I guess I don't need to say that our move to Missouri put my little blond bombshell into shock. While her brothers and older sister rejoiced that there was no lawn to mow and ran through the trees discovering all the wild critters (mostly ticks) that only Missouri can grow...little Grace, stood wide eyed and wondered how we would ever survive without raspberry jam and strawberries, huckleberries and apples... a chicken coop or a milk stand. She had entered the desert place. Her dismay grew when we planted a garden and it failed because momma had not yet mastered Missouri dirt. As I planted our garden a second time she made vocal her fears..."We should have brought dirt with us, and probably Mrs. Howell (our neighbor in Idaho) too."
I tried to help her adjust. When the blueberries were ripe on a neighboring farm, I loaded her and Beth up and went down to pick a few gallons. She raised an eyebrow as I paid the lady at the farm~ we were always the ones who were paid for our berries not the other way around, but she smiled as we laid them on cookie sheets and froze them for the coming winter. When the blackberries were ripe we headed out to our fields with buckets in tow. I tried to comfort her with the verse in Deuteronomy where God allows us to eat from vineyards and olive trees we did not plant and I explained how God was taking care of us by planting wild blackberries and grapes for us to enjoy. Her dissatisfaction was evident as she replied. "Well, I wish He would 'o talked to me first cuz I'd a told Him to plant the kind without pokies!"
As spring approaches, and with it, the arrival of our orders of fruit trees, berry bushes and bees. I smile. My daughter is entering into the land of plenty. Her days of being down in the valley are coming to a close. I have already witnessed her joy in gathering the first eggs here. As she squealed with delight and compared the different colors of the eggs, I think back to the summer before we left Idaho when gathering eggs was a "chore" instead of a privilege. I catch her stretching out and giving a contented sigh as she lays in front of the fire with her reading lessons. I listen to her remind me of how hot it was the day we picked blueberries as she sits down to a bowl of them swimming in sugar and cream from her favorite cow, Buttermilk. I smile because my daughter is also entering into the land of work... she will help us dig holes and pull weeds until our fingers are sore. She will groan about the heat and the bugs. She will know that life is not handed to us but available if we should choose to pursue it. And she will go after it because she knows the reward that is waiting and will no longer take it for granted. THAT is living.
So too it is with our walk as a Christian, if it were not for the valleys, the mountain tops would have no joy. If it were not for the valleys, the mountain tops themselves would become work. Our Father, in His loving wisdom, allows us to walk through valleys. But he does not send us alone nor does he leave us destitute. Behind the thorns, we will find the sweet berries. In the chores we will find joy. And when we think we can go no further He will lift us up and we will breath deep of that crisp mountain air. We must praise Him whether the path is low or high because in the mixture of both we will find the definition of living.....
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord,
thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.