The Corn Stalk

Tales from my garden abound! The harvest is good, both with fruit and vegetables and with valuable life lessons! The season is winding down and I’m canning my little heart out. The weeds are starting to creep in and my perfect dirt is starting to show signs of an unkept garden. But the truth is, at this point, harvesting is more important than weeding so the fruit does not go to waste. I hate how it looks, but I love the bounty I drag in each day. 
I’m exhausted, but the canning process is full-on! It’s a frantic feeling trying to get it all done before a sudden cold night changes it all. From spaghetti sauce to salsa to plain old tomatoes, from peaches to apple sauce and pear butter, from pickles to sauerkraut, every day is overwhelming. I’ve never run out of jars before but today I had to go buy more jars to accommodate. The kitchen has never been in such constant disarray. But each time I stand over the stove filling my jars I am taken back to my childhood.  

Every year my grandparents would can our family’s favorite chili sauce. We put this slow cooked sauce over meatloaf and ring Bologna and meatballs or on my grandma’s lost recipe of yummy lamb patties. My grandpa would grind the onions and peppers with the hand grinder and I’d listen to it “swish, whir, swish, whir” till it was ground enough to add to the brown sugar and apple cider vinegar, sweet and sour goodness. I think of my uncle’s frozen applesauce and how much I liked it over the jarred sauce. Harvest time brings back so many great memories for me. And even though the process is hard, I love the year-long goodness it provides. Long after the garden is covered by snow, the fruit of the ground will bless our family!  

Just before the snow flies, we will turn under all the stems and foliage, the leftover unripened fruit and even the weeds, tilling it under to nourish the ground for years to come. One of the unripened fruits this year will include a lone corn stalk in the middle of my garden. I didn’t plant corn. I wanted to but ran out of space. It’s beautiful really. Tall. Green. Sturdy. But it won’t be ripe before the frost and it is the only stalk. At first I wondered where it came from. And then I realized that the ground corn I feed the chickens must’ve had a single unground kernel spread to the garden…but just one seed. We all marveled when we saw it. We’d never grown corn. It obviously doesn’t belong there. The lone stalk between the pickling cukes and the watermelons. We could call it “God’s plan” and pretend “it was mean to be!” But it isn’t. It’ll never produce fruit in time, and one or two ears would never serve the purpose of feeding our family anyway. 

Sometimes we are just like that stalk of corn. We are someplace we were never supposed to be. We walked in a direction in life that we wanted to go and then called it God’s plan. But it doesn’t produce fruit and it would not meet anyone in a way to make a difference. It’s the very reason we need to follow ONLY after Jesus and let Him do the directing in our lives. He won’t send us where we can’t make a difference. He never calls us to nothing, which is exactly what my lone stalk of corn will accomplish all by itself this late in the season. Following Jesus with every part of our being will always land us where we produce fruit.  

There’s nowhere you NEED to go in life, (emotionally, monetarily, physically, spiritually), that you won’t get to by following God’s plan for your life. Just follow Him and you’ll end up every place you’re supposed to be, exactly when you’re supposed to be there. If you find yourself in the middle of the wrong field, maybe you didn’t NEED to be there in the first place!  

If you’re in the wrong field, get out! Plant yourself in the knowledge and will of Jesus Christ where you can produce some fruit! In the wrong field, you might be wasting an entire season and the harvest, which needs to be picked quickly before the frost, will be left, wasted on the ground. In the wrong field, you might have planted a seed in vain. 

Pray, seek, and listen your way to the field God wants you in. Produce some fruit! 

Proverbs 3:5-6. “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.”

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