Last weekend, my family went on a little journey to a strawberry farm in the Texas Hill Country. During that half-day trip, I was inspired, convicted, and greatly blessed. This blog is part one of a three part series called The Sweet Berry Series.
Submission. Every time I hear that word, my inner feminist cringes a little. I always think of submission as an attitude where we cower, scrape, and bow to someone who wields power over us. Others may think of the Fifty Shades of Grey kind. Any way you look at submission, it seems negative.
Webster’s defines submission in this way: The state of being obedient: The act of accepting the authority or control of someone else.
Now, let me tell you something; I am a precious wife. By “precious” I mean giant pain in the butt. I can be complain-y, and grumpy, and downright opinionated. Despite my efforts at Stepford-dom, I’m a struggling housekeeper and just an okay cook. There are about a million ways I screw up. Most of them on a daily basis. Submission doesn’t always come easily to me. So, yeah, Joe has his work cut out for him.
A few years ago, a pastor of our previous church discussed submission as it should play out in a marriage. He said bowing, scraping submission isn’t what the Bible is talking about, but that being supportive of our husband’s mission for our families is. Another way to look at submission is being part of mission support. If your husband has a clear direction for your family, it’s your job to help him out. That made sense to me, so I started trying to put it into practice. I’m not always perfect at this.
Which brings us to Sweet Berry.
I’m going to be 200% honest with you. I did NOT want to go strawberry picking last weekend. I’d been home alone with the kids all week, and had been at baseball/ softball practices and games every single evening. Mak had another game the morning of the Great Strawberry Expedition.
Friends, I didn’t want to drive three hours round trip. And I didn’t want to pay $2.85 per pound for strawberries when I can pay $.97 at H-E-B five minutes from my house. You guys, I don’t even LIKE strawberries.
I’m pretty sure Joe could tell I was less-than-ecstatic to go to Sweet Berry because he offered to let me off the hook. He said I could stay home and he’d take the kids out for the day. But, because I’m a precious wife (or an idiot, I haven’t decided), I said no, and that I would be joining the family for a fun day of strawberry festivities. Because my husband had planned this adventure, and was excited about it, I, too, would be mustering up some enthusiasm and driving our kids all over creation in search of a fruit I despise. (Do y’all detect some snark?)
It took me a little while to get excited, but about 45 minutes into our drive, something magical happened. Readers, we turned off of the interstate, got on some crazy back roads, and we were in WILDFLOWER. HEAVEN. Texas is unlike anywhere else we’ve ever lived, and the absolute best part is the wildflowers. They were everywhere. Three-year-old G and I shared equal levels of gusto as we pointed to the fields of deep purple Bluebonnets, and red Indian Paintbrush.
Then we hit the Hill Country. Did you guys know Texas has hills? Canyons, even! And it’s gorgeous! Y’all. It was so breathtaking we woke our sleeping child so she could see it. We woke a sleeping child. Let that sink in.
Joe set a budget for how much he wanted to spend at the farm, so we got our big strawberry buckets and started picking our allotted amount. G was covered in mud by her fifth strawberry, P was on a mission to pick the most strawberries, and Mak was trying to find the best strawberries to use for jam. (Oldest child, much?) I actually do love to pick strawberries, so I was helping G pick the ones that weren’t still green and oooh-ing and aaah-ing over each berry she chose herself. Joe was doing his best to supervise, and carrying the buckets because they started to get heavy.
Once we had picked fourteen pounds of strawberries (Yes, FOURTEEN. Do that math at $2.85 a pound.), it was time to explore the rest of the farm. This is where it gets good, you guys.
In addition to strawberries, Sweet Berry has goats. Not just a few goats, but a plethora of sweet, precious goats, who will gently eat out of your hand. For $.25 you can buy a Jello-Shot sized (a measurement I learned in high school) cup of goat food. You walk your sweet children down to the adorable goats, and for the mere price of about two bucks, you get roughly 30 minutes of spectacular entertainment.
I don’t think I’ll ever get over the goat feeding. G was so excited that the goats were following her around. She took such great pleasure in getting to feed animals. The goats were really gentle, so none of us were nervous about petting them. All three kids were delighted to choose their favorite goat. G’s favorite was one that she said had “crazy eyes.” Which, if you’ve met her, isn’t a huge surprise. P’s favorite was the goat who kept trying to jump the fence. Again, not surprised. Mak liked a pregnant, messy-eating goat, who was pretty hilarious to watch.
After jumping on a huge bouncy thing, feeding the goats again, and petting the horses and donkey, we ate a snack under a gorgeous canopy of trees that reminded me of the picnic scene from Gone With the Wind.
Needless to say, I had a good time. We all did, and I knew we would before we even left our house. But let me tell you something: If I’d had it my way last weekend, we’d have been in our sweatpants watching movies, eating popcorn, and relaxing. We’d have enjoyed our day, but we wouldn’t have had the chance to make new memories.
We wouldn’t get to talk about the time that we all fed the goats, or when mom almost fell over the strawberry row. We’d never get to laugh about Mak and P finding a strawberry the size of an apple. We wouldn’t have known that a beautiful part of our state existed, or how many different colors, shapes, and sizes are represented in the Texas wildflowers.
Because I supported my husband’s mission for our day, I was blessed by a wonderful experience. If I’d stayed home, or asked him to call off the trip, we wouldn’t have had that special time as a family. We wouldn’t all desperately want to move to a town called Marble Falls, and we wouldn’t have eight pints of Joe’s famous strawberry jam coming our way. He knew what was best for us, and because I supported him, I was rewarded with a fun, happy day.
Over the years, there have been countless times like the one I wrote about today. We make decisions—both enormous and minute—every day. And in those moments, I get to watch my husband grow as a man. When he takes the lead, he always gets us where we need to go. If I stood in his way every time, I would sink us.
Friends, I would never compare my husband to God. But He is this way, too. If we submit to God, and support His mission for us by responding to his authority, He will reward us. Now, God isn’t a genie who grants our every request. We may never receive our rewards here on Earth, but what greater reward is there than hearing “Well done, good and faithful servant.” when we meet our Father? God asks for us to give Him our hearts, and to love His people. If we submit to His desire for us, He will change our lives.
There are going to be times when we don’t want to go where God sends us, or do things He wants us to do. But if we remember that God only wants what’s good for us and we listen to him, we will live fully in His presence. And that’s even better than strawberry jam.