The summer following my Junior year of high school, I ventured off on a Canadian wilderness adventure with the local youth group. For 2 weeks, we would be backpacking and canoeing our way across the middle of Canadian nothingness. (I would tell you where more precisely I was, but the truth is, we were never allowed to see much of a map – one of the biggest lessons was trusting God to provide and the leader of the day to lead.)
The most excellent part of the trip came as we stopped for the night in the heart of a burnt out forest area. It was … depressing. All of the trees for quite a distance around us were dead from the heat of the fire. Most of them stood half as tall as they once had, burned and gray. The ground where grass had once thrived, was now filled with ash and no color. Before we set up tents, we were encouraged explore the area a bit and to journal about the day’s activities. As I walked off to be on my own, I discovered what I believed to be a miracle: blueberries, the size of a quarter, growing all around me in the middle of this burnt out forest. That day I learned that even in the midst of devastation, God always starts to replant – to use the ugly to make beauty – to replenish in ways we would least expect it.
I’ve been a fan of this thought since that very moment I had it as a 16 year old kid. It’s come and gone throughout my life as hard times have ebbed and flowed. Some day I may write a book about blueberry moments. But, for today, I want to share with you about the blueberries I found in my life this week. Those ladies I talked about in the last post allowed me to share my recent struggles with those who call themselves Christians but don’t appear much like the body of Christ to me at all, and they were gracious in their response to me. Their words uplifted me, encouraged me, gave me strength to keep on plugging on, but at my own pace. They shared their past struggles which encouraged me that I’m not alone, and one dear beautiful soul came to “stand beside me” there, to be my witness to the masses – which was quite frankly one of the best gifts I have ever received.
Yesterday I was blessed to speak to another wise soul from my past who shared with me two incredible truths in her life:
1. Forgiveness is a DECISION, not a feeling.
2. Forgiveness is letting go of the hope for a better past.
“Blueberries” are the beautiful things in our lives that God makes from tragedy, from a place of ugliness. As I’ve been reminded time and time again throughout my life, blueberries are the fruits of a person getting up and sharing her testimony and then seeing it touch even one other soul. Thank God for the burnt out forests in your life – and then get off your butt and spread the blueberries! You have absolutely no idea what a difference it may make in the life of a person like me.