Tuesday, May 15, 2012

"Don't Throw me in that Briar Patch!"

Matthew 13:22
The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.

Wild blackberry bushes flourish along the county road which runs behind our property.  I keep a watchful eye on them, assessing their progress, alerted to the best time to go berry picking.

This is the first summer that my son, Daniel, and daughter, Sarah, beg to come along.

"I want to help, Mom!"   Daniel says when I announce my intentions.

"Me, too!"  Sarah chimes in, never on to bear being left out of anything.

"Okay," I tell them, "but, we'll have to go pretty early in the morning.  Otherwise, it will be too hot outside."

Morning arrives, and with it, unbridled excitement and enthusiasm on my children's part.  They gobble down their breakfast, hastily brush their teeth, and grab their buckets before I've cleared the table.

"C'mon, Mom, can't those wait?  We're ready to go!"  Daniel says impatiently.

"Just let me soak them and grab my hat and we'll be all set."

Within the minute, pails in tow, we head out.  The morning air is still cool, but humid.  A cloudless blue sky promises a scorcher by noontime if not before.

We walk down the trail through our woods to the back gate.  Well, I walk.  Daniel and Sarah are running, hopping, skipping, cavorting, and breathless when I finally catch up to them.

I open the gate.  We pass through a thicket of young pines and pop out blinking in the bright sunlight.

"Right over there," I point.  "See?"

My children, all smiles, race each other to the brambly bushes laden with sweet, juicy berries.  And, briars.

"Ouch!"  I hear repeatedly.

"Be careful!"  I caution.

We pick and pick and pick.  Within a half an hour, I am perspiring profusely.  Beads of sweat gather on my children's faces.  Sarah's wispy bangs cling wetly to her forehead.

"Can we go home now?"  Daniel asks.  "It's too hot out here."

All the fervor, the energy, the exhilaration is gone.  Sapped by the oppressive heat.

And, because they eat more blackberries than they collect, there isn't much to show for their efforts.

"Yes," I tell them, "it's time to go home."
Did you ever look forward to something with eagerness and excitement only to be disappointed?

Will you pray with me?
When the thorns of worry and care prick us, Father, help us to ever turn to you for comfort and solace.  May Your Word grow strong and solid roots in our hearts so that we can face life's difficulties and disappointments with grace and courage.  Amen.

Psalms 78:1-39 or 78:40-72
Leviticus 26:1-20
1 Timothy 2:1-6
Matthew 13:18-23 


  1. I remember picking berries in the woods as a boy, my hands and mouth stained upon returning home. Seems as if that purple tint would never wash out despite much vigorous scrubbing. It seems life is full of let-downs from meals to movies to the weather but those are just minor blips on the radar and nothing to truly worry about...Though it's upsetting to take the first sip of coffee in the morning and find it lukewarm or bitter tasting ;) Hope your day is disappointment-free!!

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, David!
      Yes! I forgot about those seemingly indelible stains from the juice. Had plenty of soap and water sessions with my two!
      And, I'm with you on the coffee :). I so look forward to that first, steamy cup in the morning. Today's was great!
      Hope you have a wonderful day, too!

  2. Beautiful lesson Martha...yes there have been many instances where I have looked forward with eagerness and excitement only to be disappointed.

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Privy!
      Disappointments are just a part of life, aren't they? It's a hard one to teach children, that's for sure!
      Blessings to you!

  3. I haven't experienced berry picking but I've always imagined how delicious that would be :P We just had grape picking and eating :P

    I admit my heart was crushed when I learned that the boy I was preparing for Communion was moving to his province with his family. For three weeks, I've been nudged by the Lord about letting him have it but in the end we couldn't do anything because he doesn't have a baptismal certificate.

    I cried because sometimes it's the parents who become the thorn in the path, oh well, or just maybe it's just God's way of telling me that the situation is in His hands not mine.

    Thanks for allowing me to reflect on this deeply. I remember that the ones that pierced Mama Mary's heart were swords not just thorns...but she kept everything in her heart.

    I pray with you...I do not understand Your ways and sometimes they throw me off the path, but I renew my trust and faith everyday. I know and I feel that You have something great in store for that child and I entrust him to You. I know he is in good hands.

    1. Oh, Melissa, such thorns, such thorns . . . and, such pain for your heart. I pray the tears are healing ones for you, my dear.
      I came to Christ while in marriage to an atheistic husband who berated and belittled me for my beliefs. The thorn of eventual divorce.
      I know the Catholic Church would probably not accept me as one divorced and married again, but I know that my Christ has and He does. Continually.
      Wow . . . just had to share with my prayer partner. Everything has a way of spilling out and laying flat on the floor.
      Every child of God, and the one you speak of here, is definitely in His hands. You have done what God has asked you to do with grace and love. His parents will have to make that final decision, but rest in the knowledge that God makes the final claim.
      He, I know, has so many special things in store for you!
      Blessings always!

    2. Thank you for letting me into your heart. It is safe in mine.

      Sometimes, I think we anticipate the answers but God always has His ways of letting things known. We look at them as thorns or little pricks but maybe, just maybe, it's God's way of saying, You're heading into into another direction. I am very happy you have found your love :) I think God is larger than people ever imagine Him to be ~ sans judgment :)

    3. So glad to have you in my heart, dear Melissa, and mine in yours.
      I love your observation here - that the thorns of life are the reminders from God to move in a different direction or, perhaps, like St. Paul's thorn, to keep us ever humble before Him.
      And, so true - we cannot even begin to imagine how great our God is!
      Blessings once again!

  4. Well said and illustrated. I think this is part of human nature, we set ourselves with expectations without stopping to consider. It's not a lesson we remember either.. I've caught myself in the last year holding back on my own excitement (specifically as I shop my first novel to agents), at first I was here I am, come fight for me. A few months later, humbled and cautious, I start again. It's darn tough be so human. Thanks for reminding

    1. Thank you so much, Brenda, for stopping by.
      Your story here definitely echoes my own. I thought my novel to be so "good" that certainly a literary agent would take notice. Oh, what a field of briars I found myself in! No interest, in the least~
      Humbled and cautious, in your words, I have now decided to explore the world of self-publishing. Hope you can do the same!
      And, yes, it is one darned tough fight down here~
      Blessings to you!

  5. Replies
    1. Thank you so much for stopping by, Adriana! So glad you enjoyed the post.

  6. Has happened...when we are so eagerly looking forward, we have high expectations and when the reality does not meet our expectations, we get disappointed. Nice post.

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Janaki!
      High expectations are great to have, but they do make disappointments harder to take, don't they?

  7. There was a time I held myself back from getting excited about things for fear of the disappointment. Not anymore - I anticipate with pleasure and attempt to see the best of what comes, knowing that nothing happens to me without a reason and a purpose. God is in His heaven, all is right with the world (and me!)

    1. Thanks so much, Corinne, for visiting today!
      Wow! Such a great and positive attitude to have! Yes, nothing happens without a purpose and God is ever holding us in the palm of His hand. Such comfort!

  8. It has always happened to me when it comes to travelling. I am all enthusiastic but when the time nears all my energy and excitement just dissolves just thinking about going. God bless you for sharing this, Martha

    1. Oh, wow, Rimly, I know how that feels. I got so excited about traveling with Danny last year to Washington, D.C., but, thinking about the plane ride and having to get up early to get to the airport just zapped my enthusiasm. I did have a good time once we landed, though.:)
      God's beautiful blessings right back at you, my friend!

  9. Of course it happened, but I wouldn't say "only to be disappointed". There is disappointment of course, but there is excitement too. It's up to us which part of it we want to see. If you take your children to a nice place they love. They will enjoy it and have fun, but still be disappointed when you will leave. It's their decision whether to feel sad for leaving or leave with a smile remembering the beautiful day. Its the same in life

    1. Nikky, you make a marvelous point here. We can be having a great time somewhere and hate to see that experience end or be happy that we had the experience in the first place. Great comment!
      Thanks for dropping by. Hope all is well.
      Blessings to you!


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