Ever found yourself in a difficult season where God seems to have gone behind a cloud and isn’t speaking to you? Maybe you need to collect some strawberries. Believe me, it works. I was recently reminded of that truth, and God spoke again.
Let me tell you about June 2— Strawberry Day, a day everything is sweetness, smiles, and shades of red. And this year our 4 granddaughters are old enough to begin to understand what Strawberry Day is all about and how they can utilize it daily to maintain and spread joy. This was originally posted 6 years ago… now we are blessed to have 9 granddaughters, and maybe another on the way (don’t know the gender yet on that one).
So the five of us gathered for a special day together. I grabbed the lunch and strawberry dessert I’d packed and made sure all of them from ages 4 to 8 were buckled in the car. Swimming would do just fine as long as I could capture their attention for a few minutes during lunch.
Under the umbrella at the picnic table, as I told them of the remarkable woman who the day was named after, the little girls were astonished to hear that this woman, born on a farm in 1927, grew up without running water in the house, and that water had to be hauled bucket by bucket to the basins within the house.
I told them of the Great War that came when she was in her teens, that the whole world had gone to war because of evil men who killed people… how most able-bodied young men in America became soldiers and crossed the seas to fight this evil.
I was sharing a love story and a testimony of the power of perspective… a power that can be life-changing to believers of any age.
I wanted them to remember their sweet Great-Grandma Squire, and to receive the gift she could still give them from the heavens.
My mother loved strawberries. She collected them in various forms. There were the coffee mugs, the cookie jars, the trays, the coasters, the nick-knacks, and of course the home prepared salads and desserts. And even better, the fresh strawberries.
She mentioned often of how during her childhood the strawberries in the garden were just ripening as her June 2 birthday approached, and how her mother never ceased to serve homemade angel food cake and strawberries in celebration of her birthday.
I tried to convey the depth of her love for the extraordinary man who returned to Illinois after fighting 4 1/2 years in Europe and Africa… how she floated down the aisle in a beautiful white gown and devoted her entire life to supporting this man, to raising and loving their three children, and to perfecting the home.
He was the leader and she the follower. He made the decisions. She adored him. I asked the girls if they could imagine 60 years of being in love, and how it must have felt when God took him to heaven. I suggested they imagine how she must have felt when he was no longer lying next to her in the bed or coming through the front door for dinner.
They imagined the sadness to the level of their comprehension. They saw it as separation rather than death, a perspective I had returned to after his death. The beautiful young girls commented on the cracks in my voice and the wetness in my eyes. I had felt for my mother, and I had lost my hero too.
What I was leading up to was why God chose to take their great-grandfather first. and to leave Great-Grandma Squire to live alone four more years. (Photo is the oldest 3 in strawberry dresses at Great-Grandma Squire’s memorial service.)
The point I wanted to impress was what they could learn from her response to the loss of her beloved.
Family members were concerned for mom at first. Herb had been her compass and her focus. How could she make all the decisions on her own? If any widow would be lost, it would be her.
But God told me in a dream that he was making her into a lioness. This was her season to blossom into the fullness of her purpose, to be who she was truly meant to be as a woman— no longer under the shadow of a great man, but a great woman standing on her own.
I explained that she decided that she could take one of two approaches…
that she could be mad at God for taking her husband away… or be honored to have spent her life with him. She could be angry that she was alone, or be glad she enjoyed 60 years with the man she loved. She could complain that she no longer cooked meals for him, or rejoice that she was still able to cook. She could be bitter that he died of cancer, or be grateful for all those weeks she could remember the good times with him and tell him that she loved him. She could whine that her beloved had died, or worship the God who confirmed supernaturally that he would one day be with her in Heaven.
I told our grand-daughters that we celebrate Strawberry Day to remember their sweet brave great-grandmother who smiled through the tears…
…that we remember Strawberry Day to learn from her wisdom.
For that wisdom is one of the greatest jewels of life, something we should put on each day— a jewel that brings joy to each person who finds and wears it, the people around that person, and to God Himself who deserves and commands it.
I assigned them a daily exercise, a way to practice being grateful regardless of the situation— to find the strawberries rather than the sour milk in every situation.
“When you aren’t happy about what’s going on or what you’ve been asked to do,” I offered, “find something in it to be thankful for.”
We brainstormed together. “If it’s raining when you have to be outside,” one of them exclaimed, “be grateful you have an umbrella!”
“When you’re told to get on your pajamas and get in bed,” another suggested, “be glad you have a bed!”
“And when your sister is playing with the toy you wanted,” I started… “be thankful you even have the toy!” the oldest continued.
“We’ll call it FINDING THE STRAWBERRIES” I shouted! “Practice finding at least one strawberry every day and you’re on your way to a life of happiness and joy.”
We had a great time initiating the summer by splashing and swimming. When it was time to go, I knew that I’d have to follow up and find a creative way to keep them excited about their new challenge… I know— a strawberry piece of jewelry to wear as a reminder!
And next STRAWBERRY DAY, maybe we’ll talk about how the favor of God rests on those who are grateful… and how it should be your calling card when you approach the throne room of God.
Want to reach the Creator of Heavens and Earth when He seems to be silent?
Maybe you need to re-approach your situation from the positive side, from the faith side. Try rejoicing rather than grumbling. Find the Strawberries in the situation. You WILL hear from Him again.
Psalm 100: 1-5
1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the LORD is God
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
5 For the LORD is good; His loving kindness is everlasting
And His faithfulness to all generations.
1 Praise the LORD.
How good it is to sing praises to our God,
how pleasant and fitting to praise him!
2 The LORD builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the exiles of Israel.
3 He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
4 He determines the number of the stars
and calls them each by name.
5 Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
his understanding has no limit.
6 The LORD sustains the humble
but casts the wicked to the ground.
7 Sing to the LORD with grateful praise;
make music to our God on the harp.
8 He covers the sky with clouds;
he supplies the earth with rain
and makes grass grow on the hills.
9 He provides food for the cattle
and for the young ravens when they call.
20b Praise the LORD.
This post was meant for some of you in particular right now. Let’s hear from you.