“First, you have to grow a pumpkin,” I’m certain I smirked as I began to recite my pumpkin pie recipe.
We live many states away from my rather large family and even more states from my in-laws. As a result, holiday travel is usually prioritized more to Christmas than Thanksgiving. However, the Redeemer has filled our table with our own growing family and abundant friends at times of celebration, like Tuesday mornings and Saturday brunches. We’ve always made a point to invite those who might not otherwise share a Thanksgiving cup of coffee and slice of turkey.
This Thanksgiving, it was a dear friend of ours whose own family all happened to have other plans.
“How do you make this? It’s fantastic, and I don’t normally enjoy pumpkin pie,” he queried.
There are three little words forbidden in my house. My daughter is not allowed to declare something is “easy as pie.”
“Call it easy as cake, or easy as biscuits, if you like, but pie? Real pie? That’s not easy,” I corrected her, probably smirking again.
Flaky, buttery crust and rich, fragrant filling adorned with lattice top or mounded with fluffy meringue is made with care and lard and no shortcuts. As a result, my pie recipe was long – preparing the soil, planting, weeding, watering, mulching, fighting off predators and mildews, harvesting, cleaning and roasting the pumpkin, hand-crafting a rich pie-crust, blind baking the crust, pureeing the fruit, measuring and mixing and adding warm spices, and, finally, baking, only to be topped with hand-whipped sweetened cream. There are no shortcuts to a beautifully gathered harvest . . . or a rich pumpkin pie!
You Reap What You Tend
Harvesting something of worth demands perseverance and attention. Neglected gardens will not yield anything of real worth. My first Ohio garden was one that did not yield. I had just given birth to my fourth baby, was renovating a house, adjusting to a new work schedule for my husband, and did not give my garden the attention it required. By the mid-point of summer, it was the very definition of seeds that had been choked by weeds! I think I gathered two very shriveled and slightly diseased tomatoes.
As I write this, the harvest of a well-tended garden is on my kitchen counter. It is the abundant result of hours each day watering and weeding, fertilizing and composting. And the yield is plump golden beets, long, elegant green beans, bright, juicy tomatoes, pressed down, shaken together and running over!
This principle of harvesting not only what we sow, but what we diligently tend is just beautiful. I love writing and re-writing, paring and editing, boiling down to purest form and truth. I love food where time becomes an ingredient: slow-smoked barbecue, marinara simmered to sweetness, long-aged cheeses, and patiently-developed sourdough. Marriages that have endured the fire and storm of life and become stronger and gentler for it are of a beauty unsurpassed. Hand-built furniture finished with layer after layer of slow-drying finishes will last for generations. Things that we harvest from long practiced tending are sweetened with anticipation, and labors of love are born of an affection for the labor itself.
We live in an age of immediacy. High-speed internet is rarely fast enough to satisfy our minds! Many a time, I’ve bemoaned a wait at a restaurant for a table or anything more than 20 minutes for a pizza! We want diets to affect change within three to four days and no more than three days for deliveries of purchases. And in moments when we recognize the hurry of our hearts and that it might require change, we want patience . . . right now, please! But these hurried endeavors often yield very little of value.
When we submit ourselves to the Master Builder’s working we had best remember His ways are not our ways, and neither are His times our times! He is working on a much longer timeline that we expect or probably want. It seems in Scripture that God takes forty years to do pretty much anything! This serves as a humble reminder when my little ones are acting like children . . . or I am! He’s still growing the pumpkin, and that is only the very first part of the process.
Things that require us to pay the price of time are precious indeed. Time is such slippery stuff! Try as we might to preserve carefully curated memories, it is actually impossible to hold on to even one second. It will be gone as surely as the next comes. What better way to ransom these days from evil than by planting in our lives what will yield a glorious harvest of righteousness (Eph. 5:16). While we cannot hold on to the time, we can redeem it for the glory of the Great Redeemer: growing, tending, and weeding our hearts, relationships, homes and lives with blessed knowledge that “in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Gal. 6:9).
Due season brings with it a richness not found in haste. My family asks for homemade doughnuts occasionally, and I oblige even more occasionally. I refuse to offer them cake doughnuts, which would only require half an hour to put on the table. If I’m going to spend time and ingredients and calories making doughnuts, they’re going to be raised with yeast and they will require a 4 o’clock alarm to have ready for breakfast! But they’re rich and buttery and lighter than air when they come hot out of my cast iron Dutch oven.
The value of the harvest will always parallel the price of the toil paid, or as the old saying goes, “You get what you pay for”. The Psalmist reminds us when we sow in tears, we reap in shouts of joy (Psa. 126:5-6). Hosea proclaims, “Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love” (Hos. 10:12). And in Job, “those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same” (Job 4:8). Our God is a long-term investor! He is rarely planting today for what will be harvested tomorrow, but when due season rolls around, you can be sure of a joyous harvest! So let us be patient, attentive, don’t grow weary in doing good, and sow righteousness: God is planting ever-increasing glory and grace into our lives every day. There may be slow-growth and require pruning or a pile of manure at times, but it will yield righteousness and joy and maybe even pie.
Second-generation homeschooling mom of five wee snickbuzzards, Jordan Durbin is a maker of humble pottery, fine artist, calligrapher, gardener, pickle maker, baker of all things gluten-inclusive and butter-laden, violinist, vocalist, rabbit raiser, wife of one good man, lover of her blessed Redeemer. She has a Bachelor’s degree in fine art from Grace College in Winona Lake, Indiana. She is an avid coffee drinker, reader, and published children’s book author and illustrator. She aspires to proclaim the resurrection with every moment of her life.