From the Desert to the Berry Patch

Each year we go to our favorite berry farm to pick our favorites — gooseberries, boysenberries and raspberries.  EXCEPT last year, we weren’t able to go.  With both of us suffering from severe sciatica and back pain, it seemed the better part of valor to stay home and anyway, we still had plenty of berries from the year before in our freezer.

Yesterday was a different story!

Breakfast was finished.

The convertible was packed for a picnic lunch and with berry baskets.

And we were ready to stain our hands with the delicious juices of those berries.

GO WEST, berry pickers!  GO WEST!

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And west we drove.  About 45 minutes from our home to a lovely place called West Union GardensAfter we parked and had our containers weighed, we marched with determination into the lovely rows of berries — row after row after row.

As we walked childish laughter could be heard.  Mamas calling them back closer, and we began to see the color of ripening berries.

Most important on our list of things to be picked were gooseberries, my husband’s favorite pie making berry.  So, we found those and began picking the most luscious looking pink gooseberries. Pink, fat, juicy, big, delectable looking berries.  I kept asking how many do we want to pick, and he kept saying, “MORE!”

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Finally, we had enough gooseberries!

On to the boysenberries . . . .

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and what we found was extraordinary in its bounty.  Fat and juicy berries ready for picking.  Slipping into your hands and sometimes falling to the ground.  And ready for eating . . .  you can eat while you pick, you know.

Then it was time to take a break.  After all, we’d been at this for almost three hours.  We had our lunch under a large oak tree and once refreshed the last berries we wanted to pick called us back to the rows.

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The raspberries had just been opened, and there were so many!  It was as if a sea of raspberries stretched before us as far as the eye could see.

The berries were larger than any I’d ever seen!  And it seemed the berries wanted you to come close and pick them.  Again, they slipped right into your hand.  Often they too fell to the ground, and if you were lucky, you could snap that one up and put it into your bucket.

I heard a little one about three years old say to her mama, “Oh, look, mama.  Some of the berries falled down to the ground.”  Her tiny voice sounded sad.

Dear reader, don’t leave me yet.  I know you wonder where this is going.  And I have a wonderful message not just for you, but one that was meant for me yesterday.

For weeks, or so it seems, I’ve been traveling in the desert. I even mentioned to my husband that my writing had dried up, I felt parched and worn out, and I wondered why.  Of course, he had no answer for me.

Then, just by chance I reached out to my friend Nikki over at Simply Striving.  Nikki’s post on Tuesday talked about discovering worship.  As I read it, I cried.  There was something there I needed and felt a hunger for.  Leaving a comment for Nikki, I told her where I was, or maybe wasn’t.

Doing what good friends do best, Nikki reached back to me with a wonderful heartfelt prayer that you can read in her comments — it may speak to your heart and needs as well.  I could feel something happening — like an opening was being created.

Yesterday, while in the berry fields, breathing in His air, feeling His breeze, seeing and picking from His bounty, 

God nudged and said to me, “Daughter, where have you been?
Not nearly close enough lately.”
“Father, I know.  Life’s been so full and so busy with family, and you know, things.”
He nudged again.  “How can life be full without Me?”
I hung my head, drew a breath,
and knew in an instant He was right, again.
It was I who had moved away.  Like the children running in the berry fields, I needed Him to call me back closer.  I needed to be nudged.
I wasn’t taking time to acknowledge or draw close to Him.  Not the other way around.
I had created my own desert space.  
I had dehydrated my relationship with God.  

I am the one to take the step toward regaining my closeness with Him. 

[L]et us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full
assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us
from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess,
for he who promised is faithful.
Hebrews 10:22-23 (NIV)

Where are you today — are you creating your own desert space, or are you clinging to that faith and hope we all profess and that He and He alone promises?
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8 thoughts on “From the Desert to the Berry Patch

  1. Oh what God can do through you! What a beautiful post! love the imagery you brought me with God calling us closer to Him like children…I'm going to savor that today.Love how God met you at the berry patch! (and wish I could come over because I have NEVER had a gooseberry pie!)"How can life be full without me?" Oh my…how I needed that reminder, too. thank you, Sherrey, for letting Him speak to me through you. To God be the glory…and for the record — I admire how you share your heart here and am humbled you would reach out to me. Honored to pray for you, friend, and I know you do the same for me.All for Him with hugs to you!Nikki

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  2. Oh, Sherrey, what a lovely post, in so many ways. Berry picking is a life-long delight for this gal who grew up in the Pacific Northwest. Loved reading your story and seeing your photos. Also I appreciate and thank you for your wise and humble words about stepping away from God and the need to return. From the desert to the berry patch–now that's quite a rich blessing! Thanks for the blessing of you and your words today. :)Linda

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  3. What a wonderful post Sherrey! Nothing is so humbling as realizing we're standing in a desert of our own making. I had that experience a few years ago. What a gift to have a friend hold your hand and walk you out of that dry place! I'm thankful for you!

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  4. Hi Sherrey. This post stirred something deep within my heart. Thank you for your transparency and for capturing so beautifully the Father's longing to spend time with us even in the desert places of our own design. I especially identified with your statement about "traveling in the desert." It reminded me of stories I need to write about my own desert experiences and what God did during those times. Thank you!

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  5. Nikki, the berry patch experience would have never happened without my stretching my heart toward you for intervention via prayer, and then reading your prayer set my heart on just letting go of so much "stuff" yesterday while we were there. And it happened! Sounds, smells, visuals all came together and in that simple time and place, He nudged me and sought me out to come closer. I give thanks each time I think of you (or something like that — I'm not good at memorizing verses). :)NEVER had a gooseberry pie? Oh, how I'd love to bring one over warm and fresh out of the oven. I'd never seen a gooseberry until we moved to Oregon in 1983. At first, I thought they were too tart, but I've learned how to bake them just so, and they are delicious. Bob's next favorite is rhubarb.Praying you will have a good end to this week and offering thanksgiving for your life and its connection to mine! All's grace where love abounds,Sherrey

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  6. Beck, the thanksgiving is mine to lift for you in my life as well. Creating our desert is fed out of being too much in the world, too busy to give God our time, so many things take us there. It's amazing how many friends I've made through writing this simple little blog. Not followed by many, but lifting Him up, I hope, each time I write. That's my mission.

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  7. Your words, "stirred something deep within my heart," sent goosebumps down my arms. I often wonder what reactions my words bring to others, and today you've told me! When we transport ourselves into our self-created desert, it is without thought for our Father's desires, only for our own. I hope you'll write your stories of desert time. I'm sure they're rich with God's love. Thanks for stopping by.

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