5 Life Lessons of the Blackberry {Guest Post by Elena}

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cwb_Guest Post_elena Two years ago, while studying for my masters in nursing in Seattle, I worked as a home care nurse with children with special health needs. Upon finishing my shift at one of my sweet kiddo’s home, I stopped for a relaxing walk along a winding, rustic trail I came to love. I soon came across large group of blackberry bushes on the side of the trail with ripe blackberries begging to be plucked and enjoyed. So while I picked and picked (and got pricked and pricked as well!), God put a few special lessons upon my heart. These lessons were named The Lessons of the Blackberry. As I looked back at these lessons, I am amazed at how beautiful God’s ways are in explaining complex Truths throughout the simple beauties of nature.  So, since we are amidst blackberry season, I thought it would be fun to revisit the lessons of the blackberry.   

5 Lessons of the Blackberries

1.] PERSEVERE THROUGH THE PAIN blackberrylessonsThe most plump, delicious blackberries are the ones hidden and protected amidst a thorny collection of brambles. Reach for them and you’re sure to experience at least one or two scratches in return. It is usually the most beautiful blessings that are surrounded, just as these delicious berries, by painful thorns that try to keep us from joy. Keep persevering, even if you need to get poked every once in awhile. The reward is worth the pain.

Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. {Galatians 6:9}

Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can. {Charles Wesley}

I am prepared to go anywhere, provided it be forward. I determined never to stop until I had come to the end and achieved my purpose. {David Livingstone}

2.] WAIT AND BE PATIENT There is a season for everything, including ripe, sweet blackberries. Try to pick them too early, however, and you’ll get a rather sour surprise. Wait. Be patient. For it is usually after days of uneventful, “boring” weather that the best blackberries ripen. Don’t underestimate the days of seemingly uneventful waiting. God is behind the scenes working all things for the good of those who obey Him. Furthermore, ripe blackberries gently fall off the branch into eager hands without any tugging or forcing. Trust in God’s perfect timing. Don’t force things, pulling with all your might to get your “blackberry” off of that branch. When the time is right, blessings will overflow your hands without a tug or pull.

There are some prayers that are followed by a Divine silence because we are not yet ripe for all we have asked; there are others which are so followed because we are ripe for more. We do not always know the full strength of our own capacity; we have to be prepared for receiving greater blessings than we have ever dreamed of. {George Matheson}

But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up their wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not be faint. {Isaiah 40:31} Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. {Romans 12:12}

As I tried to avoid getting poked and scratched by the thorny vines of the blackberry bramble, I remembered an important thing: I need to be thankful for both the blackberry and the thorns, for they both come from the same plant.  Learn to have an attitude of gratitude, no matter the circumstances. Just like the age-old hymn teaches us, we need to count our blessings, one by one. So many times we focus only on the thorns in our situation. We get discouraged, worry, and wonder if the hard work is worth it. We forget of God’s goodness in the past and our faith weakens and withers like a plant without water. But when we have a heart of thanksgiving, even in the hard and painful times [when it seems we are walking through miles of thorny vines], we remember His faithfulness and are encouraged by the hope that comes from our Redeemer.

A grateful heart is one that finds the countless blessings of God in the seemingly mundane everyday life (Unknown).

The optimist says, the cup is half full. The pessimist says, the cup is half empty. The child of God says; My cup runneth over (Unknown)
Oh what a happy soul am I although I cannot see,
I am resolved that in this world contented I shall be.
How many blessings I enjoy that other people don’t.
To weep and sigh, because I’m blind? I cannot and I won’t.
{Fanny Crosby}

Keep your eyes on the prize. Stay focused. I may sound like a high school athletic coach, but bear with me. As I was filling my bucket with blackberries, I heard voices coming towards me and passing by on the trail. I couldn’t help turning to look away for a moment… A moment was all it took. A mere glance away from my prize left me with deep pokes because my hand moved a few centimeters — straight into a thorny vine. Ouch. I set about returning to my picking, when several minutes later [you’d think I learned my lesson!], I turn my head again to spot a bicyclist speed by. Double ouch! Isn’t that how life is? When we take our gaze off of Christ, we end up getting hurt. We end up veering off the path and ending up poked and scratched by thorny vines of discouragement, bitterness, self-pity. But oh, the joy when we keep our eyes on Jesus!

Vicky Beeching has a beautiful song called “Captivated” that led me to daily praying that I may have an unbroken gaze that is fixed upon the beauty of Christ’s face.
Also, the following hymn is another beautiful reminder of this lesson:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of old
Will become strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. {Heb. 12:2 NIV}
With my eyes fixed on the goal I push on to secure the prize of God’s heavenward call in Christ Jesus. {Phil. 3:14 WNT}

When we gaze upon Jesus, our hearts can be captivated by love. Desire for Him will eclipse our problems and trust in His mercy will overcome our guilt (Unknown)

5.] HAVE FAITHLastly, I want to leave on this note: God is faithful. We may not always understand the hows or the whys, but we can put our trust in the One who does. It amazed me that while some of the blackberries where plump and ready to be picked, others where still green. How could that be, though they were both right next to each other, exposed to the same amount of sun and watered by the same rain? I don’t know. But I do know that God knows the perfect timing. For one person, the perfect timing for a blessing may be today, while for another, in five years. Is it my place to judge or complain? No. It is my place [and may I always remember!] to remain where I am at, trusting that when it rains, it pours … And I’m not talking about Seattle’s weather. God is faithful, and in due time, you’ll need buckets to store up all the blessings He pours on those He loves. So, just as a novice blackberry picker as myself has learned to bring along a bucket in my car in case I find a jackpot of blackberries somewhere, you also can learn to “bring along a bucket” just in case you get a downpour of blessings that you cannot hold in your two hands!

O LORD, You are my God; I will exalt You and praise Your name, for in perfect faithfulness You have done marvelous things, things planned long ago. {Isaiah 25:1}

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. {Hebrews 10:23}
When circumstances seem impossible, when all signs of grace in you seem at their lowest ebb, when temptation is fiercest, when love and joy and hope seem well-nigh extinguished in your heart, then rest, without feeling and without emotion, in the Father’s faithfulness. {D. Tryon}

May you have a day blessed with God’s best for your life. And may you remember what the blackberry, a seemingly worthless “weed” that grows along highways and trails, declares of God’s faithfulness over your life.
Elena is a pediatric nurse practitioner, who writes at a Beautiful Hope. Her blog is a song of thanks for all Jesus has done for her. Connect with Elena via her blog, pinterest, or Facebook.

About Elena
Elena is a pediatric nurse practitioner, who writes at a Beautiful Hope. Her blog is a song of thanks for all Jesus has done for her. Connect with Elena via her blog, Pinterest or Facebook.