Sep 8, 2011

lessons of the blackberry {part two}

I had another walk down my favorite trail yesterday and felt like I learned a couple more lessons from the blackberry. Grab some tea and join me as we both learn of God's faithfulness in the natural beauty of the blackberry.

I tried to avoid getting poked and scratched by the thorny vines of the blackberry bramble this week [as I am typing, I see scratches on my arms and can say I was unsuccesful at this goal!], and remember an important thing: I need to be thankful for both the blackberry and the thorns, for they both come from the same plant. I want to re-vamp a quote I once heard by saying, you can complain that blackberry bushes have thorns, or you can rejoice that blackberry bushes have blackberries. Learn to have an attitude of gratitude, no matter the circumstances. Just like the age old hymn teaches us, we need to count our blessings, one by one. Start a journal where you write down all the blessings God has poured over you, and pretty soon you will see that you have lots to be thankful for! So many times we focus only on the thorns in our situation. We get discouraged, worry, and wonder if the hard work is worth it. We forget of God's goodness in the past and our faith weakens. But when we have a heart of thanksgiving, even in the hard and painful times [when it seems we are walking through miles of thorny vines], we remember His faithfulness and are encouraged by the hope that comes from our Redeemer.
Strength, rest, guidance, grace, help, sympathy, love - all from God to us! What a list of blessings! {E. Stenbock}

A grateful heart is one that finds the countless blessings of God in the seemingly mundane everyday life.

The optimist says, the cup is half full. The pessimist says, the cup is half empty. The child of God says; My cup runneth over.

Oh what a happy soul am I although I cannot see,
I am resolved that in this world contented I shall be.
How many blessings I enjoy that other people don't.
To weep and sigh, because I'm blind? I cannot and I won't.
{Fanny Crosby}

Keep your eyes on the prize. Stay focused. I may sound like a high school athletic coach, but bear with me. As I was filling my bucket with blackberries, I heard voices coming towards me and passing by on the trail. I couldn't help turning to look away for a moment... A moment was all it took. A mere glance away from my prize left me with deep pokes because my hand moved a few centimeters -- straight into a thorny vine. Ouch. I set about returning to my picking, when several minutes later [you'd think I learned my lesson!], I turn my head again to spot a bicyclist speed by. Ouch [again!]. Isn't that how life is? When we take our gaze off of Christ, we end up getting hurt. We end up veering off the path and ending up poked and scratched by thorny vines of discouragement, bitterness, self-pity. But oh, the joy when we keep our eyes on Jesus!

Vicky Beeching has a beautiful song called "Captivated"  that led me to daily praying that I may have an unbroken gaze that is fixed upon the beauty of Christ's face.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of old
Will become strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. {Heb. 12:2 NIV}

With my eyes fixed on the goal I push on to secure the prize of God's heavenward call in Christ Jesus. {Phil. 3:14 WNT}
When we gaze upon Jesues, our hearts can be captivated by love. Desire for Him will eclipse our problems and trust in His mercy will overcome our guilt.
Lastly, I want to leave on this note: God is faithful. We may not always understand the hows or the whys, but we can put our trust in the One who does. It amazed me yesterday that while some of the blackberries where plump and ready to be picked, others where still green. How could that be, though they were both right next to each other, exposed to the same amount of sun and watered by the same rain? I don't know. But I do know that God knows the perfect timing. For one person, the perfect timing for a blessing may be today, while for another, in five years. Is it my place to judge or complain? No. It is my place [and may I always remember!] to remain where I am at, trusting that when it rains, it pours ... And I'm not talking about Seattle's weather. God is faithful, and in due time, you'll need buckets to store up all the blessings He pours on those He loves. So, just as a blackberry picker as myself has learned to bring along a bucket in my car in case I find a jackpot of blackberries somewhere, you also can learn to "bring along a bucket" just in case you get a downpour of blessings that you cannot hold in your two hands!
O LORD, You are my God; I will exalt You and praise Your name, for in perfect faithfulness You have done marvelous things, things planned long ago. {Isaiah 25:1}

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. {Hebrews 10:23}

When circumstances seem impossible, when all signs of grace in you seem at their lowest ebb, when temptation is fiercest, when love and joy and hope seem well-nigh extinguished in your heart, then rest, without feeling and without emotion, in the Father's faithfulness. {D. Tryon}
May you have a day blessed with God's best for your life. And may you remember what the blackberry, a seemingly worthless "weed" that grows along highways and trails, declares of God's faithfulness over your life.


  1. Thank you for sharing -is it not beautiful, that we can learn such lessons from His very Creations?
    Ah, we serve an amazing God.

    Many Blessings to you this day,

  2. Elena,
    So nice to find your blog. I was very impressed by your lessons of the blackberry and am going to share your post on my blog's Face Book page tomorrow.


I love to hear your thoughts!

Elle Alice