Family adventures are often said to be the glue that keep us happily cemented together, and striving for the Lord’s work. There is a lot of truth to that. Instead of taking a ton of huge vacations, we find ourselves desiring to explore the woods and go for a paddle more than anything in our free time. The last few weeks are no exception.
Two of my favorite things throughout spring revving up for summer, are all the wild edibles and warm weather loving fish! In this crazy busy life of motherhood, beauty surpasses me. However, when we scramble through the lively, fragrant woods on a warm, sunny afternoon, gentle peace overcomes our day to day busyness. Scrounging the damp, grassy woods with children in tow, abundant new life is springing forth everywhere. Wild edible food encases the forest floor as wood ticks trickle to cling toward any moving object of life. Black flies have begun to hatch and the beautiful tune of birds sing from above. With mesh bag and Leatherman in hand, my littlest scamper the hillsides collecting fiddleheads. Pickled fiddleheads are off in the distance I see.
Combing the forest for morels proves to be a tad early in the season. Finding three fake morels was a gentle reminder of the importance to double check on properly identifying wild edibles and reminding the children to never eat foraged “edibles” without first consenting with mom and dad. On with our foraging. While to no avail, we did not find any delicious morels. However, our sack of abundant fiddleheads, some chickweed for drying and a few dandelions with roots and all definitely leave us thankful.
Veering toward the entryway, we spot a large Peregrine falcon above. Gorgeous! Wide eyed and perched atop the upmost limb of the large sugar maple, it watched and listened to us bustling through the woods. By the time everyone noticed this beautiful bird, it flew off ahead over the pines. Thank you Lord! Thanks for the up close site (we were able to be almost directly beneath it) and for the wisdom gleaned. As mom, I love to know things that are precious and meaningful to my children. (One of my children whispered, I love you too Lord.)
Foraging is great, it is a sweet sentiment thinking of all that God created to provide for HIS people at creation. With many more days of foraging ahead, this was a great start and a wonderful way to hit the woodsy trails!
While foraging is coming along with this nice weather, so is the fishing. Our trip to the lake was not effortless. In fact, the walleye, bass and northern pike were tearing up almost anything we threw in the water! Kids love casting. Casting and reeling in nice fish is even better. Our first fishing adventure left us encouraged for summer fishing. With a total well over 65 fish, most being walleye, we had a blast reeling in some fun to catch fish. We kept about a dozen and a half walleye for a plentiful, and delicious fish fry. God is so good and continues to bless us over and abundantly!
Although this may not make sense to some, but recently read in 2 Kings and was mediating on the truth of God providing several times over the last few weeks. It not only has been a comfort, but also a huge encouragement. Often, we desire things for people and even places, more than they do. That’s not a bad thing. However, when ministry “working” really does rely on other people to make decisions, it is easy to forget the simplest truths. Not as in you lost them or do not believe them, but you stop applying them to the daily. When the widow had nothing and went to the prophet Elisha, she pleaded her case to the man of God. His response, in a nutshell, was, what can I do? He proceeded to ask her what she had. We know from the story in chapter 4 of 2 Kings, all she had was a pot of oil. Elisha gives her instructions. The widow woman obeys and is greatly blessed. So much that Elisha said to go sell the oil, pay her debt and to live with her children. In my mind I am thinking, that’s a lot of oil. She borrowed vessels many vessels we know and they were all filled. (v3)
Such a simple story, only 7 verses long to be exact. But, so much truth we can still use today. Is God still in the miracle business? Most definitely! Are there not babies born everyday? But honestly this story has so much more truth packed within. This story is an account of a widow woman. It is great because it can be applied to all needs, everyone that has a need and everyday life. Here are just a few takes.
- Life has suffering. Sometimes people suffer, this widow woman did not have a husband. She had children to take care of and she was strained to do so. That is a hard life. It is a form of suffering. Suffering can be organic and just because, while other sufferings come from poor choices. The second portion of this suffering for the widow woman was her debt.
- Debt has consequences. We do not have a description of her debt, just that she had it. Perhaps it was necessities for her children, perhaps it was poor management or both; it did not matter though, she still had debt. In this case it was all business. (Like most debt.) Her situation did not change things. And while she had nothing left to give, the creditor would come to collect her sons if he had to, to take payment for the debt. As cruel and as heartless as it may be, that was her situation.
- Mercy and Justice need balance. Debate is a fun thing in our home. We encourage the children to have their own views and think for themselves. It never ceases to amaze me, their responses to scenarios we present and ask them what they would do. I believe God’s word is black and white indeed. But, I also believe like law and grace, each situation should be handled with proper care. Overall our laws generally work and provide protection for the people, but anyone that works in law will tell you it is not a perfect system if it is an unbalanced system. We can apply this in our day to day. Every home has rules, but when a rule is broken is it always the same consequence? No. Why? Because have you ever had a child break a rule to help someone else? Imagine disciplining a child for sneaking extra packaged snack or food for a friend that was hungry. Ieronious right? Instead of disciplining, how about packing a plump full bag of food, making some nutrient packed sub sandwiched and sending your child to meet, as usual, for a picnic lunch with this said friend while you make a friendly, I am cleaning my cupboards out type of informal visit and getting a better grasp on the situation. Respect privacy, extend a loving hand, and be merciful to life’s suffering. Exodus 22 states clearly, that we should not add affliction to those that are already afflicted, if we do not heed to this advice we know God states HIS wrath waxes hot.
- She sought help. When we have trials and difficulties it can be hard to ask for help. Rejection is real. With more an more people abusing help entities, it is hard sometimes to get help to the people that really need it. BUT, she sought help. Best of all, it was the man of God. I believe this illustrates she new it was going to have to take an act of God to help her. I also believe, she thought it possible, or why would she have asked? Whether this was a last resort or a “I know you can help me” plea, she still had faith Elisha would have a solution.
- She exercised faith. Let me ask you, would you go borrowing and collecting as many pots as possible and bring them into your room if you did not think something was going to fill them. Her faith was obvious when she told Elisha, but also in her actions. She stepped out, trusting the man of God. Obeying. And trusted something was going to happen. Perhaps her neighbors thought she finally lost it. Or, maybe, just maybe her faith knew God was able. And she would just trust Him.
- She Obeyed. God chooses to work when, where and how He desires, He’s God! Yet, so many times I hear, God didn’t ________. God hears all prayers, God desires to work and bless our lives indeed. But, He also desires our obedience. This widow woman obeyed the man of God, because he told her a solution and was anointed by God. In order to receive the care, the blessings and provision this woman needed; she had to do something. That is often the case in our daily life. God’s word is filled with promises, but many people do not know they exist. As a baby Christian I remember the first time I really dove into “Crowns”- I was excited and thrilled that God talked about earning “crowns”, but each of those crowns has a “clause or terms”. God can work best through our obedience.
- God’s Blessing is Abundant. Meditating on this passage and stewing on the decisions we are faced with day to day and in ministry, God’s sweet reminder is that he not only knows best, but that when He blesses, he does it abundantly. We really wanted a fresh fish fry, when we went fishing, we caught enough fish for several fish frys.
- Blessings Flow until the Cannot. In the case of fishing, we had commitments and could not clean 50+ fish at midnight. As wonderful as it was to blessed with all those fish, we also knew that God’s grace would provide again. We met a point where we could no longer receive the blessing. This woman did the same, had she had 10 more jugs, the Lord would have filled them. But, it was her limitation that stopped the flow of the blessing. But, the blessing stopped when she was at max capacity. In our daily life, are we really prepared to receive God’s blessings? Or is our faith only a few jugs. We know the woman collect not a few. (Or borrowed, so we see her faith.) But could she have borrowed more? Is there someone she didn’t borrow pots from, that now she wishes she would have? Did she think this is enough? We do not have an account of those details, but it makes you think in application to our daily lives. Where does our faith cease? What is our max capacity on faith?
- Everyone will be tested. Even the best of us will have trials. It is easy to see someone in a trials and say, God’s just trying to increase your faith. Although this may partially be true, we see she had great faith and obedience. Trials are for everyone. But it is the wise that states the Godly things and look for the growth midst the trial.
- God breaks bondage. When every avenue reveals no hope, the widow knew God could fix it. She went to the prophet in faith for instruction. Many things can create bondage. Money or debt is only one. Sin creates bondage, we become slaves to our sins. God broke the bondage between the widow woman and her debt, the bondage of the creditor. In our daily lives God can and will break the bonds that tie us down and hold us back if we will allow Him to help us and obey.
So, while this is getting lengthy, I apologize, God is so good to remind us as we meditate that His word is to be applied to our daily life and CAN be applied. Our daily obedience to Christ opens the flood gates of blessings. God is so good. Do you know Him personally? He is the greatest thing to happen in my life! An coming to know Him will be the greatest journey of your life if you will allow it! And while the lessons of this short little passage leave you with something to chew on, may you also find joy and God’s truth in everything around you. His beauty and perfect design was not an accident. But, intentional, just like you. I hope and pray for each of you, that if you have not come to know Him as your Savior, that you would trust Him. I also pray He becomes a close friend and confidant that you trust and allow to break all your bonds. He is good, and desires to supply ALL your needs above and blessed beyond. Have a wonderful day!