The strawberry heads fall one by one into the sink with a thump. I stare out the window in between slicing the red fruit to see the neighbor's dog bounding across the grass on his way to who-knows-where. I feel strangely out of place... like maybe he has an advantage on me because he doesn't mind not knowing where he is going. I spend so much of my day clamoring and grasping for plans, counting hours and minutes and hoping to make everything work. just. right. Just when it seems that I'm happy with where I'm going and where I'm at, someone makes a comment or a kind suggestion or simply asks a question and I'm undone. Or someone else is pregnant and when am I going to have a baby? Or I start working out and I'm satisfied with my body and then someone wants to tell me about their new diet and I feel guilty all over again. And just when I finally become content with the place I live and not building a house, then the friend buys a big darling house with a huge yard and a garbage disposal and a dishwasher and I'm back to wanting more than this. Is it possible that as long as the enemy can keep us bouncing from one fire to another, putting out the flames and squelching the passion, that he can keep us from the ultimate victory? I remember the words of Spurgeon, "The more of heaven there is in our lives, the less of earth we shall covet." I clearly needed some more heaven. I pick out the best largest and sturdiest strawberries and place them in a separate bowl. I wish that I could pick a carton up at the store that had all the same size and freshness of the season. Instead, I find myself buying three or four cartons just to satisfy my need. If I am going to fill them with cheesecake icing, they must be strong so I can hull out the center, and the bottom half must be just ripe enough or it will smash easily. See, I want to be the big and sturdy berry. I carefully plan my life so that my appearance is firm and my house is fresh and I stand tall in a world that needs to find fulfillment. I want to be the one to give them the answer. But I'm so often beat up by my own sin and poor choices and distracted from the Bible study that helps me grow and I turn out to be a midget Christian with soft sides who can't even hold my own weight. There might be some room for the sweetness of God to penetrate me, but I'm so full of other rottenness that the sour taste remains. The more control I desire, the less control I have. And when situations buoy out of my control or I find that I have no power to make someone perform {that someone could be me}, I buckle under the disappointment of losing control and I come face to face with the fact that I have made an idol. I craved control and power and influence and all it got me was humble pie. I set the bowl of small and weak berries in the refrigerator. I can eat them for breakfast with my Cheerios in the morning, but they wouldn't do for my project. They were useful and delicious, but not for what I intended them to be. It is embarrassing to admit that I've made a god out of something, anything. I claim that God is the only god I serve, but when I can't live without something, it tells on me. I know that I'm useful in the Kingdom, but I also realize I'm not exactly who God intended for me to be. The enemy loves to remind me of this and make me feel defeated. He wants me to look at my problems and feel hopeless. He wants me to focus on my shortcomings and feel dumb. And my mind has no hard time going along with it. But when I can just look straight into the face of my Savior, He reminds me that every day is a fresh start to becoming who He and I both want me to be. The cream cheese and powdered sugar and vanilla blend in the bowl until the mixture is creamy. I pipe it into each strawberry. Each berry requires a different amount, depending on size, strength, and how much I was able to hew out of the center. I was proud of the big sturdy berries. They displayed well and would surely be the first chosen. The smaller, weaker ones didn't stand up by themselves and I knew they would be battered and falling apart as everyone dug for the ones around them. But I knew that those smaller berries would be the ones that I would scoop up at the end of the evening, turn my spoon upside down over my tongue, and savor. Because the smaller the berry, the more the cream cheese flavor would stand out. And I am reminded that the weaker we are, the stronger God can be seen and tasted in my life. The ugly truth is that I can't change people. I often can't change situations. But not being in control doesn't mean that I don't have influence. And it doesn't mean that God doesn't require of me every little step of obedience even in my place of seeming insignificance. He checks my attitude and tries my motives and watches for where I put my time, attention, and effort. He rewards accordingly. And He reminds me that it's not up to me to change the world. It's up to me to change me. So I put Him back on the rightful throne and take myself off. I let HIM be the one to judge others and do justice, not me. I let HIM punish others and not me. I let HIM affect my mood and attitude and actions, not others. And I take the higher road of not being in control, but of being controlled by the One controls my destiny. I thank Him that when I was living in sin {yesterday}, He lived in grace and I inherited His sinlessness. After everyone else picks the big, strong kids for their kickball team, I'd like to think that God would scoop me up and savor me because I've leaned on Him when I wasn't strong enough to stand on my own two feet. When I was yet without strength, He chose me and put me on His team. And Coach doesn't kick me off the team even when I'm a poor player and I let Him down. And when I wander away from the game, He invites me back. I pipe the last of the strawberries, settle them into the container, and gently sprinkle graham cracker crumbs on top. I suddenly feel light again since casting my burden on Him. I think I could go bounding through the yard after the dog. After all, you never know what you might find when you are willing to let go and travel on an adventure with God. Knowing that He knows the destination allows me to take my hands off the wheel and sit back and enjoy the ride.KS-Instas-April25-167 Cara Cobble Trantham is a freelance writer whose passion is to encourage women of all ages to draw closer to the Lord. She lives in Greeneville, Tennessee, with her husband and one-year-old daughter. She loves to send cards in magazine envelopes, counsel ladies over sugar and cream (with a little bit of coffee), and read a good book at the beach. Her bucket list includes eating pizza in Chicago, staying at a bed and breakfast in Savannah, and following a recipe without leaving out an ingredient.
The Daily Grace Podcast

We want to invite women to join us in our conversation about our great God, and be encouraged to seek a deeper knowledge of God that leads them to live their lives for God’s glory as they grow in love and awe in response to who He is.