Bring on the summer days


Summer is in full swing. It’s not my favorite season, but I never would want to do without it. Just this afternoon, Joshua came running up to me with a fresh cucumber he picked for me. I took a bite off the end—the ‘tail end’, which is the sweetest. Mmm. Summer, yeah, I do like summer. Little boys with tanned cheeks, beads of sweat, and broad smiles over their latest find in the garden… it all marks the joys of summer.

Surely we do nothing actually to deserve these goodies from the garden, it’s like a touch from his hand of provision.

A couple of weeks ago, I had this profound reminder of the providence of God. It was one of those afternoons the children and I were outdoors. I asked the boys, ages nine and six, to take the little wagon to the barn, line it with a tarp, and scoop up a load of manure and straw mixture. We needed to do another hitch of mulching in the garden. At about that time our neighbor, Mr. Wengerd, stopped by with the tractor, I didn’t think much about it, “He probably needs something in the shop,” I thought to myself.

Though I never really found out what he needed, I did find out what happened next. A short time later he had pulled up to the garden with a load of mulch which he had scooped from the box stall in the barn and wondered where he could put it. My eyes widened. Could it be happening? Now as I write, I cry all over again. Surely he had no idea the battle I had fought in my heart to put out a garden minus my husband who so enjoyed gardening with his growing family. He had no idea of all what had happened many years ago, robbing me of my confidence with working in the garden, and then the battle to rebuild it. But, God knew.

Our neighbor didn’t stop to tell me what I had done wrong or what I should do differently, he took the time to do what Jesus would do if he were still on earth.

Somewhat dazed, I pointed to the area I would do next and told him our plan. Soon he had our three young boys around him, they were all helping in their own way. Their voices rang with joy as they enjoyed working with an adult male figure. He is married to one of my cousins who has been there to simply stand with me many times over the past years, and as a couple they provide their own sense of strength to our family.

In the meanwhile I headed to the raspberry patch where weeds were pushing their way through. As I made my way around the patch I wiped tears and more tears. How did God know so precisely what I need and how to fill it?

When the row was completed and his load emptied he was on his way once more. I thanked him as he left. People may never know how they have been a touch of God, but when we have been touched, we know it.

Later as I walked through the garden, which is becoming a place for me to unwind and relax as I pull weeds or spray fertilizer, I sincerely thanked God for all he has created to grow. No, it doesn’t have to be perfect, and it doesn’t need the variety and size Daniel would have, if he were here to add his energies into it, but it is a gift we will not take for granted. More than that, the memories of little hands placing seeds in the soil and watching it grow and helping with harvest will last a life time. Praise His name!

So yes, bring on summer days, it’ll take the heat to bring growth.

Whether or not, you have your own plot to till and sow and grow, your plot in life matters to the Lord. He sees that silent pain and longing for safety, health, or wholeness of heart. When we feel like we stand alone, surely Jesus, our advocate, is speaking to the Father for us. He will bring rest in his way, on his time table and in the perfection of his power.

As a family we enjoy trying new dishes with garden goodies. Last night we made a stove-top potato dish with fresh potatoes and various veggies diced on top. You may use your own imagination to make it suit your tastes. Since I was hosting guests, I didn’t cover the entire pan with onions and peppers since not everyone enjoys them as much as we do!

Stove-Top Potatoes Au Gratin

4 tablespoons butter

3 large potatoes, sliced thin

1 large onion, sliced (opt)

1 bell pepper, sliced (opt)

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup milk or cream

1 cup fried bacon bits (opt)

1 1/2 cups shredded cheese of your choice

Melt butter in a 9 inch skillet.

Layer potatoes, onions, bell pepper, salt and black pepper.

Pour milk over it and sprinkle with cheese.

Begin cooking on medium heat until cover is very hot.

Reduce to low and cook 20 minutes.

Sprinkle with bacon and cheese.

Set lid ajar to allow some steam to evaporate and leave on low for another 5 minutes before serving.

Gloria Yoder is an Amish mom, writer, and homemaker in rural Illinois. The Yoders travel primarily by horse-drawn buggy and live next to the settlement’s one-room school-house. Readers can write to Gloria at 10510 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427

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