend if you would ever wish to find your walk fruitful.  Without it, not only will you not find your own fruit, it is likely you will not even be able to walk forward any farther.

As I exit the overgrown briars and brush, my mostly mature miniature me rambles on about her frustration in the pie crust preparation she’d  been busying herself with while I had been buried in briars picking berries.

I looked down at my bucket of berries and with my sword in my right hand and my bucket of berries in my left I thought, “Fearlessness and fruitfulness inspires fearlessness and fruitfulness.”

“Hey.  You tried.  You did something most 12 year-olds wouldn’t even think of doing.  Even if your first crust isn’t right, we will make another one.  You are a pioneer woman and pioneer women keep trying until we succeed.  We have to make a way; cut a path; blaze a trail for others to come behind us and be fruitful, too.”

I thank God today that I am no longer afraid.  I do not need to follow the beaten path made by the many and the minions.  No.  I have actually learned to prefer the road less travelled.  I don’t even mind mingling and meandering along the road where there is no road.  No matter how difficult or personally dangerous, I am confident and courageous enough in the power of my both my Sword and my Savior to do all that I am called to in cutting and clearing new paths so that others can follow Christ and find themselves fruitful, too.

Thank you, black raspberry patch. Thank you, briars.  Thank you, bugs, poison branches, and brush of all kinds.  Thank you, sun, and heat, and sweat.  Your lessons are deep and your rewards make all of you worthy of my time.


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I examine the underside of my forearm post berry-picking.  Ragged.

Even with long sleeves and snake boots, the brambles always seem to get the best of me.

Black raspberries sprawl out among the weeds for as far as I can see.  A grateful host to this favored member of the rose family, my backyard delicately draws me day after day.

I consider the thorns.  Moreover, I consider the consistent nature of my treasures.  I must trespass through the timber to track them, but they always turn up right on time.  I pluck the bushes bare of black ones only to find today’s unready reds respectfully ripe tomorrow.

I think of Eden.   Why do we not see paradise when it stretches in front of us?  I think of manna.  How can we desire more; different; better when we’ve been given the very best?  But we do.  We invite the thorns in our self-centered discontent.  We forfeit perfect provision in exchange for poison.

Still, he gives.  He gives the thorns.  Grace.  He gives the wounds in proper portion.  The roses will come, but now they must wait.  He measures out the pound of cure where prevention has not preceded.  He appropriates the pain in order to position the pandering passions of the perpetually imprisioned.

Only a deliberately forgetful father could manage to land a self-consumed exile in a place where both pleasure and pain penetrate in perfected partnership straight to the most permanent places.

The rose family.  How could I have not known?  Everything worth anything is protected; difficult; laborious; risk-bearing.  A wise man once told me I would never obtain a rose without first climbing over the thorns.

Careful.  I must be more careful.  Painful pricks ever remind me.  Regret.  Somehow an armful of scratches seems a small price to pay for a basketful of blackberries.  I think of Eve.  Somehow a body full of brokenness seems just as small a price for an unblemished bride.

Could it be?  Could a world full of the fall’s frailties really be so small a price?  Could the grand schematic really include both the roses and the thorns on purpose?

It could.  And it really is ok.  Funny thing about schematics…I never could read them right.  Daddy was an engineer.  He always knew just what they meant.  Sometimes he even wrote them.  I am assured in my recollections just how true it is that my divine daddy is still the director of this debonair display.

I examine the underside of my forearm post berry-picking.  Ragged.

Even with long sleeves and snake boots, the brambles always seem to get the best of me.  But I heard the pastor say that one cannot carry an old rugged cross withoug winning some sharp splinters in the process.  It really is ok.  I love berries.  They remind me of my daddy and my father.

  Following love always demands sacrifice, but it is so small a price for such a grand reward.  I know there is a barracade of thorns.  Reach for the rose anyway.

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