Maybe it’s the homeschool mom still left in me which causes the longing for my home to reflect the changing season, a wave to the falling leaves to come. Maybe I just like moving things around. In any event, one of the changes is removing the seashells from my mother’s old bread bowl and filling it with fake fruit. But not just any fake fruit. The vintage wax banana, ceramic pear and apple also belonged to my mother, but the rest are gifts from my daughter, Bethany, across the span of several Christmases.
When she was younger, she’d always attend a local art festival with me at Christmas. One Christmas when she was about ten, I noticed a booth with hand painted gourds made to look like various kinds of fruit. We stopped and admired the lovely pieces, and then moved on our way. A while later, my daughter asked if she could do a little shopping…without me. Thinking it safe enough, I gave her a few minutes on her own.
At Christmas, when I opened the brightly colored box from Bethany and found the apple painted gourd, I found it just perfect and immediately put it on display, touched by her thoughtfulness.
It wasn’t until years later, that I learned how thoughtful she really was. My daughter went back to purchase the gourd with money she’d saved. She painstakingly counted it out for Beth Radtke, the artist, but found she didn’t have quite enough. Moved by a child spending her last penny for her mother’s gift, Beth forgave the money she lacked, and gave the apple to her. Not only did Beth win a place in my daughter’s heart, but Bethany won a place in Beth’s heart, as well. Each year, Bethany would return to buy another piece of fruit for me until she was no longer able to do so because of activities which conflicted with the show.
Now, when I attend the festival alone, I always stop and talk to Beth, and we both just about cry over the little girl and her last pennies spent for her mama. Last Christmas, Beth sent a piece of fruit to Bethany which I believe she took with her to the freshmen dorm a few weeks back.
When I put the fruit out in the bowl each fall, I pick up one special gourd apple and remember the sacrifice.
Sacrifice and fruit--a pairing which has implications in our spiritual lives, as well.
As we walk with God, we realize that sacrifice always precedes fruitfulness. The more surrendered, the more committed we become, the more fruit evidences itself in our lives. The more beauty we exude to others.
Like my daughter, I pray I could sacrifice all I have for the excellent fruit.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23)