Friday, August 28, 2009

Canning Season

"For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat." 2 Thessalonians 3:10

I don't know about you, but lately I've been finding that God will bring certain verses to mind just when I need them. This verse came to mind a few days ago.

My mom had called me up and mentioned to me that her pear tree was ripe and ready to pick. It was kind of a gloomy rainy day, and I have been having an off week, and I really didn't feel like going and picking the pears. Then I thought about it a little, and then this verse came to mind, and I thought, well, I guess I better go pick some pears. Our whole family loves pears, so the kids and I headed over and did some picking. And then I had a large bushel of pears in my garage.

I got busy doing something, and once again I thought that I really didn't want to deal with those pears. I've been busy trying to finalize some things for the school year and keeping up with the housework, and I know that it's a lot of work to can pears. But that same verse was there, and I just was reminded about how delicious those canned pears are- especially in the dead of winter alongside a piece of french toast or waffles. I reluctantly decided to can some of the pears. A funny thing happened then, as I was cleaning up the kitchen, getting out what I needed and preparing for the task of canning pears, I started feeling a little perky. In fact, if I could whistle, I bet I would have been whistling while I worked. I tackled those pears with gusto and remembered that I really did enjoy the process of canning and putting food by! I enjoyed it so much that when I went to sleep that night, I was playing the process in my mind, thinking about the next day and how I would get up, get my work done and get right back to canning those pears.

Well, I woke up yesterday morning, and did just that, and I now have 24 quarts of pears put up and ready to feed my family through the winter. And even though I did all this work to get it that way, I couldn't help but feel incredibly blessed by the bounty. Even now, I can look over and see these jars that need to be washed and then carried to the basement shelves, and I just feel like God went above and beyond in blessing us with these pears this year. I am just so thankful! And then! I decided I needed to check the tomato plants, and while I was out, I uncovered a literal pile of tomatoes. My tomatoes this year are not faring well because of the sporadic rainfall, so they are cracking and they have spots that need to be cut off, and while I could lament this development, it actually works in our favor, because that makes these tomatoes perfect for using in salsa! I dug out a recipe I've been meaning to try and discovered that between my pantry and my garden, I had absolutely every ingredient, so I quickly put together and canned a small batch of salsa yesterday too! Isn't God awesome!

We've been having a tight year, and normally, when Andy works there is plenty of extra for using to stock up the pantry and freezer for when he is not working, and this year it just hasn't been like that. Every once in a while, if I dwell on it, that would worry me, except I have faith in a God who has said that He will provide for our every need. So I know that He knows the state of my pantry and freezer- and I can completely rest in Him. Yet at the same time, the verse in 2 Thessalonians keeps rolling through my head- "He who shall not work, shall not eat." If I just sit around and let the garden go to waste, and let other produce go to waste, God's not going to reward my slothful behavior by providing. You reap what you so, and so even on the days I may not feel like it, when God places a bounty of fruit in my lap, I need to do what I can to preserve it and put it up- I love to think that He is providing in advance.

I want to think on that for a minute. A normal year for us has us feasting in the time when Andy is working, and then we scale back when he is on unemployment. We know this, after many years of going through the same thing, we can look ahead and know what's coming. I can do what I can to stock the freezer and pantry for the lean weeks to come, but with this bounty of pears coming in this year, I really have a feeling of peace for what's to come. I can't help but wonder if those pears in abundance are a sign to us that God isn't just going to provide enough to help us scrape by- but He's going to provide abundance. Abundance in ways we could have never thought of.

"When he struck the rock, water gushed out,
and streams flowed abundantly. " Psalm 78:20

God is a God of abundance, and I gaze across my kitchen and see the abundance of pears and salsa (knowing full well there is more coming of both!) I can't help but chuckle and wonder what God is up to next. I can't wait to share what that is.

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