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But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
–Galatians 5:22-23 (NASB)

Yesterday I roasted and pureed another pumpkin to put in the freezer.  Now I am DONE putting up pumpkin.  I feel like Bubba in Forrest Gump.  “You got your pumpkin muffins, pumpkin curry, pumpkin pie, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin bread…”

I like the feeling of self-sufficiency I get from preparing food for my family that has, at least in part, never seen the inside of a grocery store.  It connects me with the first European settlers of this country and the joy of harvest that is the ideal of the Thanksgiving season.  Whatever the real story on the first Thanksgiving may be, I think  time spent in thanks for what we have is always well-spent.

This pumpkin was the monster grandaddy of them all, too.  I’m thankful we had a good garden this year and that I can make use of it.  I admit, though, I put off dealing with this big ol’ pumpkin because it was kind of a pain to cut up and roast and puree.  The seeds are slimy.  I wasn’t looking forward to it.  The result, though, is rewarding.

I feel that way about the season of life I’m in right now, too.  There are a lot of things that aren’t an option for me right now because I have three young kids – especially because one of them isn’t even a year old yet.  There are places I’d like to see, money I’d like to spend, books I’d like to read that I will just have to put off for awhile.

It’s intense, draining, and (dare I admit it?) at times, monotonous.   Don’t get me started on the slimy things.  It’s cold season now, you know.  I want to crawl into a hot bubble bath and not come out for a week.  But there are rewarding results, and not just seeing the ways my kids grow and change, sometimes daily, or watching them grow up into civilized human beings (that’s a few years away yet, anyway).

I think God is using these experiences to bear fruit of another kind. Patience.  Love.  Kindness.  Sound familiar?

In fact, I’m pretty sure there’s not one fruit of the Spirit that isn’t further developed and ripened by the experience of being a parent*.  It can be frustrating and humbling because at times I’m pretty sure all that I’m learning is where I need to improve (and that would be everywhere), but in the end, the reward is there.

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* Not one of them is labelled “ability to go months on end without a solid 8-hour stretch of sleep” though, so feel free to sleep through the night at any time now, Boo Boo.

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