Unexpected Fruit

Unexpected Fruit

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6

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There are some days when absolutely nothing you plan pans out, which can seem strange when you’ve started the morning by committing everything to the Lord!

You have two choices. The first is to struggle on against all the odds in an attempt to force things back on track, or what you think is the 'right' track. The second is to give in gracefully and simply go with the flow. Yesterday was one of those days, and I chose the second option …

The first thing that changed our plans was discovering that our car, which had been in the garage for several days, was ready to be collected, and the second was that the only time my sweet neighbour could drive us down the hill to Artemare was now, this minute. I hastily gathered up some bags, and threw on a coat, or rather wrestled my plastered left arm into the sleeve of my coat as Mart grabbed a house key.

We met Joëlle coming down our leaf strewn path. Once in the car I discovered just how timely this was: tomorrow she and her husband would set off at the crack of dawn on a five hour trip to visit her ageing parents in the north of France.

At the garage we discovered that the minor problem for which we'd put the car in was fixed and the new snow tyres were in place, but, another potentially much more serious problem had been spotted. I thanked God for that minor problem, despite the stress caused when our car overheated in a seemingly interminable traffic jam a few days ago. We booked the car back in for a further repair.

Then we set off for Belley, our nearest large town. Picking up vegetables at the local organic shop on the way, we called in on our dearest friends Lilian and Dhana to deliver a tent we'd collected for them while we were back in the UK. We were invited to have lunch with them. Sharing a simple yet delicious Indian meal with this dear family is always a joy. I'm so glad we made the spur of the moment decision to visit with them today. Tomorrow they set off for few days in Paris!

Once home, Mart decided to attack the worst job first, brave man. He hauled the long ladder down from the hay loft of the barn, and prepared to raise it to clear the fallen leaves that had blocked the gutter and caused an immense cascade of water during the torrential rain that accompanied the storm two nights ago.

Help! The ladder would need to stand just where my sweet briar stood, bowed down under the weight of this year's rose hips. I hastily donned leather gloves, or rather glove, since the cast on my broken arm prevented me from wearing a glove, and picked up my secateurs. Cautiously I began cutting back the branches of the sprawling Dog rose. One by one I gathered up the berried and very prickly twigs and branches, piling them up beside the bench next to the front door. Then, sitting under the shelter of our huge overhanging roof and protected from the sodden leaves that started raining down from on high, I began to clip off the hips and cut up the thorny branches.

Amazing how much concentration it takes to ensure that the hips go into the bowl and the branches into the bag! It was a soothing rhythm, and I plodded on, long after Martyn was down from the roof and the ladder was back in the barn.

I'd just started on the next stage of wiping every rose-hip clean and dry when I remembered that it was Wednesday, which meant our Church prayer meeting AND we had a car AND I was feeling well enough to go, for the first time in the three weeks since we've been home from our trip back to England.

We arrived at the meeting just a few minutes late but, still in time for an encouraging preliminary word on daring to believe in the power of prayer and even, daring to put God's words to the test: “Lord, your word says it and I AM believing it”...

As we left, I popped into the Church kitchen and opened the fridge to find a great big chunk of pumpkin. Bless her, Nadège had been as good as her word: she'd left a large section of squash for me, as I'd missed claiming one of the heap of pumpkin slices someone brought to Church last Sunday.

So, how did yesterday compare with the day I'd planned?

I was going to draw, to finish (perhaps) the last four of my children's illustrations for the Book of Ruth (but I'm already well on the way to achieving that today), doubtless all the while feeling trapped by still being carless but, unexpectedly, we found ourselves mobile again. As a result, I was able to spend some time with two of my best friends and, we were able to pray with our dear Church family. Finally, quite unexpectedly, not only did I gather a bumper crop berries, brim full of vitamin C for the coming winter, but I also gained a big, beautiful, slice of fresh Pumpkin. Mmm, yummy pumpkin pies to come ... I would call that a fruitful day.

Thank you Lord Jesus!