Growing in Grace

Taste and See

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Strawberry picking signals the beginning of spring each year for our family. I off the the dirt road, now muddy after a morning shower, and my daughter races to pick out her white bucket. It’s still cool enough for me to wear a cardigan, but after thirty minutes, I begin to sweat while squatting to pick the ripe, red berries. My son sits in the stroller gnawing on one while my daughter searches for the biggest and juiciest fruit.

An hour later, we leave with two buckets, and I google “best strawberry recipes” for ideas of what to make with our harvest. Pancakes. Shortcake. Pies. Salads. I bookmark a dozen recipes, intending to make all the treats throughout the next two weeks before I freeze the remaining strawberries to last us the rest of the year.

Once home, I wash our berries, lay them flat to dry, and put them in a glass polka dot bowl in the refrigerator covered in plastic wrap. Soon the plastic wrap stays lifted in one corner, and the strawberries begin to disappear. I grab a strawberry to eat while I get my daughter her snack. I snag one while I vacuum up bits of smashed goldfish. I fill my water bottle and grab one more. By the end of the day, I’ve probably eaten a pint of strawberries. That bowl of strawberries tempts me to nibble throughout the day, tasting their sweetness as I’m doing the everyday tasks of motherhood.

I bite into an extra juicy and sweet one this afternoon as I listen to worship music and mop the floors. I pause to listen more closely as Shane and Shane sing lyrics based on Psalm 34: “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack!” (Psalm 34:8-9, ESV).

Continuing to mop the floors, I slowly chew my strawberry and meditate on the truths being sung over me. I often believe that the only way to taste and see the Lord’s goodness is to feast—to indulge like you would at a three-course steak dinner. I assume that I can only fully enjoy God’s presence by being stuffed to the brim with it, letting the nutrients digest leisurely the remainder of the day.

Yet in this season of life as a mother of little children, feast days in God’s Word are few and far between. I’m limited to the short minutes before my children wake up or during their overlapping naptimes or before my tired body falls asleep at night. Instead of a three-course dinner, I feel like I’m grabbing a granola bar before I have to begin a busy day, praying that it lasts until I have another quiet moment to dwell in God’s presence.

However, motherhood has taught me that prolonged, deep meals is only one way to fill up on God’s Word. There’s another way to “taste and see,” and it’s like the way I eat my strawberries—the red juice bringing a sweetness to everyday tasks. During the two weeks at the beginning of every spring, these fresh strawberries remind me that I don’t have to feast to be full. I can gaze and graze upon God’s Word throughout my day.

Taking a juicy bite first thing in the morning before my son wakes up to nurse.

Chewing on his Word while my daughter practices her scripture memory at breakfast.

Savoring its sweetness in worship music while I fold the laundry and wash the dishes.

Returning to it during the few minutes of quiet during naptime.

Ending my day thankful that God sustained me throughout my day with the few sweet words I read that morning.

Abiding in Christ isn’t limited to a peaceful hour in the morning. It’s staying connected to the vine so that we can bear his good fruit throughout our day. From doing the dishes to sending an email to ministering to a neighbor, Christ reminds us that we can do nothing apart from his presence. “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5, ESV).

I still enjoy time feasting in God’s Word when I can, as much as I will enjoy the strawberry pretzel pie I will have time to bake tonight or the buttermilk strawberry pancakes I will make this weekend with my daughter. But I will also delight in every strawberry I eat throughout my day. I can learn to let God’s satisfying presence transform the everyday mundane moments of my life.

When I taste and see God’s goodness in every moment of life, by the end of the day, my soul is fed. And my strawberry bowl is empty.

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