When Life Gives You Blackberries
For many of us, July is all about summer activities like hanging out at the lake or vacationing at the beach. Of course, there is the annual “try not to burn your house down” fireworks celebration that just took place on the 4th. While all these are noble and good and downright fun, what gets me excited, (dare I say, anticipating July like it is Christmas) is the arrival of the Texas peach season.
People, I have no words to express the juicy sweetness that flows from a ripe Texas peach.
Truly, this fruit is God’s candy. I could preach whole sermons on the goodness of God to give us such a blessing, But, I digress.
Thankfully, my family lives outside of San Antonio, and these GIFTS TO THE UNIVERSE grow just a few minutes down the road in orchards near Fredericksburg Texas. Last July, I consumed more Texas peaches than I can count. Since I was six months pregnant at the time, I made the trek to buy peaches on a weekly basis. I kept my house stocked in peach cobbler, peach pancakes, peach muffins. … you get the idea. I’m pretty sure Sydney is one-quarter peach.
So, this summer as June rolled into July; I could just taste the sweet nectar as I awaited my first crop of freshly picked peaches. (Here is where I wish I could insert somber, dramatic music to set the tone for the next bit of information.)
Last week, I buckled up Sydney and drove the short 45 minutes from my house to the orchard so she could enjoy her very first Texas peach. Girls, I had it all planned. This would be an exciting mother/daughter activity where I shared one of life’s greatest pleasures with my baby.
My little dream was thwarted, and my longing for the sweetness of a freshly picked peaches dashed when I drove up and saw a sign posted at the entrance of the farm which read, “No Peaches!”
Big disappointment set in as I realized my longing for peach cobbler, peach ice-cream, peach pancakes, and grilled peaches (thank you, Bobby Flay, for letting me know such a thing existed) was not to be realized.
Not taking this news easily, I made my way to the local farmer and asked: how?….why?… what in the world?… are you kidding?….please tell me this is a joke!
Alas, he wasn’t kidding. Apparently, Texas didn’t have much of a winter and …. you need cold weather to produce peaches. Who knew?
Trying to appease my apparent disappointment, the old farmer appealed to my taste buds and said, “Have you tasted our blackberries? They are amazing this year!!!”
Although I headed to the orchard to pick peaches and enjoy all the sweet things I would make with the fruit, life handed me something else that day.
Sydney and I picked some incredible, ripe, juicy blackberries. And guess what? Even though this wasn’t my plan and not what I had my heart set upon, they were so good and so delicious.
We came home that day and made one amazing blackberry cobbler (recipe below). And as we say in Texas, it was “slap yo momma” good.
My little peach disappointment reminded me of a season of life that was much more painful. For those of you unfamiliar with my story. I became a Christian when I was twenty-five years old after living a life riddled with sin and brokenness. I fell in love with Jesus and surrendered my whole life to Him. At that time, I had no idea that surrender would mean a 14-year journey with Jesus as a single girl.
During the time, I watched my friends marry and start their families. For me, marriage was my proverbial peach. I wanted to meet “the one,” fall in love and start my own family. But year after year, it seemed God had a different plan for me, and the ache in my heart for my own family continued. I would pray and ask God for a husband and kids. I wanted that blessing, and I wanted to experience the sweetness of it on my timetable. At times I let bitterness overtake me, but thankfully God broke through my self-pity and taught me that He is a good Father and gives good gifts.
I came to realize that my singleness was purposeful and that the Lord was sovereignly working in my life during this time. One verse, in particular, spoke hope to my heart.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. Psalm 84:11
This scripture reminded me that if marriage were a “good thing” for me in this season, then God would bestow that gift to me. With this truth as my anchor, I was able to stand firm and hold fast to my love for Jesus even when the waiting was painful.
Years went by, and I waited. Overtime, I began to realize that God had some incredible blessings to give me while I waited if I would open my hand and take the goodness he wanted to give me in my singleness. The “blackberries” of my single years were some of the sweetest blessings I’ve ever known. During those years, I made my life-long best friends, I traveled the globe, and I grew to know Jesus in ways I could never have if I were married at the time. That season was one of the most intense times of personal growth with God as He healed me of my past brokenness and called me into ministry. It was also during that time that I started Redeemed Girl, graduated from seminary, and wrote my first five books. The blackberries Jesus offered instead of peaches were quite spectacular!
Truly, there is a season for everything. Just at the right time, my Good Father answered my prayer and introduced me to my husband, Justin. I can look back on my season of singleness and know without a shadow of a doubt that God wasn’t withholding something from me, He was just holding me until He could give me His very best.
So girls, wherever you are right now, I want to challenge you….enjoy the blessing God has put in your hand. You may be dreaming of peaches, but the Lord is handing you some pretty sweet blackberries. Don’t waste these amazing years wishing away the gift of this season. I’ve often heard, “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade” Well, I’ve decided to change that expression….When life gives us blackberries, let’s make some cobbler!!
Slap Yo’ Momma- Blackberry Cobbler
- 3 cups fresh blackberries
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
Heat oven to 375°F.
In medium bowl, mix together blackberries, lemon juice, and 1/2 cup sugar. Let stand about 20 minutes or until fruit syrup forms.
In large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, 1/2 cup sugar, and milk. Stir in melted butter until blended.
Spread batter into an un-greased baking dish.
Spoon blackberry mixture over batter.
Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until dough rises and is golden.
Serve with Vanilla Ice Cream