Thoughts on Fruit

In the spring, we had a Mother/Daughter Tea at our church, the theme of which was the Fruit of the Spirit.

Here is the “fruit” passage, Galations 5.16-25:
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Our speaker pointed out in her talk that the word “fruit” is singular. She spoke as if this were significant, but, as far as I could tell, she did not explain why. So it niggled around in the back of my brain for months. We speak about the fruit of the Spirit as if it were multiple fruits. For example, I’ve been part of a VBS program where we used a different fruit to symbolize each fruit of the Spirit. My kitchen, which has a “fruit of the Spirit” theme, is filled with various fruity items.

So what’s the difference between one fruit and mulitple fruits? Is it just semantics or does it have a practical application? After several months of mulling it over, I think the Lord has brought to mind a picture that brings some clarity of thought to me, and in hopes that it will be an encouragement to others, I’ll share it.

Think of and describe your favorite apple. Mine is a Gala, so I’ll use that as an example. Gala apples are sweet, tangy, firm, juicy, mellow, long-lasting and crisp.

The fruit that grows in our lives when we live by the Spirit can be described similarly… it’s loving, joyful, etc.

Does it matter whether it’s one fruit whose various attributes are described or multiple fruits that the Spirit produces in our lives? Perhaps not, but here’s the difference it makes in my thinking…

When I think of the fruit of the Spirit as one fruit with multiple attributes, it heightens my desire to be transformed in all these areas. I have found a tendency in myself to think along these lines, “Well, I’m not very self-controlled, but that’s just a fruit the Spirit is still working on in my life.” On the other hand, if one of the attributes of the (singular) fruit of the Spirit is self-control, than my not letting Him produce that in my life seems much more significant. A mushy Gala apple with a sour taste isn’t a very good specimen of a Gala apple, is it?

Obviously, the fruit of the Spirit will not be perfected in us until we are perfected. Though saved by grace through faith, there is a lot of growing and changing to be done in us. We are all in desperate need of practical sanctification!

While He continues His faithful work in me, I find it both encouraging and challenging to think about what sort of a specimen of His fruit I am allowing Him to produce in my life. One thing I love about Gala apples is that they are all distinct and individual, but there are attributes that are consistent from apple to apple. Similarly, the fruit He produces in us will be unique and yet consistent as we let Him work in our lives.

Bubbas

Last night, our four oldest Blessings went home with Dad and Mom Smith to spend the night and help them work on their yard today. They left after Stephen had gone to bed, but before he fell asleep. We could hear him crying in his room as they drove away.

I went inside and headed for the boys’ room. There was a heartwrenching cry of “Bubba!!” as I walked down the hall. Stephen was standing on his bed, looking out the window and sobbing. I went in to hug and comfort him, but he seemed heartbroken and despondent. He finally started to calm down when I reassured him that his bubbas would be back the next day. I really think he was worried that they were sneaking away in the dark of night to desert him.

The whole incident got me thinking about how precious relationships with siblings can be. It reminded me how thankful I am for my own Bubba and reminded me what a blessing it is that my children love each other.

It also caused me to think ahead a few years to when Stephen might be waving bye-bye to his brothers as they head off to college, marriage, etc. I hadn’t given much thought before to the fact that his closest brother is 8 years older than him. Someday, he will likely be the oldest boy at home.

Mindstretching, to say the least.

And speaking of anniversaries…

It’s our 14th!

Happy Anniversary, Babe! I’m so glad to be yours, and thankful you love me even when I’m seven weeks pregnant and horribly emotional. 🙂

For some reason, I can’t find songs from our wedding on youtube, but here are a couple from our reception…

Andrew and Amity sang “Two Sets of Joneses” for us:
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQE5PNRLZ40&hl=en&fs=1]

And Lynn surprised us with “If You Could See What I See.” I couldn’t find a video with Geoff Moore in it… the best I could find is this one with shots from the TV show Beauty and the Beast (loved that show, btw):
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAFzqWNQBNM&hl=en&fs=1&color1=0x2b405b&color2=0x6b8ab6]

Someday, I’ll like to get digitalized the video of Andrew and Daniel singing the song Daniel wrote for us.

The song I most would like to find to embed is Steve Green’s “God Causes All Things to Grow.” Debbie Smith sang it at our wedding, and it is still such a blessing to me. Here are the lyrics:

Dreams dressed in white
Vows made by candlelight
Hoping to find out what true love is all about
A quiet fear
Where do we go from here
So many wake and see love slowly disappear

Chorus:
God causes all things to grow
Through every season we know
He will guard the life
That He’s planted in our souls
And when we feel the cold winds blow
We’ll hold to what we know
God causes all things to grow

You know where I’ve failed
My weakness has been unveiled
And yet by grace you choose to love and to forgive
So come what may our home is here to stay
A witness to the lasting promise He has made

And we know God causes all things to grow
Through every season we know
He will guard the life
That He’s planted in our souls
And when we feel the cold winds blow
We’ll hold to what we know
God causes all things to grow

A Special Day for Special Friends

On Saturday September 12, our friends Gerald and Dee celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. It was sweet, short, and simple – wonderful! My Papa performed their first marriage ceremony, and they actually held their anniversary vow renewal about a month early to save Papa and Mama an extra trip up from Florida and have them be a part of the celebration.

Shots from the “ceremony” on G&D’s deck (they live rightnext to the Missouri River; it’s gorgeous):

The reception:

And at the glassblowers there in New Haven – such a neat experience!

Numbers

We interrupt this season of catch-up blogging with a special report:

Jonathan and I have recently learned that Seven is not always the number of completion.

We have discovered, that though Seven was Spiffy,

Eight is Great!

We’re looking forward to meeting Blessing #8 in May of 2010.

Other Kansas Stuff

Our van has had a vibration for quite a while and we’ve been putting off fixing it. On our drive to Hutch, it became very evident that we could not put it off any longer. Dale was gracious enough to find parts and help Jonathan do the needed repairs on Monday morning. Praise God for Dale!

We dropped by our old house in Nickerson Monday after we left camp, just to see it again. It apparently had been foreclosed on and (we found out after we got home) has a new contract on it. We loved that house, have so many memories there, and it was fun to see it again.

We spent Monday night at Nate and Becki’s. Becki cooked us a fabulous meal (of course!) and we had a fun evening visiting. Mom Yount was there for dinner as well, which was fun. The older kids enjoyed trying out a Wii for the first time, Luke and Stephen played in the tub, Jonathan and Nate did manly stuff, and Becki and I gabbed around the frequent interuptions (as moms will do). Great time with precous friends!

Tuesday morning we left Nate and Becki’s about 7am and headed to Cooper tire in Hutch to replace two tires. The service was amazingly fast. After the tires were done, we splurged on McD’s for breakfast. The real treat was that Bethany, one was one of the attendants at Stephen’s birth, met us there and we got to visit for a little bit. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures!

All tired up and fed up, we picked up Papa and Mama from Jim and Joy’s where they had spent the night and hit the road for Missouri. It was a wonderful trip home to Kansas!

KBC Work Retreat, Sept. 4-7 2009

There was lots of hard manual labor going on Saturday at camp, but for some reason I mostly took pictures of the sewing projects and the kids. Mama Byrd, myself, Mom Yount, and Becki worked on sewing mattresses in need of repair (a disproportionate number of which came from the boys’ dorms… I’m just sayin’). It was fun to work together again! I also caught Willow and Autumn sewing up the trampoline and volleyball nets.
(Click to enlarge the collages)

Another treat was getting to see the new generation playing. I’m sure more times than I can count over the years that I worked at KBC, staff friends talked about when their children would come to camp together. Most of this gang is too young to be campers, but oh, how fun to watch them play!

Here’s an extra picture of Stephen playing in the Prophet’s Chamber, which was a playroom for the weekend. Besides the fact that I think he’s so cute, I’m including it so that those of you who haven’t been to camp for a while can get a little glimpse of the refinished dining room floor.

Sunday afternoon there was a rocket launch on the ball field – a good chance to get pictures of friends.

And a few shots from Monday, the last day we were at camp.

Enroute to Kansas Bible Camp

On Friday, September 4th, Jonathan & I, the Blessings, and Papa and Mama Byrd (who had driven in from Florida the day before) headed out for Kansas.  There was a Work Retreat at KBC, and we were all looking forward to it.  Jonathan and I were especially looking forward to being home in Kansas.  It had been over two years since we had been back for Stephen’s birth.  The Lord blessed us with a beautiful day as we drove toward Hutchinson.  Here’s a sampling of the beauty He displayed for us in Kansas

August/September Birthdays

Jonathan’s requested birthday dinner was potato soup, salad, and chicken pot pie. His Coffee Cake-Literally birthday cake was a critically acclaimed surprise. He received a penny whistle and a harmonica (with Mel Bay manual) from his parents and fancy pipe tobacco and some mad money from mine. Alas, I have not yet managed to get him a birthday present… though I did take him to see the Steve Miller Band with my birthday mad money. Surely that counts?

Here’s some pics from J’s bday:

Josiah and Elanor had an interesting party arrangement this year. Ellie’s birthday was the day before we left for our Kansas trip; Josiah’s was the day we drove back. Ellie had her chosen birthday dinner on her birthday, but wanted to save cake for their official joint Bday party. Josiah had his Bday cake the night we got back from Kansas (Gpa and Gma Smith even came over at 9pm to be there for the cake!), and he chose the dinner for their joint party. The presents also happened at the joint party. Crazy planning, but it was a lot of fun.