Hell in a handbasket … whatever that means. (Stopped writing and  looked it up, and the term has its origins in French Revolution, where the unlucky victims of the guillotine had their detached heads transported to officials in a handcart … later, the term became “hand basket” … and there we have it … hell in a hand basket.)

Gruesome. Ruthless.  Lawless.  Lopped off heads and lopped off lives. From the bloodstained French Revolution to the brutal cultural upheaval happening in these very seconds, there’s too much “hell in a hand basket” for me.  It’s a world choking on gloom, on ugliness, on viciousness, and despair … a world in which  I’ve been seeking God … wanting to hear His voice.

Clearing the Way

I’ve been doing all the things I know to do … pray, show love to others.  And yet, I’ve been yearning for a spark of meaning … some sign that demonstrates God is listening … that He’s not done … that He’s not disconnected from this world … no matter how much we have shaken our fist at Him … defied His love and His commands.

I’m trying to listen more. The result.  He answered.  And I know this is crazy, but I don’t think I’ve ever been so certain of God’s leading.  What did He say?  He said …

Plant blueberries.

Yes, blueberries. The words were even audible and sounded like my husband’s voice.  Because it was him … at first.  On yet one more of our six hour drives (one way) across the state to care for family this year, we discussed what to with some lots of land that have become ours to care for.

I asked him what he would do with the lots, if it were completely up to him.  The answer rolled out of his heart quickly. “Plant blueberries.”

And, there, God spoke through him. The moment felt like one of those times when all quarters line up on one of those hopeless vending machines but then … drop just so and BOOM! You win the stuffed animal.  Only here, something much more than stuffed animals went into play in our hearts.

I don’t know how to explain it ... and I am enjoying the freedom that I don’t have to … I just know God wants us to grow blueberries.

Why? There are practical possibilities.  We’ll probably aim for turning it into a You Pick lot.  That would be very cool.

But … something deeper is happening in me.  Something restorative.  To grow our berries we have to reclaim the land.  Long neglected, thistle infested land. We have to work hard. We have to wait. Trust. Face some obstacles. BUT … there is a prize at the end. Our hands will be living out what is going on in our souls.

Outside of the horrible headlines in the paper every day, our up-close life isn’t much easier. Family struggles and realities keep punching us in the face. Sometimes I want to ball up and have someone push me into the next day until this thing is all over.  Just keep my head down and wait for the trumpet blast.

I’ll be honest… I really don’t like this world very much.  There are days when I think, “If there’s something better, then COME! ON!  Let’s get this ugly mess over with … bring on Heaven.” And on those days, I now find myself thinking, “Blueberries! I’m going to grow blueberries and the world will be a better place.”

Future Blueberry field
One day there will be blueberries bushes in the background.

Every time I take a hoe to a thistle, I think, “Take that devil … I’m taking this land back.” And when I do that, hope arises.  Somehow, every downed weed is equal to reclaiming hope in God.

How ’bout you? Are you needing to reclaim something in your life?  Are feeling the same “hell in a hand basket” gloom that sweeps over me? I’m praying for you, Reader Friend.  I’m praying that you find your own territory to reclaim … that His voice finds its way to you and that you grasp new courage to move forward in a challenge that makes you want to jump out of bed each day. Your life and mine … we have purpose … always. 

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Here’s to remembering, that no matter how dark or neglected the days, the best is yet to come.