By Christine Prato-Coleman
It’s easy to see God’s faithfulness in fruitful seasons, but can we see His hand in a fruitless season too?
Fresh Fruit on the Side
I remember frequenting the diner with my mother and grandmother as a child. Both women were perpetual weight watchers and limited as to what their latest health plan would allow them to order.
One of my grandmother’s favorite options was a scoop of cottage cheese with fresh fruit on the side. Sometimes the waitress would show up with a half of a sweet cantaloupe or a luscious honeydew filled with cottage cheese. Other times, the cottage cheese was paired with a fresh fruit cup consisting of pink grapefruit, ripe watermelon, pineapple, and red grapes.
The Most Disappointing News
But the most disappointing news the waitress could deliver was, “There is no seasonal fruit available.” That meant that fruit – in general – was not in season.
The waitress usually offered a canned fruit cocktail as a substitute, but Grandma would inevitably order eggs instead.
I imagine every colorful, sweet, ripe fruit when I think of seasonal fruit. From ruby red watermelon to sweet-tart kiwis, ripe peaches to bright yellow pineapple, crisp apples to plump juicy grapes; the fragrance and refreshing flavors of seasonal fruit make my mouth water.
As Christians, we understand seasons and fruit on a deeper level, but the eye-popping appeal of good fruit or dreaded disappointment of a fruitless season is the same.
We have seasons of abundance and seasons of drought. Seasons of certainty and seasons of doubt.
How Do We Respond?
A fruitful season can yield a dream fulfilled or an accomplishment paid off, but how do we respond:
- When the seasons are tough and fruit is unattainable?
- When it seems like we have dedicated ourselves to God, prayed, and worked hard but we don’t see results?
- When the dreary, fruitless season is longer than we’d prefer or imagined it would be?
You know, the point at which some of us would settle for the fruit cocktail!
Every Day Was the Same
That was just the type of season my 30-something year-old daughter and I found ourselves in this winter. We couldn’t seem to break the mundaneness of our daily routine. We felt uninspired and confined by our schedule – which was essential for her two young children to thrive – and to be honest, we were completely out of sorts.
Every day was the same.
I would clean her house or entertain the kids so she could get some freelance work done on her computer, but unfortunately, by the end of the day, we both felt unfulfilled.
She experienced intermittent anxiety and at times felt overwhelmed physically and emotionally by the ups and downs of parenting, while I wandered through each day questioning my purpose and direction.
Instead of carving out time to accomplish something meaningful that would feel productive each day, all of our skills were channeled into wiping up messes, changing diapers, or responding to, “I’m done!” from hallway bathrooms.
The Lack of Confirmation
Is that what was God was calling us to in this season? Didn’t He have a specific plan in mind for each of us or as a mother and daughter?
The lack of confirmation on His part during this season did not help matters.
One day, out of sheer desperation to break from the four walls that surrounded us, we drove eight miles north on the 215 to Dutch Brothers Coffee.
When The Going Gets Tough, We Order Coffee
Yes, when the going gets tough, the desperate get coffee! I ordered a small Americano coffee, black with sugar, and my daughter chose a Flapjack Breve with oat milk and an extra pump of sweet white chocolate.
When the drive-thru attendant passed our hot drinks through the window, we noticed each lid had an inspirational message embossed on it.
My daughter’s lid read, “You’ve Got This!” And mine said, “I’m Here to Help!”
Just when we thought that our fruitlessness was a reflection of our own distraction, misdirection, or distance from God, we were reminded that He sees us.
In what seemed to be a fruitless season, He saw our efforts, our desire to taste fresh fruit, and He let us know that He would not only get us through this season, but He would use it.
Only A Season Away
The encouraging messages on the lids, appropriately designated for each of us, gave us reason to hope that mouth-watering seasonal fruit – though not on the menu that day – was only a season away.
Galatians 6:9 “And let us not grow weary of doing well, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
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Christine Prato-Coleman is an author, speaker, and student of the Word. She and her daughter, Desirée, authored the true story Just Believe: Every Summer Has a Story, a book about adventurous faith that includes a scripture-based tool for young women and mothers. On a mission to serve the Kingdom of God, Christine strives to lead young people to Christ and empower mothers and daughters to deepen their relationships through faith, friendship, and fun. You can connect with her at @justbelievebook and follow her blog at www.justbelievebook.com.